Avoiding the Upset – Providence Georgetown Game Preview

It has been a long week since the Friars lost a heartbreaker to Xavier on the road. With 7 days off, the #20 Friars take on the 6-18 Georgetown Hoyas at the AMP. The Hoyas had an upset bid of their own brewing this past weekend against KenPom’s favorites, the Connecticut Huskies, but ultimately fell short in the waning minutes due to a lack of execution.

We discuss what the Friars need to do to “protect the crib” and get a home victory. With the race to the top of the Big East so tight, all home games are essentially must wins in conference, especially when playing a team like Georgetown.

Georgetown Team Preview

6-18, 1-12 in Conference

Primo Spears – 16 points/game (4th in Big East), 5 assists (2nd in Big East), 3 turnovers

Brandon Murray – 15 points, 3 turnovers

Jay Heath – 13 points, 41% from 3

Qudus Wahab – 10 points, 7 rebounds

Akok Aok – 7 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks (2nd in Big East)

Points/Game71.1 (8th)78.6 (4th)
Rebounds/Game36.3 (7th)39.7 (1st)
Free Throw % 69.7 (9th)74.0 (5th)
3 Point FG %31.6 (Last)34.4 (7th)
Assists/Game11.7 (10th)14.7 (6th)
Assist/TO Ratio0.96 (10th)1.15 (5th)

Keys to Victory

Don’t Overlook the Hoyas – Bill Parcells famously said, “You are what your record says you are”. While there is absolute truth to that, I don’t look at this same Georgetown team in the same light as a Butler. Even in their close losses, which you can chalk up to selfish play, lack of execution, or coaching, they have come awfully close to beating quality Big East programs. Of recent, they lost to Connecticut by 6, but had the lead late in the game. They lost to Creighton by 10, St. John’s by 2, Nova by 4, Xavier by 13, etc.

This team doesn’t lack talent. They just look cohesion and unity. When I watch them play, it seems like it is 5 individual players who happen to be wearing the same color jersey. If Georgetown and the players ever “bought in”, I genuinely feel they have the talent to be competitive in the Big East. Unfortunately, that just hasn’t happened, nor has it ever happened in the Ewing era besides that one magical Big East Tournament weekend.

If Providence can play fundamental basketball and avoid picking up the sloppy tendencies of their opponent, they should win comfortably at home. It will be a test to see if Providence plays down to their opponent or comes in understanding that anything other than a win is not acceptable.

Sound Defense = Turnovers a Plenty – Both Primo Spears and Brandon Murray are high caliber Big East guards. That goes without question. They’d be the #1 or #2 scoring option on most Big East teams. The problem, as I alluded to above, is that they are out to get theirs often, and that leads to careless turnovers. Georgetown honestly had a chance to beat Connecticut this past weekend, but Brandon Murray had turnover after turnover that was completely self-inflicted (SEVEN turnovers). It was painful to watch and shows a guy who truly doesn’t trust his teammates.

If you can have Breed/Floyd/Carter on Spears and Murray, they are going to do enough to frustrate Spears and Murray and cause them to turn the rock over.

The only way Georgetown comes out of this game with a victory is by taking exemplary care of the basketball. They haven’t shown the ability to do that yet this season.

Bynum – Starting or Sitting – It’s imperative Bynum continues his upward trend of play that he has shown over the last two games. While the stat sheet doesn’t pop off the page for Bynum against Xavier (11 points on 3-12 shooting), he had 6 assists, only 2 turnovers, and 5 boards. He gets this offense going in a way no other Pc guard can. It’s important Bynum starts hot early and plays a complete game.

I’m fine with him coming off the bench for continuity, but I’d like to see him in the game by the 16 minute timeout at the latest. These are the type of games where you bury the opposition early and don’t give them the thought of clinching an upset. Georgetown players are going through the motions and won’t put up a big fight if PC jumps out to an early lead.

Hopkins: Inside Out – I’d like to see Cooley design a few post plays for Hopkins early to get him in rhythm. There have been too many times this year where Hopkins settles for the 3 ball and mid-range early in the game before getting settled and scoring at the rim. If he can see a few easy looks go in early, he’s going to have a massive night. I look at it as, using a football analogy, getting the run game going early to set up the pass. Hopkins scoring early will allow him to get the confidence to bury a few shots from the perimeter.


BOC: As I said above, this Georgetown team isn’t as bad as their record indicates. They do have quality talent on this roster. On any given night, they can get hot. Unfortunately for them, I think the Friars are continuing to improve, and Cooley won’t allow a slip-up at home. Friars 81, Hoyas 71.

Crier: Thankfully, DePaul has done the league a service by volunteering as tribute and losing to the Hoyas. If the Hoyas were winless with all these close(ish) games I’d be a little more worried. It will be interesting to see how the Friars start in this one after a week off. Even if they get out to a sluggish start the Friars will get a W tonight. Friars 84 Hoyas 67

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