Game 5: Georgetown Hoyas (2-2) vs No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers (3-1)
Series: Series tied 2-2
Where/When: Lahaina Civic Center, Tuesday 8PM EST
KenPom: 65 percent Wisconsin win, 70-65
We needed that. That’s my opening statement. – JT3 after Georgetown defeated Oregon 65-61 to avoid back-to-back 1-3 starts
You can pretty much always count on Georgetown picking up at least one quality win in these early season tournaments and this year will be no different as the Hoyas held on for dear life and finished off No. 13 Oregon on Monday afternoon. Rodney Pryor and LJ Peak led the way as Georgetown missed 23 of 29 shots in the second half as those of us at home were left to be entertained solely by the wisdom of Bill Walton
This marks the ninth straight season in which the Hoyas have knocked off a ranked non-conference foe. But why stop there? The Hoyas get another crack at a ranked opponent outside of the BIG EAST on Tuesday night in No. 15 Wisconsin in their quest to reach the final of a three day tournament for the first time since winning the 2010 Charleston Classic.
This will be the third straight season in which the Hoyas and Badgers face off in an unscheduled regular season game. The two schools seemingly drawn together like early season basketball magnets have become so familiar with each other recently that coach John Thompson III referred to Wisconsin as a “conference game” in his post-game remarks Monday. Tuesday’s matchup will serve as the rubber match in this newfound rivalry although it will be the first one with Greg Gard in charge of Wisconsin.
Getting to know the Badgers
Much like the Hoyas, Wisconsin also got off to a great start in their opening round win on Monday. The Badgers led Tennessee 12-0 but ultimately faced a small second half deficit before finishing off the Vols. Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes led the way while Ethan Happ is also a candidate for double digit points or boards. Wisconin has already lost to BIG EAST foe Creighton and can be turned over although for that to happen the Hoyas need to score on their end.
What to Watch:
How will JT3 use Bradley Hayes? Big question here and I think he’ll go with Hayes off the bench while continuing to start Jessie Govan. Will we see any Govan and Hayes together in a twin towers type look? I don’t think so even though Govan can clearly shoot the ball. That lineup might have worked in a gone by era. Hayes should provide the Hoyas with a completely different option but hopefully he’s able to ease back into the team. Hayes didn’t really get going last season against the Badgers, managing just four points and two rebounds in 14 minutes in the Hoyas victory.
Going Big: Yes it’s early but for the first time we saw JT3 go with both Jessie Govan and Akoy Agau at times against Oregon. It proved to be a positive pairing on both ends of the court. Agau had a key second half basket and blocked three shots on the other end. This gives Georgetown another option as Agau seems like he might be the best passing big on the team although he needs to make the passes quicker. Will we see Agau and Hayes?
Copeland Bounce Back: Isaac Copeland continues to struggle and in Monday’s win he had more fouls (3) than points (2) for just the fourth time in his 70 appearances for the Hoyas. While Copeland has never been a stopper on the defensive end the Hoyas are going to need him making shots especially with Marcus Derrickson back in DC. Much like the Hoyas needed confidence coming into Maui, Copeland could really benefit from making a few shots early to get himself back on track.
Reason to be delusional: This team picked up a quality win on Monday and now has fifth year center Bradley Hayes back in the fold. The sky’s the limit.
Reason to be cynical: Well for as great as it was to beat Oregon, the Hoyas almost blew it thanks to some late turnovers and shooting a cool 20 percent from the field in the second half.
Final Thoughts: For as good as I felt about Georgetown beating Oregon, I’m not sure what’s going on here as it’s a hard team to trust. Reggie Cameron, whose official status predictably still remains a mystery, was the hero in last year’s win over Wisconsin as his four three-pointers went a long way in the Hoyas hitting 50 percent from deep. Who can step up off the bench this year? I’ll go with Tre Campbell.
Hoyas 69, Badgers 67