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GAME THREAD: BET QF (8) Georgetown vs (1) Villanova

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Hoyas face top seeded Wildcats in bid to get to first Semis since 2015

NCAA Basketball: Maryland - E. Shore at Georgetown Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Game 23: (8) Georgetown Hoyas (10-12) vs (1) Villanova Wildcats (16-5)

Where: Madison Square Garden

When: Thursday Noon

Series: Tied 44-44

BET History: Hoyas lead 5-1 but lost the last meeting in Georgetown’s most recent trip to the quarterfinals in 2016.

Last meeting: Georgetown was swept by Villanova this season, last losing on the road on Super Bowl Sunday.

TV: FS1 (Tim Brando & Jim Jackson)

Radio: The Team 980, Radio.com (Rich Chvotkin, 47th season)

KenPom Ranking: Villanova 10, Georgetown 81

KenPom Projection: Villanova 75, Georgetown 67 (78 percent)

Line: Villanova -9, 140 o/u

PREVIEW

First things first, congratulations to Patrick Ewing, Jahvon Blair, and Jamorko Pickett on earning their first BIG EAST Tournament victory on Wednesday over Marquette. Everyone wishes Jagan Mosely could have been apart of the streak snapping win it but the Hoyas fan favorite helped lay the foundation along with many others.

Now that Ewing and Co. got their first win, the perfect opportunity to really push the program forward lies ahead on Thursday as the Hoyas face top seeded Villanova. Jay Wright and the Wildcats have won three consecutive BIG EAST Championships and and four of the last five. Oh, and they’ve also won two of the last four National Championships. So, yeah. Quite the measuring stick as Ewing tries to lead Georgetown back up the BIG EAST ladder.

Even with star guard Collin Gillespie out and Justin Moore doubtful, a Georgetown victory could really change the perception and trajectory of the Hoyas program. The Hoyas have already made progress in exceeding preseason expectations and finishing just below .500 in the conference. Making the conference tournament semis for the first time since 2015 and slaying the Villanova Dragon in one 40-minute game on Thursday would be huge for a program that has been down for far too long.

Georgetown got defensive in the first round win vs Marquette but will likely need to be a bit more efficient shooting the ball against even an undermanned Wildcats team. The Hoyas survived off nights from Pickett, Dante Harris, and Chudier Bile offensively thanks to offensive rebounding, effort, and energy and defense.

UNDERDOGS UNITE

Even though Georgetown was technically chalk in their match-up against Marquette, they were underdogs in Vegas. In fact all three First Round games on Wednesday in the BIG EAST Tournament were upsets as DePaul and Butler also won. Butler’s win was probably bad for the conference as now it’s looking more and more like only three teams will get into the NCAA Tournament unless a team like Georgetown steals a bid by winning it all at MSG. Seton Hall or St. John’s could possibly get in as an at-large if either were to get to the Final on Saturday night.

KNOCKING OFF THE TOP SEED

Since the BIG EAST ditched it’s divisional format heading into the 2004 season and went back to a more traditional seeding system, the one seed has been bounced in the quarterfinals five times. It happened most recently in 2014 when 8 seeded Seton Hall got past No. 1 Villanova. Georgetown pulled off one of those upsets in defeating top seeded Syracuse in 2010, which was the last time the Hoyas advanced to the Championship Game. Going back before that the 2000 Hoyas also knocked of another No. 1 seeded Syracuse squad in 2000. Georgetown is 5-5 all-time against No. 1 seeds in this event.

SERIES SHIFTING?

Georgetown and Villanova enter today’s game tied up in the all-time series with 44 wins apiece. Villanova last led in the series at 7-6 after the 1976 season which was the last meeting between the now heated rivals before Villanova joined the BIG EAST in the second year of the conference. Georgetown swept the season series by winning both games in 1981 and has never looked back. The Hoyas biggest lead in the series came after a 67-46 home win in 2012 which pushed the Hoyas lead up to 42-28. Since then Wright and the Wildcats have won 16 of 18 games to get all the way back to even heading into today’s quarterfinal contest.

NOTES

Blair’s 20 points off the bench were the most by a Hoya in a BET game since at least 1983, which is as far back as the league provides online box scores. On Thursday Blair will attempt to become the fifth Hoya to post multiple double-figure games off the bench in the same BET for the Hoyas. The current club includes LJ Peak (2016), Lamont Morgan (1991), Mark Tillmon (1989) and Charles Smith (1987). Horace Broadnax has two double-figure out puts off the bench but they came in different seasons - 1983 & 1985.....Georgetown last won two consecutive games in any post season tournament - BET, NCAA, or NIT - back in 2010 when the Hoyas won three straight before falling in the conference Championship game to WVU...

Bobby’s Prediction

Hoyas 66, Villanova 64

After going four years without winning a conference tournament game, the Hoyas get two in as many days to advance to Friday night’s semis.

Leave your witty (and non-witty) in-game comments here!

HOYA SAXA!