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Can Villanova continue it's hot streak in South Philly with a win over Georgetown?

Villanova has lost as many "must win" games as they've won this season, but this time it might be different.


If Villanova wins tomorrow against #5 Georgetown, the Wildcats will be right in the mix to get an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. If they win, it would be the third such victory over a top-5 opponent in three tries at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. If they win, there is a chance that they could move into sixth place in the Big East conference and improve their seeding for the Big East tournament.

It would also probably impress Gavin Schilling, Villanova's top 2013 recruiting target, who will be in town for his visit during the game.

Knocking off the Hoyas won't be easy, however, and holding a number-5 ranking this late in the season is usually somewhat meaningful. Their team is driven by superstar Otto Porter, who averages 16.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block per game this season, connecting on an obscene 51% from the floor, 46.9% from deep and 77.3% from the charity stripe.

Georgetown collectively shoots 35.7% from deep with three players making more than one third of their attempts. In addition to Porter, Markel Starks has connected on 39.8% and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is 35.6% from beyond the arc.

That means that they have the personnel to exploit the gigantic, gaping hole in Villanova's perimeter defense. The 'Cats have often been caught helping on defense to try and stop a drive, while leaving good shooters wide open across the court.

If the Wildcats can force the Hoyas to miss, however, they will have a big advantage on the boards. Georgetown hasn't been a strong offensive rebounding team this season, while the 'Cats bigs have been clearing the boards on defense very well all season.

Villanova needs to push the pace of the game and drag the Hoyas into playing quicker than they are used to. That will get them out of their comfort zone and might generate quick, missed shots and turnovers. If the game is played at a slower pace, the 'Cats will have to work harder to move the ball on offense and will absolutely need to play smarter on defense to guard against both Porter and the Hoyas' other perimeter threats.

Forget about stopping Porter, few teams will this season, but slowing him is possible. It may be tough to cover him in man-to-man, but the 'Cats need to be careful going to help against Georgetown, whose multiple shooting threats could take advantage of that scheme. While Porter has been key for the Hoyas, Starks and Greg Whittington (who is academically ineligible) have also been big contributors this season, averaging 12.2 and 12.1 points, respectively.

For the Wildcats, the need to find some good defensive decision-making will be huge in this game. Offensively, if they can control the pace, they can score enough to stay in it, but if the game slows down, they will need to stay away from the type of ineffective offense that they have at-times relapsed into this season.