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Game Preview: Georgetown Hoyas at Villanova Wildcats

Christine Burns

Game 23: No. 24 Georgetown Hoyas (15-7, 7-4) vs No. 7 Villanova Wildcats (20-2, 7-2)

Series: Hoyas lead 43-31

Where/When: Wells Fargo Center, Saturday 2 PM

TV: Fox

This isn't a must win game for the Hoyas. It is, however, a must win game if Georgetown wants to maintain any hope at claiming a share of the BIG EAST regular season title.

How important is that for this team? I'm not entirely sure. This team feels like it's somewhere in between JT3's first and second year teams at Georgetown. I have my doubts as to if this group could handle too much regular season success and turn it into March Gold.

Where's my proof? Let's look no further than what's happened since the Hoyas throttled Villanova a few weeks ago. They were unable to build off their best game in two seasons and in turn have dropped unexpected home games to Xavier and Providence. Yes, Providence.

Not only does Georgetown have the talent to do some damage before this season is over, they should be able to cause matchup problems with literally anybody because of Mr. Joshua Smith.

So with Georgetown a bit off the track at the moment, what better opponent to grab their attention than Villanova? I can't think of one.

So what do we know about the Wildcats?

They are going to show up in a really bad mood with something to prove in front of a sellout crowd. I think that's a good thing. If Georgetown can withstand that first wave of emotion from the Wildcats, they will be able to make this more a game and less a celebration of the 30th anniversary of

If Jay Wright stubbornly plays mainly man-to-man defense again, Georgetown matches up really, really well. Georgetown jumped out on top of Villanova so fast last time, the option to zone wasn't really there.

Wildcats lowdown: Not much has changed since the last time we did this. Wright's team is still a very balanced bunch with Darrun Hilliard leading the way while JayVaungh Pinkston has put together his two best back-to-back games in months.

Ryan Arcidiacono has also put together his best games this season, going for 18 in each of the last two games. What seems weird is that this version of Villanova is more consistent on the defensive end then they are offensively. After giving up 78 points to Georgetown in that blowout loss, Villanova has given up 50, 55, and 52. Stingy.

Last time out: Villanova crushed Marquette on Wednesday night. It was the third straight double-digit win for the Wildcats since that Hoyas loss.

RPI: Just like their AP ranking, Villanova comes in at lucky number 7.

Now on to your Hoyas.

Tre vs the Zone: We are 23 games into the season and perhaps the most certain thing we know going into each game is that we have no idea which lineup or lineups we will see the most. I guess that could be good for when other teams have to scout the Hoyas on short turnarounds in March but right now it's a bit maddening.

One of the things that we need to see on a more consistent basis is Tre Campbell on the court, especially against zone defenses. This allows DSR to play more off the ball and it opens up the floor with spacing. I know the numbers say that Jabril Trawick is a better 3-point shooter but, in about 300 less minutes, Campbell has just one fewer attempt from deep. Campbell is also much more of a threat than L.J. Peak to shoot from outside.

Finishing strong: We all saw it the other night. DSR hit a 3-pointer with 7:41 left and that was it as far as field goals are concerned. After the Providence loss, JT3 kind of had a ‘it wasn't my fault' vibe to him in the press conference. It wasn't so much that Georgetown was missing shots, they weren't getting shots off. The turnovers weren't just on the freshman either. They were across the board. One thing I'd look for is to see if he has freshman inbounding the ball late. That play happened right in front of me and it seemed doomed from the beginning.

Turnovers: Villanova forces turnovers. In conference losses, Georgetown turns the ball over at least 15 times. I imagine that out of all the stats, this will be the biggest one and it goes back to playing Tre Campbell more. He's a point guard that doesn't turn the ball over that often.

Bench wish list: Other than playing Tre a bit more - at the expense of Peak - my other two bench wishes are for Bowen to get more than the 2 minutes that he got in the second half against Providence and for Paul White to forget the 3-pointers and take a step or two inside the arc and regain his confidence. I don't really have a wish for Copeland because I think we can count on him at this point.

Triples: DSR needs four 3-pointers to draw even with Mark Tillmon for 8th place in school history. Five would draw the junior even with Ashanti Cook. I wouldn't normally throw those numbers out but DSR is on an absolute tear right now. He's at least two 3-pointers in nine straight games. The record under JT3 is ten by Jonathan Wallace but he did it over two seasons. DSR is heating up at just the right time.

Reason to be cynical: You watched the end of the Providence game.

Reason to be delusional: If you can get swept by Xavier and Providence, well then you can sweep Villanova. Why not? College basketball is all about matchups and assuming that Paul White and Isaac Copeland both show up, Georgetown is a bad matchup for the Wildcats.

Final Thoughts: The last time I picked Villanova to beat Georgetown, the Hoyas won in a rout. Naturally I've got Villanova again. I mean it's not like Georgetown has ever ruined a Villanova celebration of the 1985 National Title game before. Oh wait; there was that little business about two late Darrel Owen's free throws in the Pavilion in 2005.