When: Wednesday, 7pm
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
Series: Hoyas lead 7-5, schools split away wins last season
TV: FSN (MASN2 in DC area) - Brandon Gaudin & Nick Baye
Radio: Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)
KenPom Prediction: Butler 80, Georgetown 70 (81 percent)
Line: Butler -8.5
It’s here, it’s really here!
The long wait is over as Georgetown opens up conference play with a trip to one of its favorite venues in the entire BIG EAST in Hinkle Fieldhouse.
In one of the crazier stats during Georgetown’s current down period, the Hoyas have won two straight and four of five at Butler despite the Bulldogs being a perennial NCAA Tournament team.
Josh LeBlanc earned BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors after scoring a career high 22 points to go along with 11 rebounds, his third double-double of the season. LeBlanc is the third Georgetown freshman this season to claim the award. LeBlanc has started the last two games for the Hoyas with Trey Mourning sidelined with a concussion.
Butler is coming off by far its worst loss of the season after being trounced by Florida, 77-43. The Bulldogs have picked up a great non-conference win earlier in the season against Florida but were no match for the Gators last time out.
Safe to say that coach LaVall Jordan didn’t allow his players to forget about that lopsided loss as they rang in the New Year. The Bulldogs are 2-2 since Duke transfer – and former Hoyas target – Jordan Tucker has started to play.
Speaking of transfers George Washington transfer Paul Jorgensen is second on the team in scoring behind Kamar Baldwin and hits 41 percent of his 3-pointers. Sean McDermott, who comes in scoring 10.9 ppg, is Butler’s top 3-point shooter at 43 percent. Both Jorgensen and McDermott take nearly seven shots from deep per contest.
Here’s what Jessie Govan had to say after the Howard victory last Saturday on facing Butler in the conference opener:
“I think they have one of the best fan bases in the BIG EAST. Playing up there is definitely going to be hard. That’s going to be a nice way to open up BIG EAST play in a hostile environment. It’s going to be loud. I’m telling the freshman already that haven’t played there and Greg [Malinowski] who hasn’t played there. I’m telling them it’s going to loud, it’s going to be exciting. We just got to seize the moment, be ready to hopefully start off BIG EAST play with a win.”
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
1 – Will Mac McClung return after missing the Howard game with a sprained ankle?
I have to be honest in saying that I missed the initial online hysteria over McClung’s whereabouts for tonight’s game. It looks as though the freshman guard is with the team at Butler but obviously that’s all we know. Anytime you can get an explosive player like McClung back it’s a good thing but without him coach Patrick Ewing has some options as both Kaleb Johnson and Jahvon Blair have been playing better as late. While neither is a like for like sub for McClung, Georgetown has a deeper roster than in year’s past to try and sustain the possible absence of McClung for a few games.
2 – Can the Hoyas keep up their winning ways at Butler?
There’s really no great explanation as to why Georgetown has had such great success in road games against the Bulldogs. The Hoyas have won four of five at Butler as was said earlier and last season they needed a spark from Trey Dickerson off the bench to pull out the win. With increased guard play from James Akinjo, Butler could be in for a long night. Stealing an away win early this season would be huge as the Hoyas play four of their next five at Capital One Arena.
3 – Who will be guarding Kamar Baldwin?
This is a big question.
Can Akinjo handle the task or will a bigger player do the trick such as Jagan Mosely or even Jamorko Pickett? Akinjo will probably get the first crack at it but it’s important for him to avoid foul trouble like he had in the Howard game when he picked up two quick fouls. Obviously it didn’t matter against the Bison but it will against the Bulldogs. I think we’ll see Mosely off the bench early in this one.
Prediction: Butler 84, Georgetown 77