Game 18: Georgetown Hoyas (9-8, 1-4) vs Connecticut Huskies (7-9, 2-3)
Series: Hoyas lead 35-30
Where/When: Verizon Center, Saturday noon
KenPom: Georgetown 69-61, 76 percent
“In a perfect world this game wouldn’t be in the middle of conference play. They’re not that far removed from being a part of our fabric in the BIG EAST. This is a game that we wanted to make sure we maintained.” – John Thompson III on renewing the UConn rivalry during Thursday’s BIG EAST conference call
JT3 said something similar to the above quote when asked about this topic in the aftermath of crushing St. John’s on Monday night. I find the statement kind of odd because most people look back at his 2006 win against Duke as one of the bigger regular season wins in JT3’s tenure. That game took place right in the middle of the BIG EAST season. Then a couple of years ago the Hoyas almost saved their season with a midseason win over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden.
Going back even further, it’s funny how the midseason games have flipped. For years DePaul was the midseason favorite of Big John but now the Blue Demons are in the conference. Now it’s the Huskies they have left the league only to still show up in January.
That being said, playing Connecticut in January still basically feels like a conference game as it really hasn’t been all that long since the Huskies were still in the league. Maybe one day the good people up in Stoors will figure out that FBS football isn’t for everyone. We’ll see.
Like the Hoyas, UConn just recently snapped a four-game losing streak. During that stretch the Huskies fell to 0-3 in the American with two of those losses coming in overtime.
Kevin Ollie depends mainly on Jalen Adams and Rodney Purvis as well as Vance Jackson, Kentan Facey, and Amida Brimah.
“The last two games they’ve played very well,” said JT3 on the Huskies wins over Central Florida and Temple – both of which came at home.
“It looks like with the group that they have now they have found and are finding their groove. Throughout the year their defense has been very good. It’s been hard to score against them.”
For UConn their defense has to be good because their offensive has been pretty mediocre mainly because the Huskies don’t shoot particularly well. It would be in the Hoyas best interest to dare UConn to shoot it rather than fall for the pump fakes and give up drives to the hoop. I mean, that would always be a sound idea but even more so this weekend.
For Georgetown, the goal was always to get on a roll with this four-game home stand and that is still possible although anything less than going 3-1 would be a major disappointment.
“We’re 1-4 and we played well against St. John’s,” said JT3.
“In a couple losses we played well also it just comes down to a stretch here, a stretch there, a possession here, and a possession there. Despite of our record we’re not playing poorly. We just now have to start winning games.”
If Georgetown is going to start piling up wins, it seems as though the continued contributions of both Marcus Derrickson and Jagan Mosely will be vital. Derrickson got off to a slow start this season because of injuries while Mosely has started since Day One but is just now beginning to put the ball in the basket with regularity.
“The start of the season was very difficult for Marcus and difficult for us because he wasn’t out there,” said JT3.
“He’s just now getting to where he’s physically is not apprehensive.”
“Jagan has been very good all year. He’s scored points the last couple of games which is probably drawing a little bit of attention. He’s going to give you something in every aspect of the game. He works hard, he defends. Now he’s finding his groove offensively also. Those two continuing to do that is very important for us.”
Mosely has scored in double figures in back-to-back games while Derrickson has gone six straight games with at least 11 points.
Missing Tre: When asked for an update on Tre Campbell’s availability and timetable JT3 indicated that he didn’t know.
“It’s with our medical staff,” said JT3. “We just hope he’s OK.”
He did say that he would find out more info on his junior guard later in the day. News might come out of the Hoyas media avail on Friday so check twitter for updates.
Reason to be cynical: Georgetown beat St. John’s. That’s expected. You’re probably waiting – like everyone else – for the Hoyas to beat someone not named the Red Storm or Blue Demons to get your hopes up.
Reason to be delusional: Maybe all the Hoyas needed was to get a win to get this thing back on track. If that’s the case, happy days here we come after that 28 point laugher over Chris Mullin and Co.
Prediction: Pryor is due for a big game. Pryor will deliver. Hoyas 81, UConn 70