Game 23: Georgetown Hoyas (14-8, 4-5) at Providence Friars (13-9, 3-6)
When: Wednesday, 730pm
Where: Dunkin Donuts Center
Series: Georgetown leads 45-28, Hoyas won 96-90 in 2OT on Jan 12
TV: FS1 (Dave O’Brien & Donny Marshall)
Radio: WOL 1450, SiriusXM 383 (Rich Chvotkin)
KenPom Ranking: Providence 86, Georgetown 88
NET Ranking: Georgetown 79, Providence 81
KenPom Projection: Providence 75, Georgetown 71 (63 percent)
Line: Providence -5.5, o/u 148.5
Georgetown wraps up a two-game road swing with a chance to split the pair with a victory over Providence tonight. Although it won’t come easy as the Hoyas have lost five straight at the Dunkin Donuts Center, last winning there in 2012. That’s also the last time Georgetown swept Providence, something that can accomplished tonight. Providence had swept the Hoyas the last four seasons, their best winning streak in the all-time series.
The play-everyone-extremely-close-and-see-what-happens-at-the-end Hoyas proved they weren’t quite ready for primetime in Sunday’s loss at No. 14 Villanova.
Georgetown hung around with the league’s top team for most of the afternoon thanks to a great effort by James Akinjo – who earned his third BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award - and solid bench performances from fifth-year players Trey Mourning and Greg Malinowski. In the end, a scoreless effort from Jessie Govan and a 2 for 11 shooting performance from Mac McClung were too much to overcome as the Hoyas failed to upset the Wildcats yet again.
In a season where so much has gone right offensively for Govan, the Hoyas will not be winning many – if any – games where he is unable to stay on the court due to foul trouble. A few of the fouls were of the silly variety as they occurred well away from the hoop. The talented senior big man will get a chance to right the ship against a Providence team that he dominated earlier in the season to a tune of 33 points and 14 rebounds.
Now while knocking off a ranked Villanova team would have been the sexier win of the two, earning a season sweep over Providence was always the more realistic goal of this road trip and quite frankly, the season.
In his second year, coach Patrick Ewing can move the Hoyas up the conference ladder by leapfrogging teams the Friars as well as Seton Hall and Butler. Those are the middle of the pack schools that have recently been going to the NCAA Tournament instead of the Hoyas.
BIG EAST STANDINGS
With the top two spots all but spoken for in Villanova and Marquette, the rest of the league is starting to settle a bit but could revert back to an eyesore depending on tonight’s results.
A Hoyas win tonight would bring them up to a third place tie with St. John’s at 5-5 while Providence would fall to a last place tie with Xavier at 3-7. In this scenario, a bottom begins to take form.
In the league’s other game tonight, Creighton travels to Villanova. An upset by the Bluejays could also bring them up to third place at 5-5 after a poor 1-4 start. Who saw that coming?
If both Georgetown and Creighton lose tonight on the road, the standings would go back to their ugly ways as SIX TEAMS would be 4-6 after 10 games. This is the NIT heavy scenario that would put just about everyone in play for the BET Wednesday Night Doubleheader.
SINCE THEY LAST MET
After an 0-3 start, coach Ed Cooley and his squad have gone 3-3 although they’ve dropped two straight with both coming on the road. The biggest change for the Friars from that first meeting – a game in which Cooley said afterwards that he thought they had won twice – is that heralded freshman A.J. Reeves is back. Reeves was off to a great start before going down with an injury and has been back for just three games. Reeves hasn’t played more than 11 minutes as Providence has gone 1-2.
Alpha Diallo continues as the Friars leading scorer and rebounder while Nat Watson is third in scoring and second in rebounding. Both had solid performances in the first meeting with the Hoyas. Diallo had 24 and 13 while Watson was a near perfect 9 for 11 from the field, scoring 21 points.
After tonight Providence heads back on the road for another two games against Villanova and St. John’s, so Cooley will likely have his team fired up as this might be the Friars last stand to extend their Tournament streak to six seasons.
LAST HOYAS WIN AT PROVIDENCE
We have to go into the way back machine to 2012. Otto Porter and Greg Whittington were promising freshman on a team led by Jason Clark, Henry Sims, and Hollis Thompson. Those three upperclassmen led the Hoyas in double-figures in a 69-53 win and were joined Nate Lubick and Markel Starks in the starting lineup.
Georgetown 81, Providence 78 – It will be – stop me if you’ve heard this before – a close one but the Hoyas will get back to .500 before coming home to take on Butler on Saturday.