After a season long three-game road trip the Providence Friars (15-8, 6-4) return home to the Dunk to take on the Georgetown Hoyas for the first time this season. Georgetown (13-9, 3-8) is in their first season under new coach and former Hoya great Patrick Ewing. They are led in scoring and rebounding by junior big man Jessie Govan (16.5 ppg 10.2 rpg). For the Friars the next two home games against Georgetown and DePaul represent an opportunity to pad their win total, however it also means that the Friars have to take care of business. While the Hoyas played a cupcake nonconference and their record has since adjusted to show this, they have been in several games this year and are a dangerous team. Here’s my keys to the game.
Crier’s Keys to the Game
Friars’ Advantage in the Backcourt
If you remember last week the Crier stated the matchup between Cartwright and Carrington would help decide the winner and that Cartwright had the upper hand over Carrington. While I was right about it being a difference in the game the prediction blew up in my face as Carrington dominated and Cartwright probably had his worst game of the season. Well tonight I can say with confidence that the Friars will have the advantage in the backcourt versus the Hoyas. Backcourt play has haunted the Hoyas in the past couple of seasons and this one is no different. Jahvon Blair, Jagan Mosley and Jonathon Mulmore are the three guards used in Ewing’s rotation and all three average below 10 ppg and none of them average more than 3.5 apg. Georgetown hasn’t had a guard that scores and facilitates for teammates effectively since Markel Starks during the 2013-2014 season. With Cartwright, White, Ashton-Langford and guard/forward hybrid Alpha Diallo the Friars should have no issues tonight getting good performances out of their guards, which will be important considering Georgetown has the advantage down low.
Turn the Hoyas Over
In the game against Marquette the Friars did a great job of turning the Golden Eagles over and converting it to points on the other end. PC forced 14 turnovers against Marquette and were able to get out and attack in transition, which led to a giant discrepancy in free throw attempts between the teams. Tonight’s game against Georgetown represents another situation where the Friars can feast off of the opposition’s lack of ball security. Turnovers have plagued the Hoyas all season long as they commit 16 turnovers per game, which ranks 336nd in the country. Look for the Friars wanting to at least force Georgetown to match Marquette’s 14 turnovers in this game tonight.
Don’t Get Crushed on the Glass
When Georgetown announced they were going to hire Patrick Ewing as their next head coach I felt he could immediately help with the big men and it has shown to be true this season. Jessie Govan and Marcus Dickerson have really flourished under Ewing and either of them could be a great candidate for Big East Most Improved Player. The Hoyas are improved in rebounding this season ranking 24th in the nation with 39.7 rebounds per game, which is an improvement as they ranked tied for 183rd in this department last season. Georgetown also ranks 27th in the country in rebounding margin this season. It will be important for Friars to keep the rebounding margin close to the Hoyas. The Friars aren’t a great rebounding team so they probably wont win the battle against Georgetown but as long as they don’t get destroyed on the glass the Friars should be in good shape to win.
About a month ago one of the best sights of the college basketball season occurred when Patrick Ewing and Georgetown faced off against Christ Mullin and St. Johns in Madison Square Garden. While I wasn’t around for their epic battles playing against each other during the 80s you still couldn’t help but feel nostalgic seeing both guys going against each other as coaches. For Coach Ed Cooley and the Friars they are quite content not rekindling the past when the Hoyas used to dominate the Friars. These days the Friars are owning the Hoyas to the tune of beating them six straight times and seven of the last eight meetings. While I do believe this Hoya team does present problems for the Friars, I expect the trend to continue with another Friars victory. PC has too much at stake to lose at home to Georgetown and the Hoyas are a turnover prone team that has to play in a rowdy late night Dunk crowd. Suffice to say this this a combination that wont play well for the Hoyas and while I could see Friars blowing them out their rebounding edge will keep this one competitive.
Friars 81 Hoyas 73