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Game Preview: Georgetown Hoyas vs Marquette Golden Eagles

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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Game 14: Georgetown Hoyas (8-5) vs Marquette Golden Eagles (10-3)

Series: Hoyas lead 10-9

Where/When: Verizon Center, Saturday 530 PM

TV: FS1

Line: Hoyas -7

The BIG EAST NYE hoops marathon has been moved to Jan 2 and as a result the Hoyas host at the unusual time of 5:30 PM.  Georgetown is usually forced to play earlier in the day as either the Wizards or Capitals occupy the Verizon Center on most Saturday nights.

If we are ranking the Marathon games in order of interest to the neutral this game would probably come in second behind just Butler at Xavier which will see one Top 25 team fall to 0-2 in league play in the opening few days of BIG EAST action.

Here's some basic info on Marquette:

Last time out: As mentioned above the Golden Eagles suffered a surprising blowout loss at home at the hands of the Seton Hall Pirates by the tune of 83-63.  Freshman sensation Henry Ellenson had another double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds but was just 3-of-14 from the field.  As a team Marquette shot just 1-of-11 from deep.

RPI: Coach Steve Wojciechowski decided to beef up his team's win total by feasting on cupcakes throughout much of the preseason leaving to an inflated win total of 10 games coming into today's game with the Hoyas.  As a result of this strategy Marquette currently holds a 157 mark in the RPI despite a solid record.  This will improve thanks to the overall strength of the BIG EAST.

Who to watch for: Ellenson has lived up to the hype by averaging a double-double of 16.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.  The freshman big man is one of four Marquette players along with Luke Fischer, Duane Wilson, and Haanif Cheatham to average double figures.  Wilson has been doing his work off the bench after the first three games.

Wilson and Sandy Cohen are the ones to watch for from 3-point range while Traci Carter leads the team with 4.6 assists in just 23 minutes per game.

Ok let's talk about the Hoyas.

Inconsistent Derrickson: The impressive freshman is averaging 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game but after notching two early double-doubles in his career hasn't come close in weeks.  Derrickson hasn't had more than five rebounds since grabbing ten against Syracuse and had scored in double figures just twice in his last six games.  For the first time in a long time the Hoyas have a legit scorer at the four position and it's time for Derrickson to become more involved.

Defending home court: Georgetown has lost two straight home games before its BIG EAST home opener against Marquette.  The Hoyas are 5-2 against the Golden Eagles at the Verizon Center in league play.  This will be Marquette's first true road game outside the state of Wisconsin.  Marquette did manage to go 2-0 in neutral games in Brooklyn earlier this season.

Who starts?  Who finishes? We saw our first change in the starting lineup against DePaul and the results were positive all around.  L.J. Peak was sent to the bench and not only scored in double figures but he shot well from long distance and didn't foul out.  Tre Campbell didn't fill up the stat sheet but he played well enough and took some of the pressure of DSR, allowing the senior guard to get off to a good start.

White Ailing:  Without an official word so far, sophomore Paul White seems to be suffering a setback from his earlier hip injury.  White didn't play at all against DePaul despite being dressed out.  White has now missed six of the Hoyas first 13 games in what seems to be unfortunately turning into a lost season. 

Reason to be delusional: 18-0 is still a possibility in the league after that 12-point win at DePaul.

Reason to be cynical: Beating DePaul was expected so it's hard to get too worked up, particularly since it took an impressive game from 3-point range to get the job done.

Final Thoughts: Without getting too carried away, the schedule opens up nicely for the Hoyas at the start of BIG EAST play.  If the Hoyas can keep Cheatham, Wilson, and Carter from penetrating and kicking out, Georgetown could be well on its way to taking advantage of the kind opening run.