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College Basketball Pick
For these two teams, the final week of the regular season is probably a little more important than the actual tournament in the Big East. In recent years, we've seen teams win five or six straight games to grab the championship, but that's not a regular occurrence and it's not likely Villanova will be able to do that this year. Teams need to make their mark in the regular season and use the tournament as a safety valve.
For example, if Georgetown wins out in the regular season, they probably won't need a Big East Tourney Championship under their belt to claim a No. 1 seed. It'll be locked up this next week if they can win at Villanova and against Syracuse. Sure, a championship would be nice in the tourney, but it wouldn't be needed.
As for Villanova, if they can beat a potential No. 1 seed Georgetown squad, it will likely bump them into the Big Dance. They are currently sitting on the bubble with two straight losses, the last being an unfortunate overtime game at Pittsburgh. If they can't beat the Hoyas, they'll have to do some work in the conference tourney (which is never easy) to prove their worth.
So if someone tells you games aren't that big of a deal this week because conference tourneys are bigger, you should ignore them. Obviously, the tourneys are important, they just aren't the be-all, end-all to securing your spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hoyas are on an unbelievable run in Big East play at the moment, winning 11 straight games. That includes road wins at Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Connecticut. Even though they have some weird losses this year (at South Florida), Georgetown is primed for a 1-seed with their current run.
The Wildcats looked to be a definite tourney team until their most recent losses. The Pittsburgh one can be excused, but not against Seton Hall when you need a win. Even so, Nova may actually have the edge in this game at home. They have already beaten the likes of Louisville, Syracuse and Marquette at home this year. This will be their first matchup of the season and it happens to be Nova's last game of the year. It's pretty important.
Otto Porter Jr. is the player to watch out for as he already has the Big East Player of the Year locked up and it wouldn't be a surprise for him to grab the National Player award. Porter has been on a tear since Greg Whittington's eligibility issues. In his last three games, Porter is averaging 27.5 points, seven boards and almost three steals per game. He even had three blocks against Rutgers in their last game. The kid is doing it all and is a pain for opponents with his 6-8 lanky frame. He has a viable supporting cast that doesn't come through unless needed. Markel Starks is their next best scorer and can hit the three-ball, while D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is a nice change-of-pace guard that can come off the bench and put in good minutes. Combine that with Georgetown's suffering defense and you can see how they've won 11 straight.
The Wildcats know they have to win this game and if they do, they will need to hit their three-pointers. In their big wins over the Orange and the Cardinals, Nova hit 16 combined three-balls. In their loss at Seton Hall, they went 4-for-18 from behind the arc. Villanova is playing much better than they were earlier in the season and that's because of their offense. Slasher JayVaughn Pinkston and shooter Ryan Arcidiacono have been a solid duo all season, but it's been the others that have stepped up even more. Darrun Hilliard is a matchup problem at the guard position with his height and Mouphtaou Yarou has started to realize his potential as a big man. In Big East play, Yarou has seven double-doubles after not getting any in non-conference play.
Both teams would like a win here, but this game may be more important to Villanova in the end. Still, that doesn't mean they will have an easy time breaking the Hoyas 11-game winning streak.
Predicted Score - Georgetown 62 Villanova 53
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