Game 22: No. 24 Georgetown Hoyas (15-6, 7-3) vs Providence Friars (16-6, 6-3)
Series: Hoyas lead 44-21
Where/When: Verizon Center, Wed 9 PM
TV: CBS Sports Network
Just like the last time these two teams met back in January, the winner of this game will keep pace at or near the top of the conference - depending on what Villanova does tonight - while the loser will sit all alone in fourth place - just above those pesky Blue Demons of DePaul.
Georgetown was able to hang on in the national rankings this week thanks to most of the teams around them also dropping at least one game. That was one factor.
The other factor was that dominating performance the Hoyas rolled out in Nebraska by absolutely smothering Creighton 67-40. The Bluejays half of the box score isn't for the faint of heart and shouldn't be viewed around small children.
So heading into tonight's game with Providence it will be interesting to see how much carry over the Hoyas will have or was a lot of Saturday's blowout win just about how awful Creighton is at the moment. We shall see.
If you guys like jinxes, and I'm sure you do, I found a couple of stats working heavily in the Hoyas favor entering tonight's game.
Providence has lost its last 13 games on the road to ranked opponents going back to the 2004 season. Honestly I'm surprised that number isn't higher given how good the BIG EAST has been during most of that stretch.
The second stat going in the Hoyas favor is that Providence has swept the Hoyas just once in a single season home and away series since the BIG EAST began in 1979. It happened in the 1992-93 season which will always be remembered as the first time I cared about the NIT only to have Minnesota ruin it for me.
So what do we know about the Friars? Well they aren't that great on the road. Right now the Friars are just 2-4 on someone else's home court.
Friars lowdown: The last time I previewed the Friars I mentioned that LaDontae Henton probably had the early lead into BIG EAST Player of the Year. Well even though Henton still leads the league in scoring at just over 20 per game, he's been struggling a bit the past few games.
Luckily for Coach Ed Cooley, he's got who I would say is the new leader for that conference player of the year award in Kris Dunn.
To say that Kris Dunn is playing well would be an insult. Dunn is playing out of his mind right now. The redshirt sophomore had the first triple double in league play in about seven years when he went for 27-13-11 against DePaul last week.
It looks like you aren't going to be able to hold Dunn down scoring wise but the key will be making it difficult for him to get others involved.
Last time out: For whatever reason, Providence struggles against St. John's. The Johnnies completed the season sweep over the Friars over the weekend. St. John's has three conference wins right now and two of them are over Providence. Let that sink in for a second.
RPI: Providence is doing just fine in this department. The Friars currently check in at 24 and hold a 5-3 record against the Top 50. This would be another nice RPI win
Now on to your Georgetown Hoyas.
Just when everybody was ready to declare these next three games - starting with Providence tonight -as the hardest stretch of the season, Seton Hall goes out last night and gets swept by DePaul.
Well even with that being said, and given that fact that we should be ‘taking it one game at a time'; this still is probably a troublesome stretch.
Beating Providence would be a great start since the Hoyas haven't won at either of their next two destinations - Villanova and Seton Hall - since the 2010-11 season. That's a combined four straight losses in Philadelphia and Newark, all of which were blowouts.
The last time the Hoyas and Friars got together it was one of the uglier losses of the year for Georgetown. The Hoyas did a great job in holding Providence to just over 30 percent shooting from the field but they still needed a Joshua Smith prayer put back to force overtime.
Dunn and Henton combined to make half (nine) of the Providence shots that day but the Hoyas lost the game at the line. I don't need to name names since the Hoyas would have lost in Marquette without Mikael Maravich's performance from the stripe but that 11-for-20 as a team at the Dunkin Donuts Center was game-set-match.
Heating Up: Georgetown is 5-1 since that overtime defeat at Providence. In those five wins, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera has shot at least 40 percent from 3-point range. In the lone loss to Xavier, the junior was just 2-of-7 (29 percent). Even including those numbers from the Xavier loss, DSR is shooting well above his career average during this run by hitting 18-of-38 shot from deep (47 percent). For his career DSR is a 37 percent shooter from deep, although he comes in at 39 percent this season after recovering from a slow start.
Going back even to games further, DSR has now hit at least two 3-pointers in eight straight games. Georgetown is 6-2 during that period. Always a streaky shooter, this is the longest such stretch in his 86 games with the Hoyas. His previous long was five games towards the end of his freshman season.
Paging Mr. White: White has been Georgetown's most dependable freshman this season but during this current 5-1 stretch, the 6-foot-8 point forward has been MIA. After scoring 11 points in that loss to the Friars, White has failed to get back into double figures. Now White did almost get his eighth double figure performance in the Villanova win - he finished with 9 points - his other scoring outputs read like this - 2, 0, 3, 2, and 3. Some of this is a decrease in minutes because of Isaac Copeland stepping up but there's no reason that they can't both run at high levels for JT3. Hopefully he can find his way against Providence again.
Moving on up: As a result of DSR's recent hot streak, the junior guard has cracked into Georgetown's all-time Top 10 in made 3-pointers. He's recently passed former great shooters such as Chris Wright, Hollis Thompson, Darrel Owens, Anthony Perry, and DaJuan Summers. With two makes against Providence he can move into 9th place, passing Jessie Sapp.
Reason to be cynical: You are worried that the Hoyas will be too focused on Jet Pack T-shirts and Kale promotions to concentrate on Kris Dunn. Also you just checked DePaul's BIG EAST record so you remember that anything is possible, even losing at home to Providence.
Reason to be delusional: Providence doesn't win games at Georgetown. Well not often anyway. The Hoyas are 22-4 all-time at home against the Friars. The Hoyas got their worst home game performance out of their system last time out when they laid down for far too long against Xavier. They won't let that happen again.