Game 3: Georgetown Hoyas (0-2) vs Wisconsin Badgers (2-1)
Series: Wisconsin leads 2-1
Where/When: Madison Square Garden, Friday 5 PM
Line: Wisconsin -1.5
Is there a sense of urgency? Yeah, but there always is. I'm glad to get back on the court and they're ready to get back on the court so we get back on the court tomorrow. - JT3 on the State of the Hoya Union
Everybody is just hungry for that first win. - Bradley Hayes
There's no rest for the weary as Georgetown heads up to its home away from home in the World's Most Famous Arena to kick of the 2K Classic on Friday afternoon. First up for the Hoyas is a rematch from last season's Battle 4 Atlantis semifinal with Wisconsin. In order to avoid the first 0-3 start in program history, John Thompson III's Hoyas must reverse last year's close loss to the Badgers in which Georgetown led by as many as nine in the second half before ultimately falling 68-65 in paradise.
We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves but the Hoyas will have a quick turnaround and play either No. 5 Duke or the Shaka Smart-less VCU Rams on Sunday afternoon.
The big news out of McDonough on Thursday was the status of sophomores Paul White and Tre Campbell. White is going to be a gametime decision for the third straight game with a hip injury while Campbell is still suffering from an illness that started kept him out of the second half in Tuesday's loss at Maryland. Campbell did not travel with the team to New York.
So what do we know about Wisconsin:
Last time out: The Badgers picked up their second straight win - a 78-64 victory over North Dakota State - after opening the season in upsetting fashion against Western Illinois. Five players finished in double figures led by Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig's 17 points.
RPI: Obviously this will be a strong game for resume purposes at the end of the season. It's unlikely that Wisconsin gets back to the Final Four for the third straight season but rest assured this will be the second of three straight games that look pretty good on the ol resume.
Who to watch for: Well gone are Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky to the NBA. That's the good news.
The bad news is that, like JT3 said, "Wisconsin's Wisconsin."
They don't change much. They're always very, very good. They don't beat themselves"
Last year the Hoyas struggled to contain Koenig - 14 points, 4 assists, 2-of-4 from deep - and Nigel Hayes, who went for 15 points on an efficient 5-of-7 from the field and pulled down seven rebounds.
While Georgetown shot 53% from the field and held Wisconsin to under 49%, Bo Ryan's team - much like Maryland the other night - lived at the line. Wisconsin shot 14 more free throws than the Hoyas and that's too big of a disadvantage to overcome in a close game. Georgetown must limit the bad fouls.
Let's move on to the Hoyas:
Campbell Update: After playing nine first half minutes and only registering a foul on the stat line, Campbell told JT3 that he couldn't go anymore. The latest status on Campbell doesn't sound super encouraging from a getting back soon standpoint.
"He's got an undisclosed illness," JT3 said on Thursday afternoon. "He's not going to travel with us so he's not going to be available. And that's probably as much as I want to say about it right now at this point. Once it gets to where we're ready to say something, we will."
Low on Guards: Georgetown was low on true guards to begin the season. We are in year two of converting DSR to a point guard meaning that Campbell was the only true lead guard on the team. With Campbell out indefinitely, JT3 is left to turn to L.J. Peak - who was listed as a forward last season - Kaleb Johnson - who is listed as a G/F in his first year - and even walk on Riyan Williams for spot minutes in the backcourt. Coming into the season Paul White figured to get minutes in the backcourt but the versatile forward has yet to play. JT3 can also turn to Isaac Copeland to bring the ball up at times.
"Everybody has to be ready to contribute. We've got some forwards that we can put in the backcourt and they're going to have to that." - JT3
Captain, My Captain: It's one thing to hear about how hard Bradley Hayes worked all offseason but I'm not sure anyone would have predicted the senior co captain to start off averaging a double double after two games. After hearing all about Diamond Stone, it was hard to tell which player was the better NBA prospect after Tuesday night.
"I don't want to say that I proved anything," Hayes said after his 16 point performance against the Terps impressive front line. "I always had belief in myself. I always believe that hard work pays off and I had been working very hard this summer."
Reason to be Cynical: JT3 talked about how some of the younger players are making mistakes in key situations. The Hoyas could probably use a game against a lesser opponent than last season's national runners up to iron out the wrinkles.
Reason to be Delusional: There's no better place to start a winning streak than MSG. When the season looked last a few years ago Georgetown showed up in New York and knocked off Michigan State in their biggest upset of the season.
Prediction: Hoyas 65 - Badgers 60. Georgetown is the best 0-2 team in the country. They are about to be the best 1-2 team in the country. JT3's mood on Thursday before the team left for New York was pretty good. Paul White is going to make his season debut in the Big Apple and with that will be better ball movement and better execution. His length will also help the Hoyas protect the three point line on the other end of the floor.