Pick with Analysis
Neither one of these teams has been in the national conversation much this season despite their rankings. It was the same situation last year when no one gave Villanova any respect and they lived up to the billing losing in the Round of 32 as the No. 2 seed. Will this year be any different for the Big East’s elite?
Georgetown has quietly become a factor after starting the year with a 5-3 record. Plus, those three losses were against all teams currently ranked, two in the Top 10. The Hoyes have put together a nice stretch with five wins in their last six Games, but were swept by Xavier, a team that strangely had their number.
Villanova is looking for some revenge after losing by 20 points in this previous meeting a couple weeks ago. It was not their night as Georgetown dominated in every facet of the Game. That was just the second loss of the season for the Wildcats and they’ve handled every other team in the Conference outside of an OT loss at Seton Hall at the beginning of January. With road Games at Providence and Butler coming up, Nova really need to get a win here if they want to win the Conference again.
The Wildcats have the outright Conference lead, but their upcoming Schedule could mean trouble and they aren’t that far ahead of the other teams.
Villanova will need a lot more from their starters in this Game compared to the last meeting when only Ryan Arcidiacono reached double figures. In addition, they only had 19 rebounds as a team with none of the starters surpassing Four. against a team that isn’t known for its rebounding, that’s not a good stat.
Georgetown had a good defensive strategy in that first Game, but can they do that again on the road? Because it’s unlikely they’ll shoot 51.1% from the field or that Isaac Copeland and Paul White combine for 26 points again off the bench. Even if those things don’t happen, this still isn’t a free win for Nova and the Game probably won’t be called the same way as the last one with 51 fouls.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera has been on a tear lately and he wasn’t all that great in the first meeting, shooting 3-of-10 from the floor. His play alone should keep Georgetown around. The difference could be what big man Joshua Smith can do for the Hoyas. His play wasn’t a huge factor, but he did get Daniel Ochefu in foul trouble and allowed him to play only 20 minutes.
Villanova’s strength is moving the ball around with a number of players able to put the ball in the bucket. Darrun Hilliard leads the team with 13.3 points per Game, but they also have five players that average between 9.6 and 9.9 ppg. That’s a solid rate for this squad and a reason most teams have trouble defending them. Georgetown has size, but they also have the athleticism in Smith-Rivera, Jabril Trawick and Mikael Hopkins to deal with Nova.
The Hoyas won by 20 in the first Game, never looking back after a 17-0 run in the first half. Things should be different this time around, but this is the type of Game Villanova needs to win convincingly for the rest of the nation to start taking them seriously. Even with the No. 7 ranking, no one would favor the Wildcats over a team like Kansas or Louisville.
Our Prediction – Villanova by 3