The Georgetown Hoyas will host the No. 9 Villanova Wildcats at McDonough Arena on Friday night to begin the BIG EAST season. The game time has been moved to 7:30pm due to COVID-based rescheduling and will be featured on FS1.
Game Update: Tipoff for Friday’s contest with Georgetown has been changed from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. pic.twitter.com/8ptEbhBSLC— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) December 8, 2020
On paper, Georgetown matches up with Villanova decently. Villanova is led by their sophomore forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who will presumably be guarded by Jamorko Pickett. At center, Qudus Wahab will compete with 6’7” senior Jermaine Samuels, coming off a finger injury—if Ewing doesn’t decide to try more small-ball with Chudier Bile.
Villanova’s guards, Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, and Caleb Daniels, are smart and can shoot, but not likely known to be as athletic as, say, Jahvon Blair, Don Carey, and Jalen Harris (or maybe Dante Harris).
Georgetown, of course, will have to battle their inner demons like turnovers, free throws, and perimeter defense—but that’s nothing new! Villanova does not make many mistakes, especially after dropping one to Virginia Tech.
The only other question is, does Patrick Ewing have any tricks up his sleeve for the start of BIG EAST play? For instance, might some prolonged pressing be in the cards on Friday night?
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Villanova makes its first visit to Georgetown’s campus venue, McDonough Arena, in nearly four decades Friday night. The No. 9/6 Wildcats open BIG EAST play against the Hoyas (2-2 overall), ironically the last BIG EAST team they met in March before the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly ended the 2019-20 campaign...
When last the ‘Cats and Hoyas tangled on Georgetown’s campus, the teams were coached by legends Rollie Massimino and John Thompson Jr. Georgetown prevailed 70-54 on Feb. 4, 1981. Current Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing was a high school senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School at that time, months away from his enrollment at Georgetown later that year.
Villanova head coach Jay Wright has yet to bring a team to McDonough, but he has been in the building.
“I remember being there for some AAU events,” he says. “We’ve never been part of a game there though.”
Patrick Ewing rockin' the Big John Thompson shirt on today's Zoom call pic.twitter.com/TzMaYOysCM— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) December 10, 2020
The Wildcats’ rotation includes five upperclassmen, and two very experienced sophomores. On most nights, that will give them an advantage. However, Georgetown is one of the older teams in the country, with five seniors playing big minutes despite the roster shakeup a year ago. Jahvon Blair and Jamorko Pickett are familiar names that are in their fourth years at Georgetown ... Georgetown also added three graduate transfers in Jalen Harris from Arkansas, Donald Carey from Siena, and Chudier Bile from Northwestern State.
Georgetown also will be able to match Villanova’s size on the perimeter. Caleb Daniels and Justin Moore in particular have had success muscling opponent guards in the paint so far this season, but veterans like Blair, Carey and Pickett will be up to the challenge. It will be interesting to see how Villanova adjusts. Using high ball screens or isolating Jeremiah Robinson-Earl in order to exploit sophomore center Qudus Wahab may be more viable ways to initiate offense.
Villanova (3-1) has been great so far this season. This group is so talented and that has really shown through the four games they have played so far. The Wildcats might arguably have one if not the best backcourts in all of college basketball. The Wildcats have sophomore Justin Moore and senior Collin Gillespie manning those spots.
I believe the Wildcats have an even better frontcourt this season with sophomore Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and senior Jermaine Samuels. Robinson-Earl is averaging 16.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 forward is shooting 53.8 percent from the field this season. Aside from Robinson- Earl, coach Jay Wright has several options to go to contribute on both sides of the court which makes this team so good.
Bile: "I gotta bring energy, defense, scoring, blocking shots, offensive rebounding."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) December 10, 2020
The Villanova Wildcats, led by Jay Wright, are following their typical winning formula in possessing a backcourt that gives them a size advantage on the perimeter with Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore. The Wildcats are getting production from every position on the floor; they have four starters averaging double-figure points. The only thing that stands in Villanova’s way against Georgetown is complacency, which was on display in their loss to the non-ranked Virginia Tech earlier in the season...
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl deciding to come back for his sophomore season has been huge for the Villanova Wildcats. He is the clear offensive option for the Wildcats, leading the team in scoring with 16 points a game. The national player of the year contender will have a big matchup advantage in the forward position against the Hoyas.
Samuels and Robinson-Earl combined for 20 of the team’s 34 total rebounds Sunday. The Wildcats managed to outrebound Texas by one, 34-33, which was an impressive feat considering the size, length and athleticism of the Longhorns frontcourt. Villanova still gave up 32 points in the paint but held starting forwards Greg Brown and Jericho Sims to 14 combined points on 6-of-13 shooting.
Toughness in the trenches won this game for Villanova. Robinson-Earl noted that redshirt freshman Eric Dixon played an important role in the team’s preparation in practice over the past few days by emulating Texas’ size and physicality inside.
“Jermaine Samuels, a couple of his offensive rebounds were huge, but also him being able to battle in there (was big),” Wright said. “Jeremiah had Sims on him, he was a monster, so he cleaned it up for Jermaine a bit...”
Ewing on Villanova's defense: "They do switch a lot, 1 through 5, and we have to make them pay. It can't be just staring down the post on the inside, we have to move it."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) December 10, 2020
Villanova has started three guards, and all three guards — Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, and Caleb Daniels — have long ago proved to be upper-level college guards...
According to KenPom.com, Villanova is 350th in Division I in adjusted tempo. If you think you’re going to speed them up, think again. They’ve turned what could be a negative into a real positive.
Villanova guards play to their strengths, often working almost methodically into the lane, capable of getting to the hoop but quick with a pass if a defense collapses...
Wright praised the Swider-Brandon Slater combo often playing the three spot. As often as possible, the two were switched out for each other, to get Swider out there on the offensive end and Slater on defense.
Last season, KenPom had Georgetown ranked 125th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, and so far this season, they are ranked 88th. Again, small sample size, but an encouraging early sign for a team that will take improvement of any size on defense, in Year 4 under Patrick Ewing.
In an era where many of today's players are consumed with making themselves look good, he has embraced the team concept and winning and that's what he is hoping to bring to his next destination— Shawn Harmon (@Harmon64S) December 10, 2020