Matchup: Georgetown (7-3; Big East) vs. Florida International (8-5, Conference USA),
When: Saturday, 12:00 p.m.
Where: Washington, D.C, Verizon Center
Broadcast: TV - FS1; Radio - 980 AM.
Last time out: The Hoyas lost 86-64 at No. 18 Kansas on Dec. 21
History: Georgetown leads 3-0. Last meeting, 2008-09 season.
KenPom: Georgetown 32, FIU 214
Coaches: Georgetown - John Thompson III; Florida International - Anthony Evans
Leaders: Scoring (D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, 16.4), Rebounding (Nate Lubick, 6.2), Assists (Markel Starks, 4.5)
Fixer Upper: Overreaction to any one loss is rarely wise. Neither is pretending there is nothing worth fixing. The Hoyas entered Kansas on a six-game winning streak so clearly goodness exists. Yet enough uncertainty crept in during the recent four-game homestand that certain elements in last week's sound road defeat shouldn't have been terribly shocking.
No doubt coach John Thompson has spent time in the basketball lab working on basketball tweaks and fixes for the offensive and defensive woes that showed in the loss to Kansas. Earlier this week I put together a Christmas wish list for the Hoyas. Something tells me Thompson won't consult with my take, but all observers surely recognize the need for additional scoring threats to emerge beyond Smith-Rivera, Starks and Joshua Smith.
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Mikael Hopkins leads all reserves and ranks fourth overall with 7.2 points. Swingman Aaron Bowen scored a season-high nine points against Kansas and has made 7 of 12 shots field goal attempts over the last two games. Yet both are more energy players than scoring threats. Freshman Reggie Cameron can put up points from outside, but he must prove worthy of minutes. Cameron received only 13 minutes during Georgetown's last three games, scoring one point while missing all five of his field goal attempts.
What shooting slump: Over the opening eight games, Starks was shooting a dismal 25 percent (11 of 44) on 3-point attempts after sinking 42 percent of his tries last season. The senior guard has found his perimeter touch since, making 6 of 10 from beyond the arc combined against Elon and Kansas. Meanwhile, Starks isn't missing many at the free throw line, shooting 90 percent (43 of 48) after finishing with a 73 percent clip last season.
FIU: Hardly the biggest team, but the Golden Panthers attack the glass. Led by forwards Tymell Murphy (16.2 ppg, 8.1 rbg) and Rakeem Buckles (14.5, 10.4), FIU ranks 23rd nationally in rebounding margin (+7.8) and averages 13.5 offensive rebounds per game. Georgetown (+1.3 rebounding margin) lost the battle of the boards against Kansas, but also undersized Elon.
Struggles for FIU exist shooting from beyond the arc and maintaining possession. The Golden Panthers are sinking only 32 percent of their 3-point attempts and face a Georgetown defense that ranks 23rd nationally in 3-point defense. FIU is committing 15 turnovers per game.
Last dance?: Not its final non-conference game of the season, but the FIU matchup is all that stands between Georgetown and the start of Big East action. The Hoyas host conference foe DePaul on New Year's Eve. Georgetown wraps up non-conference action Super Bowl weekend against Michigan State at Madison Square Garden.