Georgetown joined the ranks of Big East teams not below .500 on Thursday after beating Xavier, but it’ll likely be short-lived with trips to Villanova and Providence next on the Schedule. Villanova has run through the Conference with an 8-0 record, disposing of teams almost too easily, winning its last five by at least eight points.
Because of that, it’ll be tough to pick the Hoyas in this Game even though they’ve had some decent road results, already beating Butler and St. John’s. Villanova is a different animal and none of the numbers point to an upset. Georgetown likes to play fast, but that could backfire against the most efficient offense in the conference. The Wildcats shoot well from everywhere on the cOurt, but also don’t turn the ball over. The Hoyas could stay competitive if their second-ranked offense shows up, but they’ve lost three Big East Games at home because they’ve lacked consistency.
Georgetown will also have to find a way to compete without James Akinjo (13.9 ppg, 5.3 apg) as Phil Booth has continually locked down opposing point guards. Akinjo has had some big Games, but GT usually plays well when big man Jessie Govan (19.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) is on his Game. He’ll have a size advantage and he may be better off attacking in the paint than behind the perimeter. While he’s shooting 45.9% from deep, Villanova has a team that can guard the three with Saddiq Bey, Eric Paschall and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, but maybe not someone like Govan in the post. If the Hoyas run their offense around that, they could be in business with Akinjo, MAC McClung and Greg Malinowski shooting threes. McClung hasn’t been efficient, but he’ll continue shooting and he’s often been better than his 13.8 ppg with at least 16 points in Four of his last six starts. It’d also help if Josh LeBlanc (9.8 ppg) put in another good outing as he has 32 points in the last two Games.
The problem for Georgetown is that its defense doesn’t rank well and Villanova could easily Score90 points if this Game is as fast-paced as most GT Games. Phil Booth (18.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.1 apg) is one of the most efficient players in the Conference and he always gets his buckets. It’s hard to see guys like Akinjo and McClung having enough to limit him. As for second-leading scorer Eric Paschall (17.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg), GT will likely throw a combo of LeBlanc and Kaleb Johnson on him. The best route to beating Villanova is usually by limiting Paschall and that’s why they haven’t lost in Conference play as Paschall has at least 17 points in nine of the last 10 Games. Otherwise, someone else always seems to step up for the Wildcats, whether that’s shooting guard Collin Gillespie, or Saddiq Bey who scored 16 points last Game.
Given Georgetown’s lack of defense and the way Villanova is playing, it’ll be hard to back the road team in this Game. Govan could be a matchup problem, but one has to think Jay Wright will be ready to stop him. In fact, the Wildcats won both matchups by at least 24 points last year and the second one was with Govan scoring 30 points. Clearly, that’s a problem for the Hoyas.
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