Game 32: No. 8 seed Georgetown Hoyas (15-16) vs No. 9 seed St. John’s Red Storm
When: Wednesday 7 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden
Series: St. John’s leads 59-56, Hoyas lead 5-3 in the BET
Last Meeting: Hoyas swept the season series
TV: FS1 (Tim Brando & Bill Raftery)
Radio: The Team 980 (Rich Chvotkin)
NET Rankings: Georgetown 62, St. John’s 68
KenPom Rankings: Georgetown 63, St. John’s 71
KenPom Score Prediction: St. John’s 79, Georgetown 76 (60 percent)
Line: n/a at posting
Well, this is it.
The most unusual season of Georgetown basketball is down to 40 minutes as the Hoyas take on St. John’s in the first game of the 2020 BIG EAST Tournament.
The transfers, the injuries, the heartbreaking undermanned losses, it’s all been there for coach Patrick Ewing during his third campaign. If the season is to continue past Wednesday the Hoyas need to defeat the Johnnies for the third time this year and even that won’t guarantee. But hey, you have to start somewhere.
If this match-up seems familiar, well, it’s because it is.
This will be the third time in four years that the 8/9 game has been Hoyas – Red Storm. St. John’s has won the first two including in Ewing’s first season when Georgetown had also swept the regular season series.
If it’s possible for a 5-13 team to come into the tournament hot, St. John’s fits the bill.
The Johnnies picked up their best win of the season on March 1st in a rout of eventual top seed Creighton. Last weekend they took down Markus Howard and Marquette.
Coming in pretty cold, Georgetown has lost six straight after that stunning victory at Butler at the end of January. The big question, as always, is will Omer Yurtseven or Mac McClung play? The Hoyas are 1-5 when neither suit up so it’s a rather important issue.
Without any actual knowledge, it seems extremely unlikely that either will see action this week. The two have been listed as day-to-day for over a month with each giving it a go once. McClung is back in a walking boot while Ewing was at one point saying that Yurtseven was choosing not to play. Ewing has since changed his language on that but Yurtseven’s inactivity hasn’t.
With Yurtseven, Georgetown came back from 17 down to beat St. John’s on Super Bowl Sunday.
If Yurtseven plays at MSG this week, Hoya fans might have dreams of advancing to Friday night for the first time since 2015 thanks to the injury at Creighton.
As it stands now, the best bet is that the Hoyas get a near perfect performance from their starting five of Jagan Mosely, Terrell Allen, Jahvon Blair, Jamorko Pickett, and Qudus Wahab. It would also be nice to have meaningful minutes from Tim Ighoefe as well as George Muresan and Jaden Robinson in cameo spots.
If you want to go glass half full, I’ll take you there.
Pickett is coming off probably his best game of the season and his 3-point shot has been better recently with less arc. Mosely, who earlier this week became the second Hoya to win the league’s Sportsmanship Award, will be as locked in as ever as it could be his final game.
With the way the games against Xavier and Villanova went down the stretch, it really seems like the Hoyas are due. We’ll find out by about 915 PM or so Wednesday night.
Georgetown has lost their last four Big East tournament games and have gone one and done in their last trips to the best college basketball conference tournament of them all.
Before this current losing streak, Georgetown had never dropped their opening game in consecutive Big East Tournaments.
Also, Georgetown last won multiple games at a BET in 2010 which just seems unbelievable.
NEARING A MILESTONE
Terrell Allen needs 15 points to get to 1,000 for his career. Allen has scored more points this season than either of his two at Central Florida but needs another 21 to surpass his freshman total at Drexel in 2015-16.
The grad transfer has scored 15 or more six times this season with a high of 22 in that big win at Hinkle.
PREDICTION: Georgetown 68, St. John’s 67 – Ewing gets his first conference tournament win as a coach as the Hoyas advance to see another day.