College Basketball Preview: #17 Villanova (20-6) at Georgetown (15-10)
When the Hoyas host the Wildcats at Capital One arena on Wednesday night, they will do so knowing that they absolutely have to pull out a victory in order to keep their already minuscule chances of making the NCAA tournament alive. In a year in which the “bubble” in the NCAA is historically weak, the Hoyas saw their chances go from “hope” to “help” by laying two eggs in their last two games versus Butler and Seton Hall. Villanova enters the game after being upset at St. Johns in their last game, blowing a fourteen point lead with 12:30 left to play in the game. Despite their collapse on Sunday evening, the Wildcats are likely to be heavy favorites in the game.
When the two teams met two weeks ago, Georgetown kept it close and looked to pull the upset. Despite only 13 minutes and zero points by star Senior, Jessie Govan, the Hoyas led by one at the half and were tied with ‘Nova with six and a half to go. The Hoyas, with Govan in foul trouble and exciting Freshman Mac McClung riding the becnh (twenty-two minutes total), faded down the stretch and the ‘Cats came away with a 77-65 victory. What do the Hoyas need to do to change the outcome on Wednesday night?
- Tough defense inside. When the teams last met, Villanova missed only four shots inside of ten feet. Blocking and altering shots down low will be a big key for Georgetown in this game, and that may be tough to do as they try to keep Govan out of foul trouble.
- Keep Govan out of foul trouble. Govan averages 31 minutes and 18 points a game. That is a far cry from the 13 and 0 he put up in the last game. Jessie shoots 50% from the field on the season, but was 0-9 in that game. They need a big game from the Senior to pull off the upset.
- Set the pace. The Hoyas rank 75th in the nation in Offensive efficiency. Meanwhile, Villanova ranks 112th in Defensive efficiency. They Hoyas can score with an upbeat pace and points off of transition.
- Guard the three. The Hoyas have a tough time defending the three. Georgetown ranks a pitiful 291st in opponents points off of three pointers. Villanova, on the other hand, ranks 6th in the country in points off of three pointers. If the Hoyas allow the open three, like they are prone to do, this could be a long night for the men in gray.
An upset, while unlikely, is certainly possible. Villanova is stumbling after a tough loss on Sunday and the Hoyas are fighting for their postseason lives (NCAA or NIT). Even so, Nova’s threes will be too much. My prediction is 80-73 ‘Nova.