Skidding Hoyas enter old school clash with Villanova

Skidding Hoyas enter old school clash with Villanova
January 27, 2014, 8:00 am
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Matchup: Georgetown (11-8, 3-5 Big East) vs. Villanova (17-2, 6-1)

When: Monday, 9:00 p.m.

Where: Verizon Center

Broadcast: TV - FS1, Radio - 980 AM.

Last time out: The Hoyas limited two-time All American Doug McDermott to 14 points, 10 below his average. Limiting the rest of Creighton's weapons proved challenging as Georgetown fell on the road 76-63 for its fourth straight loss.

History: Perhaps past success against the Wildcats will help the Hoyas snap out of their current slide. Georgetown leads the all-time series against its longtime conference rival 42-29, having won eight of the last 10 and three of four overall plus three straight at the Verizon Center.

KenPom: Georgetown 66, Villanova 14

RPI: Georgetown 72, Villanova 4

Coaches: Georgetown - John Thompson III; Villanova - Jay Wright

Leaders: Hoyas - Scoring (D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, 17.5), Rebounding (Mikael Hopkins, 5.9), Assists (Markel Starks, 3.9); Wildcats - Scoring (JayVaughn Pinkston, 15.2), Rebounding (Daniel Ocehfu, 6.0), Assists (Ryan Arcidiacono, 3.5)

Challenging schedule: Starting with Creighton this past Saturday, Georgetown will have three games over eight days and all against opponents in the RPI top-10. The Hoyas face Michigan State (8) at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Hope or fool's gold: Opponents are sinking a healthy 35.6 percent of their 3-point attempts versus the Wildcats, which is where Smith-Rivera, Starks and Reggie Cameron often operate. Of course that stat is skewed some because Creighton made a staggering 21 of 35 against them last Monday. In its last three non-Creighton games, Villanova held foes to 22.2 percent (8 of 26) from beyond the arc.

Smith-Rivera leads the Hoyas with a 45.4 clip (44 of 97) on his 3-point attempts. The sophomore made two 3's against Creighton as did Starks and Cameron as the Hoyas finished 6 of 20.

Milestone: Starks needs 16 points to reach 1,000 for his career. The senior guard would be become the 44th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point club.

Villanova: Picked fourth in the Big East preseason poll, the Wildcats rose to No. 4 in the national polls before losing to Creighton last Monday. They rebounded for an overtime win over Marquette on Saturday behind 30 points from senior guard James Bell, one of four double-digit scorers.

Josh Hart (Sidwell Friends) isn't quite averaging 10 points, but the freshman guard is certainly in the hunt for the conference's Rookie of the Year honors. The Silver Spring native scores 9.3 points per game on a staggering 55.9 percent shooting from the field. Hart's range extends beyond the arc where he makes 42 percent of 3-point tries.

Rotation: Without center Joshua Smith (academics) and guard Jabril Trawick (broken jaw), coach John Thompson III has gone deeper into his bench. With the current losing streak, he's continued searching for the right mix of players.

Senior Aaron Bowen played a career-high 31 minutes against Creighton as Thompson stuck with a seven-man rotation. That came one game after the 6-foot-6 swingman received 13 versus Marquette, his fewest in 11 contests. Though not a true scoring threat, Bowen's activity create opportunities, which is not something many of Georgetown's true interior options can say. 

Meanwhile John Caprio went from a career-high 22 minutes against Marquette to just two versus Creighton. The oddity is that Thompson praised Caprio's defense against the Golden Eagles and yet didn't use him against the Big East's top scoring team. Perhaps the thought was going with as much scoring pop as possible. Then again Georgetown's bench was outscored 25-2 against the Bluejays.