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Georgetown vs Appalachian State: 3 Things to Watch

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Georgetown looks to end 2-game losing skid

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Game 11: Appalachian State (4-6) at Georgetown Hoyas (7-3)

When: Tuesday, 630pm

Where: Capital One Arena

Series: Hoyas lead 1-0, Georgetown defeated App State 89-60 in 2010-11 season

TV: FS1 (Dave O’Brien & Steve Lavin)

Radio: Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)

KenPom Prediction: Georgetown 88, SMU 77 (84 percent)

Line: Hoyas -10

Georgetown looks to end a two-game losing skid on Tuesday night when they host Appalachian State at Capital One Arena. Coach Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas lost their first home game of the season last Saturday as SMU used a big first half run to take a lead and never looked back.

Jessie Govan once again led the Hoyas, scoring 17 points and pulling in seven rebounds but the big news of the day was that Jamorko Pickett was in a suit on the bench rather than in his usual spot in the starting line-up.

Explained by Ewing as simply a ‘coach’s decision’, Pickett missed his first game as a Hoya while seldom used reserve Kaleb Johnson got the first start of his senior season. Johnson, who came into the game having played just a total of 37 minutes, scored two points and picked up three fouls. No players were made available to the media after the game.

WHAT TO WATCH

1 – Will Pickett play?

When Marcus Derrickson left early for the NBA after last season, much was expected of rising sophomore guard/forward Jamorko Pickett. Pickett earned all-BIG EAST Honors as a freshman and seemed the natural choice to play Robin to Govan’s Batman.

Pickett’s season has gotten off to a bumpy start which recently has included a benching against Liberty – Pickett did come off the bench to score nine points and dish out a career-high five assists - and then Pickett matched a season low with 15 minutes in the loss in the Carrier Dome. Pickett has more turnovers than made field goals through nine games.

Much was made of Pickett’s game growing but right now the Hoyas could really just use his shooting and defense. On a team without good shooters – more on this below, Pickett is easily the best and his 6-foot-8 frame makes it hard for opposing guards to shoot over him. With three games left before BIG EAST play, Ewing and the Hoyas need Pickett to get involved.

2 – Line-up Changes

Ewing has gone as young as possible with this season’s starting backcourt with both James Akinjo and Mac McClung getting the nod in each of the first ten games. Both players have shown that they deserve heavy minutes but it’s possible that they might benefit from less time on the court together. Akinjo is the Hoyas top playmaker while McClung – who can also handle the ball and attack the rim with success - is struggling to provide shooting as the shooting guard. McClung is hitting just 21 percent from deep while none of the Hoyas four true guards – Akinjo, McClung, Blair, and Mosely – are shooting better than 38 percent from the field. If Pickett is in the lineup against Appalachian State he could slide over to the shooting guard spot while Johnson or Greg Malinowski could take up the small forward. At this point, even though Johnson started against SMU I’d pick Malinowski to get back into the starting lineup which is something he did against Liberty.

The idea is to improve the shooting options among the starters outside of Govan.

3 – Defense on Appalachian State Guards

The Mountaineers are led by two guards in Ronshad Shabazz and Justin Forrest who combine to score 37 points per game on about 27 shots per game. Georgetown’s defense just has not been good enough and it’s something Ewing talked about at length following the SMU loss. Recently Ewing has been willing to switch things up and try zone at times to varying results. This really comes down to Ewing figuring out which of his many combinations play the best defense together. The automatic piece in this puzzle seems to be Josh LeBlanc who has made numerous highlight reels with his weak side blocks and overall hustle play. Tonight the Hoyas will face another good challenge with just three games left until it gets very real in league play.

Prediction: Georgetown 82, App State 75