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Game Preview: Georgetown Hoyas vs Charlotte 49ers

Game 12: Georgetown Hoyas (6-5) vs Charlotte 49ers (2-8)

Series: Tied 1-1, last meeting was last season

Where/When: Time Warner Cable Arena, Tuesday 7 PM

TV: CBS Sports Network

Line: Hoyas -12

Georgetown takes a six hour trip down to Charlotte to face the 49ers in one final non-conference matchup before BIG EAST play starts on Dec 30th in Chicago.  The Hoyas will of course face UConn later in the season to officially wrap up the non-league portion of the schedule but only after they've had seven conference games under their belt.

It's been tough sledding early on for Charlotte first year head coach Mark Price.  The former NBA all-star guard has seen his 49ers win just two of their first ten games to open up the season with five of those losses coming by double-figures. 

The teams have only faced one common opponent in Syracuse so far with Charlotte losing to the Orange down in the Battle 4 Atlantis.  Much like Georgetown, Charlotte has also been unsuccessful going up against Big South foes, dropping a 76-70 decision to the Fighting Camels of Campbell two weeks ago.

Also, don't let the 2-8 record or line fool you into thinking this is a layup for the Hoyas.  Georgetown struggled last season against Charlotte, holding on for a close 81-78 win in a game where DSR fouled out and the 49ers outshot the Hoyas 46 percent to 39 percent.

Here's some basic info on Charlotte:

Last time out: The 49ers broke a six-game losing streak with a 82-66 victory at Appalachain State on Saturday.  Braxton Ogbueze scored 25 points while hitting a career-high seven 3-pointers.  Charlotte shot 11-of-17 from deep as a team.

RPI: As Georgetown continues to trend into BIG EAST Tournament Champs or bust mode this RPI stat is becoming less and less relevant.  That being said it looks like the 49ers best case scenario is in the 200 range.

Who to watch for: While there's Braxton Ogbueze who can score at will at times and hit shots from downtown.  Bernard Sullivan and Andrien White score right around 10 points per game to round out the double figure guys for Mark Price.

As expected for a first year coach and a struggling team, the 49ers have gone with many different starting lineups so far this season.  If Charlotte goes small, the Hoyas might have to watch out for Jon Davis. The frosh from Georgetown's back yard in Upper Marlboro is a streaky shooter but leads the team in assist with 3.5 per game.

Ok let's talk about the Hoyas.

Here are some of the biggest questions facing Georgetown at the moment

Is DSR OK? D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera missed time at the end of last season and during this summer's European Tour with leg injuries.  The first being a knee issue and then the second being first described on Twitter as an ankle.  It seems fair to ask for two reasons.  His overall shooting numbers are down but particularly from deep.  DSR is attempting and missing more 3-pointers than at any point in his time at Georgetown.  The senior guard has always been a strong rebounder for his size but those numbers are also down. There are a few possible answers as DSR could still be suffering through some pain or he could be having an uneven season due to the fact that he's not a point guard.  It's probably not a coincidence that he had his best shooting numbers as a sophomore starting alongside Markel Starks.

How can this team defend? Man doesn't seem to be working.  After the first Hoya is beat the rest of the team seems to collapse allowing for an open shot or layup.  Most smart teams won't play man to man against Georgetown, instead clogging the lane with a zone or pack line type defense.  I'm not saying it will be a cure all but until every player stops going for the first head or shot fake, it seems like more zone would be better.

Who starts?  Who finishes? Right now this team has an overall lack of defenders and one of the few defenders - LJ Peak - has a severe case of foul-itis.  The answer to this might be more minutes for Kaleb Johnson who Peak himself called the team's best defender in the preseason.  It would seem that either Johnson or Tre Campbell might get the nod over Peak starting soon.  Campbell should theoretically help DSR play off the ball while Johnson would help the defense.  Peak could also flourish in a role off the bench as instant offense without having to worry about early fouls.  I think it's also possible that there may be times against smaller teams in the BIG EAST where Trey Mourning or Marcus Derrickson should see time at the 5.  For as much production Georgetown has gotten out of Bradley Hayes through 11 games, there are certain games where he's not effective because of his large stature.

Reason to be delusional: You just got your jelly of the month club subscription for 2016 and you don't have to share it with former Hoya Josh Smith.

Reason to be cynical: Georgetown's projected RPI right now is 217.

Final Thoughts: Win or lose it would be nice to see the Hoyas try some different strategies such as shaking up the lineup, minutes, and defensive principles.  Georgetown is going to need a great BIG EAST season to end up in the NCAA Tournament and the final tinkering will conclude tonight.