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Preview: North Texas at Georgetown

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Is this a trap before the BIG EAST?

NCAA Basketball: No.Carolina A&T at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Game 10: North Texas Mean Green (7-5) at Georgetown Hoyas (8-1)

Series: First Game

Where/When: Capital One Arena, Wednesday 7pm

TV: FS2

KenPom: Georgetown 78-67, 85 percent

Line: Hoyas -9.5, O/U 144.5

Georgetown’s season can basically be broken up into two parts: the Syracuse game (including the buildup) and the BIG EAST games.

This week’s games against North Texas and Alabama A&M represent an odd, in-between part of the schedule that could actually become quite tricky.

Well, the North Texas game anyway.

Just last season coach Grant McCasland took an Arkansas State team into McDonough with little pre game fanfare. A game that looked to be just a 40 minute formality before leaving for Maui turned into a continuation of the last second, come from ahead loss to Maryland.

With that Terrapin hangover, Georgetown was blindsided right from the start by Arkansas State. This dropped the Hoyas to 1-2 on the season and they pretty much never recovered.

McCasland used that win over Georgetown, along with a solid season with the Red Wolves to move on from the Sun Belt to Conference USA. As fate would have it McCasland comes to the nation’s capital for the second straight season with Georgetown in pretty much the same position.

So what does Georgetown need to do to avoid a repeat of last year?

Derrickson and Govan: This will be the case most nights going forward but more so against North Texas as the Mean Green don’t really have the low post players to deal with Georgetown’s dynamic duo. Last year McCasland basically forced the Hoyas to beat his squad from the outside and Georgetown played right into it by going 3 for 20 from deep. Jagan Mosely in particular had a rough night of it by going 2 for 9, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range. Assuming these two can stay out of foul trouble they will need to play off each other like they did for large stretches against Syracuse.

Managing Minutes: Coach Ewing might need to make a lineup change as the Hoyas don’t really have much off the bench in terms of big man play. What was already a thin bench became thinner when Chris Sodom was dismissed from the program Tuesday afternoon for a violation of team rules. Antwan Walker didn’t play last game and that’s going to need to change. With Ewing having three guard options off the bench it probably makes sense to start another guard while bringing either Jamorko Pickett or Kaleb Johnson off the bench to give the team some flexibility.

Steady Frosh: Even though Jahvon Blair struggled from the field against Syracuse, the talented freshman made the most of his 25 minutes off the bench. Blair hit a big 3-pointer, had four rebounds, and five assists to zero turnovers. A few of those assists were spectacular, highlight worthy caliber stuff. Blair has looked the part in the early going this season and will likely be called upon against a guard heavy Mean Green.

Scouting the Mean Green: North Texas is led by three double figure scoring guards in Roosevelt Smart, Ryan Woolridge, and A.J. Lawson. Smart leds the trio of sophomore guards by scoring 18.1 points per game. Smart is also the biggest threat from distance by shooting 43 percent from deep on nearly eight attempts per game. Senior forward Shane Temara averages 11 points per game a team high 6.5 rebounds per game on a good rebounding team. Also, Temara is from Syracuse.

Last Time Out: North Texas beat San Diego in overtime last Saturday in the first game of a four game road trip. Smart had a career-best 31 points including the go-ahead 3-pointer in extra time. The Mean Green are on a season-best three game winning streak that includes another overtime win over an Indiana State team that beat the Hoosiers earlier this season.

Reason to be cynical: This is the classic trap game. It’s going to be difficult to go from the emotions of playing your biggest rival in front of a crowd of 15,000 people to playing a mid-week affair against a school most fans haven’t even heard of in what is likely to be about 3,500 people.

Reason to be delusional: Finals are over and everyone is feeling good!

Prediction: Georgetown 81, North Texas 78