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Preview: Georgetown at Providence

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Hoyas look to push their winning streak to seven as BIG EAST play begins on NYE

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Providence Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Game 14: Georgetown Hoyas (10-3) at Providence Friars (7-6)

When: Tuesday 530 pm

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center

Series: Hoyas lead 46-28

Last Meeting: Georgetown won 76-67 at Providence on Feb. 6, 2019

TV: FS1 (Pat O’Keefe & Donny Marshall)

Radio: The Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)

KenPom Rankings: Georgetown 40, Providence 81

KenPom Prediction: Georgetown 76, Providence 75 (55 percent)

NET Rankings: Georgetown 30, Providence 129

Line: Providence - 1, 151.5 o/u

Well we’ve made it to the BIG EAST portion of the show and for the first time in Patrick Ewing’s three years in charge, Georgetown enters league play with legitimate NCAA Tournament aspirations.

Yes, the Hoyas are a bit undermanned for what looks to be a grueling 18-game slate of games between old friends but Georgetown did enough heavy lifting in the non-conference for this year to feel different even with the shorter than desired bench.

The Hoyas begin conference play with 10 wins for the third consecutive year but the quality wins are there for the first time in a long time in the form of Texas, Syracuse, SMU, and Oklahoma State. Three of those wins have come on the current six-game winning streak, the second longest in Ewing’s time as coach.

Omer Yurtseven and Mac McClung give Ewing one of the best inside-out, 1-2 punches in the league and maybe the country and as such are completely irreplaceable on the current roster.

Can everyone else fill in and do their job?

So far, the answer has been yes. Terrell Allen has been unbelievable since the transfers, Jagan Mosely is doing all he can to make sure he gets one NCAA Tourney run in before he leaves, and Jamorko Pickett has shown a lot of the promise of his freshman year. Jahvon Blair, like Pickett, is playing much more like his freshman version while Qudus Wahab has proven to be a solid backup for Yurtseven since Day 1.

Now for as well as Georgetown has played to start this season, the BIG EAST has followed the same path as nine of the ten teams are either ranked or receiving votes in the latest AP Poll. Even more impressive is those same nine teams are all ranked in the top 55 of the most recent NET rankings.

The only team in the league not off to a great start? Yep, you guessed it: Providence.

The Hoyas swept Providence last season to end a ridiculous eight-game slide to the Friars. It’s hard to believe that happened but it did and now it’s over. So that being said, when coming up with a road map to the 9 conference wins (probably) needed to get Georgetown back to the Tournament for the first time since 2015, a win at the Dunk is a really nice way to start.

Not to make it too simple here but this game really comes down to the health of McClung. Georgetown can’t handle any more personnel losses, particularly the high scoring sophomore guard.

SCOUTING PROVIDENCE

After having their five-year NCAA Tournament streak snapped last season, coach Ed Cooley hasn’t had the bounce back campaign he would have been hoping for with Providence sitting at just 7-6 after non-conference play.

It hasn’t been easy to figure out Providence recently. After losing by 32 to Florida, the Friars bounced back by crushing Texas by 22 ten days ago to avoid a losing record heading into New Year’s Eve. Providence has not so great losses to Penn, Charleston, and Long Beach State.

This is kind of the same old Providence in that the offense – particularly the shooting - isn’t anything to write home about.

Alpha Diallo is back for one more year of putting up big numbers and he’s joined by Nate Watson (10 ppg) down low. Diallo is having a bad start from three-point range but he’s still averaging nearly a double-double of 14 points and nine boards per game.

David Duke (12.3 ppg) is off to a good start after a disappointing freshman year as a highly touted recruit.

UMass transfer Luwane Pimpkins hasn’t had quite the impact some were expecting coming from the A10. So far, the most memorable thing he’s done is interrupt McClung at media day. When asked about it during the pre-season media day, McClung said that there wasn’t any previous bad blood or any prior history so who knows what that was all about.

Prediction: Georgetown 78, Providence 74

If McClung doesn’t play because of the eye injury suffered last Saturday, all bets are off here.