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#6 Villanova Wildcats (27-3) vs. Georgetown Hoyas (17-12)
When: Saturday, March 8, 2 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Coverage: Fox Sports 1
Result of Previous Meeting: Villanova won 65-60 at Georgetown on January 27
Key Players for Georgetown: #4 D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (6-3, 218) So., G; #5 Markel Starks (6-1, 175) Sr., G; #55 Jabril Trawick (6-5, 210) Jr., G
Scouting Report: There’s no better way to end the season than a rivalry game. The Georgetown Hoyas come to town after dismantling the Creighton Bluejays. After giving up a three pointer in the opening seconds of the game, the Hoyas were able to take the lead shortly after and hold onto it for the rest of the game. The leader of the game and for all of Georgetown’s season has been Markel Starks. Starks has been playing well lately, he had a double-double in the game against Creighton with 17 points and 11 assists. Before that, he had back-to-back 20+ point games. Starks can score from anywhere, he can pull up from the perimeter or drive his way inside. He is also comfortable with settling with a mid-range jumpshot. He is their top scorer, averaging 17 points per game. He is someone you do not want to foul as he takes a shot, he has sunk 85.3% of his free throw attempts. Over the last five games he has only missed two free throws (30 for 32). One of the guys he loves to look for on the court is D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Smith-Rivera is a step behind Starks in scoring, with 16.9 points per game. He has doubled his scoring output from his freshman year and has emerged into one of their most important players after a role off the bench last year. Smith-Rivera is like Starks in that he can score from anywhere. He has a tendency for attacking the basket by driving inside when he can, but if he has the opportunity to take the three, he will. He can be rather inconsistent from the perimeter, there are nights where he can go 6 for 7 from beyond the arc and then go 0 for 6 the night after. He has the best three point shooting percentage with 39.6%. Starks loves getting him involved and he capitalizes on the opportunities given to him. He is coming off of a double-double of his own, with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Jabril Trawick is back and should have a bigger role this time around. The first time these two teams met he was just coming back from a broken jaw and played limited minutes. He is a reliable option and can quietly contribute to the Hoya offense. He has chipped in 10+ points in seven of the last eight games. Other players to watch for are Mikael Hopkins and Nate Lubick. Hopkins has stepped up his play ever since he received a big increase in minutes since Josh Smith and other players got the boot from the team. Hopkins can put in a few points here and there but he is also a decent rebounder and defender. Hopkins is the second-highest rebounder on the team with 5.3 rebounds and is the best shot blocker they have. He is averaging 1.7 blocks per game. In the Creighton game, he had a whopping five blocks. Lubick is another big man in the paint that contributes size and tough defense inside. He has great experience in the Hoya frontcourt and has started games since his freshman year. He has a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game.
Outlook: It doesn’t matter what Georgetown’s record is, what matters is what happens tomorrow afternoon. This is a rivalry game, as every athlete who has ever played in a rivalry game knows, every game is special and anything can happen.. Everyone comes out fired up, the past is the past, and everyone gives it their all to settle it in the present. The last time these two teams met, the Hoyas were riding a four game losing streak but they did not play like a losing team on the court. They gave the Wildcats a run for their money, and ultimately fell in the end. Georgetown came out fired up in the previous game against Creighton, and they kept them in check. They played tough, hard-nosed defense and swarmed all over the ball. Doug McDermott and Ethan Wragge were held to a combined 5 for 17 from long range. The one and only Wragge three-pointer came at the very beginning, after that he faded into irrelevance. Expect the Hoyas to come back with that tough perimeter defense. They know we love the three ball, so JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu will have to step up in this one. They have to establish an interior threat and force the Hoyas to have to respect the post game. From there it will open up the perimeter, we have to be diverse and mix it up in our attack. We should be able to do so just fine, due to the fact that we have many different scoring weapons. We’re unselfish and it’s not a one man show, I do not believe that Georgetown will be able to keep up with everyone as long as each Wildcat does their job. Hoyas are looking for another big win to add to their resume, I think they get denied here but they may make it close.