Game 28: Georgetown Hoyas (18-9, 3-2) vs No. 21 Butler Bulldogs (21-8, 11-5)
Series: Hoyas lead 4-1
Where/When: Hinkle Fieldhouse, 7 PM
TV: Fox Sports 1
We've made it to the rubber match between Georgetown and Butler but with that being said, not a whole lot has changed since the last meeting. Yes both teams are now squarely in the safe zone for NCAA tournament at large purposes but league wise, these two squads are still just jockeying for position behind BIG EAST leaders Villanova.
Even though the Butler games aren't exactly things beauty to be preserved for future generations to both study and appreciate, any further meetings this season will mean that the Hoyas have won some postseason games. So let's hope we see Butler again?
Speaking of seeing Butler again, let's talk for a second about the Hoyas first ever trip to Hinkle last season. Reggie Cameron got his first ever start and John Caprio basically played center. Other than that it was your regular ho-hum road win in which your starting guards combined for 88 minutes in a 3-point overtime win.
As mentioned earlier, this game isn't exactly do or die for the Hoyas but it would be a huge confidence boost heading in the tournaments.
So what do we know about the Bulldogs? The last time these two teams met, Butler had five Top 50 wins. They still have five Top 50 wins. Right now - like Georgetown - they are taking care of the teams that should beat.
Butler loves to score 31 points in the first half. Did you know that the halftime scores of both previous Georgetown - Butler games was 31-27 Bulldogs? Well it was.
Bulldogs lowdown: Until DSR sent back the last Roosevelt Jones shot at the buzzer, the junior forward was virtually unstoppable in the last meeting. Jones had a career highs in points (28) and field goals (12) in that 61-59 Hoyas wins. The other Bulldogs only combined to hit ten field goals.
Kellen Dunham hurt the Hoyas down in Atlantis with 16 points but got shaken up a bit in DC and only 13 points, most of which came in the first half.
Will Andrew Chrabascz play? That's a big question that might not be answered until after warm-ups.
Last time out: Butler earned the season sweep over DePaul over the weekend. Five of the Butler's last six wins come against the bottom of the league - DePaul (2x), Marquette (2x), and Creighton.
RPI: Right now the Bulldogs are holding strong at No. 23, exactly one spot ahead of your Hoyas.
Now on to your Hoyas.
DSR: He's feeling it right now. Over the last two games he's 10-of-20 from deep. Last year the junior hit 66 3-pointers. Only five players - Allen Iverson, Reggie Williams, Victor Page, Jonathan Wallace (2x), and Jason Clark - have had better seasons from deep. With at least four games left, Smith-Rivera has 61 makes from deep. DSR is a solid bet to continue his hot streak in what is virtually a home game for the preaseason BIG EAST Player of the Year.
Quality wins: Simply speaking, the Hoyas need some more of these. Right now the best thing about the Hoyas resume seems to be that they don't have any losses. In fact all nine of their losses have come against teams in the RPI Top 50. If you have to lose, that's where you want your losses to come from.
The issue is that DSR and Co. only have four wins in that same category. Winning at Hinkle would be one of the Hoyas best wins of the season. It would also improve the Hoyas seed in the Big Dance.
Defense: Georgetown leads the league in field goal percentage defense but in their last game the Hoyas let St. John's 46 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep. I'm not sure if it was the week off or what, but the Hoyas looked like they were on ice skates while trying to defend the Johnnies.
So how do you defend Jones and his unorthodox shooting? That's a big question that needs an answer. It seems as though guarding him too closely isn't the answer. You want to dare him to shoot rather than making the drive easier.
Copeland: In the first matchup between these two in Paradise, Isaac Copeland led Georgetown with 16 points - his first double figure outing for the Hoyas. In Game No. 2 all Copeland did was hit the game winning 3-pointer. Also, it was the freshman's first double digit game in over a month.
So with the three-time BIG EAST Rookie of the Week struggling a bit on the road against the better teams - Villanova, St. John's Providence, at Butler seems like the perfect place for Ike to get his mojo back as there's no team Copeland plays better against than the Bulldogs.
Reason to be cynical: It's March and the Hoyas biggest road win is at 16-12 Seton Hall.
Reason to be delusional: The last time the Hoyas beat the No. 21 team in the country, it was a game nobody will ever forget. We just passed the seven year anniversary of this masterpiece as Wallace hit three free throws to put the game into overtime with the Hoyas ultimately pulling out the 70-68 win.
Also, our guy DSR is going home to play in front of lots of family and friends. He'll be ready to put on a show and solidify his spot on the all-league team before heading to NYC next week.