When: Wednesday, 630pm
Where: Capital One Arena
Series: Georgetown leads 43-40, Villanova won last meeting 77-65 on Feb 3
TV: FS1 (Gus Johnson & Bill Raftery)
Radio: The Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)
KenPom Ranking: Villanova 22, Georgetown 86
NET Ranking: Villanova 20, Georgetown 80
KenPom Projection: Villanova 78, Georgetown 73 (67 percent)
Line: Villanova -5.5
Back in action after the dreaded week long break during BIG EAST play, Georgetown hosts No. 17 Villanova tonight at Capital One Arena in what has all the makings of another Snow Game between long time rivals. (As you may or may not recall, the then 7th ranked Hoyas knocked off No. 2 Villanova in a shootout during a blizzard in 2010. It was truly a wild time.)
OK, back to the present. Based on what happened – or really what didn’t happen - last week in Newark, this week-long break actually felt more like a month as the Hoyas suffered their worst defeat of the season to Seton Hall.
All the Hoyas have to do in order to avoid their first three game losing streak of the season is to slay the current dragon that is the Villanova Wildcats.
The Hoyas dropped a very winnable game in the first meeting at Villanova back on Feb 3 but were severely limited offensively after getting next to nothing from Jessie Govan and Mac McClung who combined to shoot 2 for 20. Saddled with early foul trouble after getting lost in a few pick-and-roll situations, Govan was held scoreless for the first time since his freshman campaign as the Hoyas dropped a ninth straight to the Wildcats.
Despite the woes from two of their top three scorers, Georgetown was still in it late in the second half as Villanova struggled from the field shooting just 29 percent from 3-point range. In the end the Hoyas didn’t have an answer for Colin Gillespie who scored 30 points while making six 3-pointers and going 10 for 12 from the line. Eric Paschall scored 24 points while playing all 40 minutes and Phil Booth had 14 points. Those three Wildcats combined to score 68 of the 77 points while Georgetown managed a season low BIG EAST total of 65.
Coach Patrick Ewing is still seeking his first win over a ranked foe 56 games into his career. Ewing is winless in seven games against AP Top 25 teams with three of those losses coming at the hands of Villanova. As a program Georgetown has dropped ten straight to ranked teams with their last win coming a little over two years ago at then-No. 11 Butler.
Villanova is coming off a loss at St. John’s over the weekend which means Georgetown has a golden opportunity to put an end to an incredible streak by the Wildcats.
While there are many ways to express just how dominant Villanova has been in BIG EAST play since conference realignment took place prior to the 2013-14 season, one might stick out as the most ridiculous.
Jay Wright and the Wildcats have played 103 league games in what we might call the New BIG EAST without suffering back-to-back defeats. With a record of 88-15 against conference foes since 2014, Villanova has responded to each of their previous 14 losses with little doubt. Their average margin of victory in bounce back situations has been 13 points with just four of those wins coming by less than ten. Villanova last lost consecutive conference games towards the end of the 2013 season.
RACE TO MSG
We are finally starting to see some separation in what has been a crowded group outside of the top two in Villanova and Marquette. There are currently four teams with winning records and the distance between third place teams – St. John’s and Seton Hall (7-6) – and the last place teams – Providence and Creighton (4-9) – has now grown to three games.
Georgetown has a chance to keep pace just behind the third place teams by snapping their program worst losing streak to Villanova while a loss would push them closer to the bottom and in major jeopardy of playing in the Wednesday night double header at the Garden for the fifth time in six seasons.
Georgetown 90, No. 17 Villanova 82 – With a week to lick their wounds after that dreadful defeat to Seton Hall, the Hoyas get their act together and finish the job they almost completed in Philadelphia earlier this month. James Akinjo snaps out of his shooting slump and leads the Hoyas to victory in Ewing’s first signature win.
**NOTE: A loss to Villanova would put the Hoyas in danger of moving off the NIT bubble and in a tailspin, once again being stuck on 15 wins for entirely too long.**