When: Friday, 7pm
Where: Montego Bay Convention Centre
Series: Hoyas lead 1-0, only meeting came in 1979-80 season
TV: CBS Sports Network (Bill Roth & Mark Wise)
KenPom Prediction: Georgetown 78, Loyola Marymount 72 (69 percent)
Line: Georgetown -6
So after what Patrick Ewing called the biggest win of his coaching career, the Hall of Famer has taken his team back to where it all started for him as Georgetown will play two games this weekend in the 2018 Jamaica Classic.
Please take notice of the word ‘Classic’.
Unlike most 8 team events where each school plays three games as part of a championship and consolation bracket, the Hoyas will play Loyola Marymount on Friday, have a day off on Saturday and then face old BIG EAST foe South Florida on Sunday afternoon.
The Hoyas get a chance to pick up right where they left off just a few days after their impressive victory at Illinois that was seemingly played at 100 mph for the entire second half.
Ewing’s decision to start both James Akinjo and Mac McClung has proven to be a very wise one and much of the country got to see exactly why during the program’s first win in the Gavitt Tipoff Series. Akinjo is looking like the best true point guard to come through Georgetown in quite some time while McClung is showing that his social media hype can carry over to games against legitimate competition.
Jessie Govan, who had 17 double-doubles last season, has started the season a little slow by his high standards but he’s still averaging nearly 17 and 7 while Jamorko Pickett, who was unusually quiet against the Illini after an early technical, has improved his defense and is shooting over 60 percent from deep through three games. Both players are due for breakout offensive performances and that could come as soon as this weekend.
SCOUTING THE LIONS
If you are a sports fan of a certain age there is only one thing you think of when you hear the name Loyola Marymount and that’s the 1990 NCAA Tournament. More specifically you picture Bo Kimble honoring the late Hank Gathers by shooting one handed free throws as the Lions were blowing out defending champions Michigan as part of their magical run to the Elite 8.
Fast forward 28 years later and the Lions are still waiting to get back to the Big Dance. Well after a 3-0 start that includes a comeback win at UNLV is this the year that coach Mike Dunlap finally produces a winning season? In four years in charge of his alma mater, Dunlap’s best mark is 15-15 and that came two seasons ago.
This current Lions team is led by senior guard James Batemon who tallies just under 20 points per game and has led the team in scoring in each of the first three games. 7-foot-3 junior center Mattias Markusson is second on the team in scoring 10.7 points per game and leads the Lions in rebounding with 9.7 per game. Joe Quintana comes in off the bench and serves as the team’s best threat from deep. The Lions are holding teams to around 50 points per game and limiting opponents to just 23 percent from 3-point range. Both numbers put LMU as one of the top defenses in the country early on in the season.
It might be wishful thinking but playing schools from the WCC more often wouldn’t be the worst idea. The league obviously has a few schools at the top that are very recognizable and always in the mix for the NCAA Tournament in Gonzaga, BYU, and St. Mary’s plus the middle of the league usually offers solid resume building opportunities that don’t kill your strength of schedule numbers. Another positive is that it gives Georgetown an opportunity to recruit out West during the season every other year should they agree to a home and away series. Win, win.
Prediction: Georgetown 75, Loyola Marymount 65
In what looks to be your classic battle of styles match-ups, the Hoyas will be able to speed the game up enough to escape the smothering LMU defense. Pickett and Govan should be able to open up this game with their perimeter shooting. Also, McClung will make a 3-pointer this weekend.