Game 13: No. 25 Georgetown Hoyas (8-4) vs Creighton Bluejays (9-5)
Series: Bluejays lead 2-1
Where/When: Verizon Center, Saturday 4:30 PM
TV: Fox Sports 1
So what do we know about the Bluejays?
Doug McDermott is gone but Creighton still got off to a good start as the Bluejays picked up the first big win for the conference in defeating then-No. 18 Oklahoma. It's still hard to believe that Creighton is in the BIG EAST.
Bluejays lowdown: Greg McDermott only returns one starter from last year's team but he still has the Bluejays competitive thanks to a quantity over quality approach to shooting the long ball.
In a crazy road loss to North Texas, Creighton threw up 39 3-pointers. I watched far more of that game than I'd like to admit and most of those shots were ill advised.
Austin Chatman is that lone returning starter and he leads the team with 13.7 points per game. Isaiah Zierden leads the team in 3-point field goal percentage (42 percent) and is the son of current Wizards assistant coach Don Zierden.
Down low Creighton will likely throw some combination of Will Artino, Toby Henger, Geoffrey Groselle, and Zach Hanson at Joshua Smith.
Last time out: Like all of the BIG EAST road teams on NYE, Creighton lost their opener away from home. Creighton fell by a 65-53 score at Providence in a rematch of last season's BIG EAST Championship game.
RPI: There are seven teams in the BIG EAST with a Top 50 RPI but Creighton isn't one of them. The Bluejays are stuck way down the list at 117. Only Marquette and DePaul are worse off at the moment.
Now on to your Georgetown Hoyas.
Lineup Shakeup: Zero, five, two, and five. Those are the scoring totals for Mikael Hopkins over the last four games. Hopkins is averaging just over four points per game this season with only one double-digit performance coming way back on Nov. 18. Yes, Hopkins is helping the team rebounding and defensively but I'm starting to think he would be best served coming off the bench.
Who would I start? I'd go with Isaac Copeland. The heralded freshman seems to be a bit lost in the shuffle and by playing with the starters he would likely get better looks and a have chance to get in a groove earlier. There's no need to start Paul White or Aaron Bowen as both of those players have established themselves off the bench as key contributors.
Copeland has it in him to be a big time player so the more minutes he receives before March, the better. Hopkins can retreat to a backup role for Joshua Smith unless the opposition rolls out a ridiculously big lineup forcing JT3's hand to go big.
AP Struggles: In losing on NYE Georgetown has now dropped its last three straight games while ranked - Syracuse, Florida Gulf Coast, and Xavier. While the Hoyas will likely fall out of the rankings come Monday, history is on their side against Creighton. The Bluejays are an abysmal 21-119 against ranked teams and just 3-63 when those games are on the road.
Move your feet: Not much went right against Xavier and it all started poorly with the early foul trouble. Only DePaul is worse right now at committing fouls in the BIG EAST. Without a regular backup point guard - Tre Campbell just doesn't get many minutes - Georgetown can not afford to see both D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Jabril Trawick saddled on the bench with early fouls.
Reason to be cynical: You think the worst Georgetown opening conference loss in 35 years is a sign of things to come.
Reason to be delusional: Creighton couldn't even beat the Hoyas when they had Doug McDermott, so what are they going to do now?
Final thoughts: Georgetown's inside advantage in this game will be too much for the Bluejays. Hoyas win by 10 unless something crazy happens like Creighton makes 18 3-pointers. Why did I just say that?