College Basketball Pick
It’s a new season of college basketball, but nothing has changed in the Big East. Villanova continues to run rampant through the Conference already boasting a 5-0 record, which includes some nice wins. They took down Xavier by 31 points at home and then got valuable road wins at Creighton and Butler. The problem of course, like every year for the Wildcats, is that they can’t bring that prowess to the national level.
Nova challenged themselves with Games against Oklahoma and Virginia, but couldn’t win either one of those away from home. That doesn’t matter at this point as they’ll try to win the Big East for the third straight year.
Georgetown has different ideas, at least that’s the plan. The Hoyas haven’t had the greatest season, opening with a loss to Radford and then back-to-back losses to Monmouth and UNC Asheville. On the other end of that, they beat Wisconsin and Syracuse and also took Maryland to the brink on the road. Georgetown is 4-1 in Conference play, but two of those wins came against Depaul and they lost by 13 at Creighton.
For the Hoyas to make the NCAA Tourney, they’ll need a big win somewhere on the Schedule. That could either be this Game or next week when they travel to Xavier. However, that’s going to require a huge effort, something they’ve struggled with throughout the year.
A lot of the same guys are still leading Villanova with Josh Hart and Ryan Arcidiacono at the top, but this year’s team has more depth than previous versions. The minutes that guys like Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges put in off the bench has been vital throughout the season. But still, this team will only go as far as Hart and Arcidiacono can take them. Those two combined for 33 of Nova’s 60 points in their big win at Butler last weekend. Even with a bad shooting Game from Arcidiacono (3-of-14), Hart put in 22 points and 11 boards.
That’s something Georgetown needs, a second scorer that can take over if the other main scorer is cold. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for the Hoyas as senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera is their only consistent threat. Smith-Rivera leads the team with 16.3 points per Game, but he also only shoots 42.8% from the field and just 33.9% from three. If he’s having a bad night, Georgetown is having a bad night. In the losses against Monmouth and UNC Asheville, Smith-Rivera was a combined 8-for-28 for 25 points.
Georgetown has depth as well, but that doesn’t mean they have the same kind of scorers. LJ Peak is the team’s third-highest scorer at 10.3 points per Game and he comes off the bench and averages 24.5 minutes.
Sure, the Hoyas should be able to keep this Game close and give the Wildcats some fight, but can they finish it? That’ll require a big defensive effort against a deep team with multiple scorers and someone other than Smith-Rivera getting buckets for the Hoyas.
If Georgetown were to make the NCAA Tourney, this would be one of the Games that put them over the top. Villanova won’t go down easy, though, that’s for sure.
Villanova 81 Georgetown 63