Game 14: Georgetown Hoyas (5-8, 3-5) at No. 3 Villanova Wildcats (11-2, 6-1)
When: Today 2:30 PM
Where: Finneran Pavilion
Series: Hoyas lead 44-43
Last meeting: Villanova came back from an 18-point deficit to beat the Hoyas 76-63 back on Dec. 1. Jamorko Pickett had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds
TV: FS1 (Joe Davis & Jim Jackson)
Radio: The Team 980, SiriusXM 380, Radio.com (Rich Chvotkin, 47th season)
KenPom Ranking: Villanova 10, Georgetown 94
KenPom Projection: Villanova 77, Georgetown 63 (89 percent)
Line: Villanova -13.5, o/u 144
Crazy what a couple of wins will do for ya, huh?
Let’s be honest the course of the season for the Hoyas has already taken a pretty big turn for the good since the team hit the court after a 3-week break in games. Another win today against a team on track to earn a 1-seed in March and Georgetown fans will start to dream of their own Big Dance possibilities.
Look, knocking off No. 3 Villanova on the road – even without fans in the building - will be no small task. Neither will winning consecutive conference games on the road as 14-point underdogs.
There’s no getting around it: the recent rivalry between Georgetown and Villanova has been that of the hammer and the nail. After a really good stretch that saw the Hoyas take 8 of 9 games from Villanova between 2007 and 2012, the Wildcats have gone next level in series domination. Since March 2013, Villanova is 15-2 against Georgetown. There’s really no-good way to look at that except for hoping for a better future, which could start today.
So with all that history being said, this team is clicking under Chef Ewing, who decided to give us a tasty analogy on Friday. He’s finally figured out the right ingredients to use in his gumbo.
If mood counts for anything, Patrick Ewing was giving off the good vibes during his pre-game session with the media. He joked that with his son moving on to coach in Canada, he’d mainly just miss his grandkids.
When asked about Chudier Bile’s recent good play both offensively and defensively, Ewing quipped: “I’m like dude, where you been? This is what I’ve been waiting on.”
Ewing also informed us that he’d be rooting for Andy Reid and the Chiefs while getting to watch the first half on the bus ride home, hopefully after a win.
It’s likely that a loose coach will filter down to his players and that should be a good team.
So what needs to change in order for Georgetown to even the season series against Villanova?
Villanova is coming off a season-low 59 points in their first conference loss at St. John’s. Ewing admitted that he didn’t have the type of team to play pressure defense all game but he knows a defensive improvement is needed.
His main concern? Defending the 3-point line.
Villanova took 39 3s last game, eventually getting hot an ice cold start and making 15. Colin Gillespie was 5 for 7 and Caleb Daniels was 5 for 9 as Villanova outscored Georgetown by 24 from deep. That can’t happen again if Georgetown is to pull off a second consecutive stunner.
The Hoyas also need to do a good job on the boards with two of the league’s best rebounders in Pickett and Qudus Wahab. Getting second shots will be key.
BEST IN CLASS
According to Ewing, that honor belongs to Jahvon Blair right now.
“Right now he’s our best player. He’s not only shooting the ball...he also makes plays. The Creighton game was his best game defensively.”
Georgetown hasn’t won three straight conference games since the last week of January in 2017. Those Hoyas would only go one to win more game under JT3 and, well, you know the rest....Georgetown’s last win against a Top 3 team came in the quarterfinals of the 2010 BIG EAST Tournament against then-No. 3 Syracuse...Blair needs one more 3-pointer to tie Jason Clark for fifth all-time in school history with 183....Pickett could also move up the all-time list into ninth place with 2 makes from long distance....
COUNTDOWN TO 1,000
A little confusion here as there was a slight discrepancy between some stats but we’ve got it all figured out. Blair is up to 965 while Pickett is close on his heels with 961. We are nearing ‘any game territory’ with a huge scoring output from either senior. Ewing’s first two recruits are set to become the first classmates to become 1,000 point scorers since Georgetown greats Austin Freeman and Chris Wright accomplished the feat a decade ago.
Georgetown 84, No. 3 Villanova 83
This may be an over correction after I only picked the Hoyas to cover at Creighton but, you know what, Georgetown is eventually going to win again in this series on the road. Today feels like as good a day as any to get it.
Leave your witty (and non-witty) in-game comments here!
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