Game 18: Georgetown Hoyas (6-11, 0-6) at Butler Bulldogs (10-10, 3-6)
When: Saturday Noon
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN)
Series: Hoyas lead 10-9
Last meeting: Butler won the first meeting 72-58 just over two weeks ago in D.C.
TV: FS1 (Matt Schumacker & Dickey Simpkins)
Radio: 106.7 The Fan (Rich Chvotkin, 48th season), SiriusXM 383, Radio.com
NET Ranking: Butler 133, Georgetown 203
KenPom Ranking: Butler 128, Georgetown 167
KenPom Projection: Butler 73-67 (69 %)
Line: Butler -5.5, o/u 139.5
Well if you ever had to pick a road destination for the Hoyas to get right, Hinkle Fieldhouse would be the spot.
Georgetown is 6-2 against Butler at their historic venue. No one can really explain it so I won’t waste your time trying to do so here. I’ll just add that of Georgetown’s remaining seven away Big East games, KenPom gives the Hoyas their best odds at stealing one on the road in today’s matchup (31%).
Both Patrick Ewing and Collin Holloway were pretty loose about things on Friday which would seem like a good sign. That being said they are both well aware of the losing streak and understand the need for a win in order to shake up the narrative. Basically you can’t go on a winning streak until you get that first one. Today is another opportunity.
“Mainly just keeping the course,” Holloway said about his team’s goal during this slide. “Last year we started finished 3-8 and we ended up finishing up with a .500 record. We’ve been here before. We know what it takes, we just got to get the first one, that’s all.”
“Just like anything you do you have to believe,” Ewing said when asked how he keeps the confidence that his team can put together a full 40-minute performance.
“You have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in your team, you have to believe in your guys and then you have to go out there and do it. That’s all we’ve been talking about is them taking the reins, standing up and going out there and competing and getting the job done.”
Just for good measure, freshman center Ryan Mutombo chimed in Saturday morning with a similar message.
You HAVE to keep fighting. Trust in yourself before anybody else does.— Ryan Mutombo (@RyanMutombo) January 29, 2022
REMATCH, BUT DIFFERENT
Ewing pointed out that in the first meeting - a 72-58 loss - Georgetown was nowhere near full strength. Ewing wasn’t on the sidelines and the Hoyas were missing a few players - most notably starters Donald Carey and Dante Harris.
“We are going to be at full strength tomorrow,” Ewing said Friday.
“In that game I think two of our starters were out. Both Dante and Don were out. I think we’re definitely a better team when we are at full strength. You have to give them credit but we had an opportunity.”
GOTTA GO TO BO
Of course Georgetown isn’t the only team that is a bit different from the first meeting. Bo Hodges, an athletic fifth-year guard by way of East Tennessee State, has come to life the past two games -hitting for 17 in a close loss at Providence and then scoring 18 in one of Butler’s best wins of the season against Creighton on Wednesday.
Hodges made his season debut in DC against the Hoyas, scoring two points in 11 minutes.
Ewing knows he’s a big part of what LaVall Jordan and Bulldogs want to do.
“I think that was his first game back,” Ewing correctly said about when Hodges came back this season.
“He’s been able to practice, been able to get himself back into game shape and he’s playing at a high level for them. He’s their most athletic player. He’s a guy that you can’t take lightly. They’ve been playing extremely well especially these last two games and I think he’s an important part of that.”
RESISTABLE FORCE VS MOVABLE OBJECT
Georgetown has a big problem with team defense. It’s one of the worst in the country for a power program. On KenPom the Hoyas adjusted defense is 284, which is by far it’s worst ranking since the site started tracking such things in 1997. The only Power 6 conference unit worse than the Hoyas this season is our friend Tom Crean’s defense down at Georgia.
But, here’s the thing: Butler isn’t all that great offensively. The Bulldogs adjusted offense ranks in at 211.
So what’s going to give?
The Hoyas finished their really rough stretch of facing three ranked opponents in six days and it went just as expected - winless. This extended their overall losing streak to seven and it’s now up to six in Big East play. The 0-6 start in the conference is the Hoyas worst of all time and one more loss would equal the most consecutives regular season conference losses in one season at seven. (Georgetown lost 10 straight Big East regular season games between the end of 2016 -six- and the start of 2017 -four.)
Georgetown 77, Butler 72
If not today, then when?
Leave your witty (and non-witty) in-game comments here!