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Preview: St. John’s at Georgetown

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Hoyas open up BIG EAST home play looking to avoid an 0-3 start

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Game 16: St. John’s Red Storm (11-4, 0-2) at Georgetown Hoyas (10-5, 0-2)

When: Wednesday 630 pm

Where: Capital One Arena

Series: Red Storm leads 59-54

Last Meeting: Georgetown won 89-78 at MSG on Jan. 27, 2019

TV: FS1 (Tim Brando & Len Elmore)

Radio: The Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)

KenPom Rankings: Georgetown 47, St. John’s 73

KenPom Score Prediction: Georgetown 80, St. John’s 75 (70 percent)

NET Rankings: St. John’s 57, Georgetown 58

Line: Hoyas -4, 152.5 o/u

Georgetown hosts St. John’s tonight in match-up that, while early, could go a long way towards shaping the rest of the season.

After an 0-2 start in the league, the 2020 campaign is in danger of slipping away as far as NCAA Tournament hopes are concerned.

Any road to the 8 or 9 conference wins that Georgetown likely needs to make the NCAA Tournament includes beating St. John’s at home. There’s really no way around it. And if we’re really being honest, the NIT probably depends on it as well. The conference might be as balanced as it’s been since realignment in 2013 with no real dead weight at the bottom. Right now, Georgetown needs to fight to avoid being that dead weight.

To be clear, starting out with two straight road games wasn’t the greatest gift from the league offices for Ewing’s shorthanded bunch. Missing Mac McClung at Providence didn’t help. Having Omer Yurtseven be a ghost against Seton Hall wasn’t ideal either.

For Georgetown to save this campaign that could end up being defined by four mid-season transfers, both McClung and Yurtseven have to play at or near an all-league level on most nights to give the Hoyas a shot. Before all hope is lost on this season, we need to see what it looks like a conference game when both McClung and Yurtseven are effective. Georgetown needs Terrell Allen and Jagan Mosely to get back to their levels at when the transfers first hit. The ability for Allen to penetrate and find open shooters as well as Mosely’s efficient shooting has been sorely missed during this two game slide.

HISTORY

It took 19 seasons for Georgetown to start out 0-2 in the BIG EAST. After losing to Providence and Seton Hall on the road last week, this is the eighth time in program history and third time in four years that Georgetown has started 0-2 in the BIG EAST. Only once in the previous seven did the Hoyas make the NCAA Tournament.

Georgetown had three straight 0-2 starts from 1998-00, all of which resulted in a trip to the NIT. The 2002 team infamously turned down the NIT under then-coach Craig Esherick. He probably wasn’t wrong about Georgetown getting hosed that March but history hasn’t looked back fondly on the decision.

The 2013 team went from 0-2 to 14-4 on the shoulders of Otto Porter and he should have been the National Player of the Year in retrospect. The 2017 and 18 teams finished 5-13 without any postseason play at all. So, in summary, to get out of an 0-2 hole to make the Big Dance, all Georgetown needed was for one of the best individual seasons in school history.

SCOUTING ST JOHN’S

Mike Anderson’s first year is off to a great start, especially for a team picked to finish 9th in the league. Not much was expected of the Red Storm but Anderson – who has taken UAB, Missouri, and Arkansas to the NCAA Tournament – scored two pretty big wins in the non-conference schedule over West Virginia and Arizona.

L.J. Figueroa and Mustapha Heron lead the way with both averaging just under 15 points per game. Rasheem Dunn comes in as a super sub with 11.2 points per game.

So far St. John’s is the worst 3-point shooting team in conference play. They are also last in rebounding.

Prediction: Georgetown 72, St. John’s 70