The Villanova Wildcats return to action on Tuesday night when they take on the Georgetown Hoyas for the first time this season. After taking down St. John’s, the ‘Cats are sitting at 22-2 overall, and 9-2 in the Big East. The Wildcats will be putting their perfect 12-0 home record on the line. Additionally, the game is at the Pavilion, where ‘Nova hasn’t lost since 2013.
The Hoyas are coming off a tough 68-66 OT loss at home to Seton Hall. The last time Georgetown beat Villanova was a 78-58 beat down at the Verizon Center back in 2015. Since then, the ‘Cats are 4-0 against the Hoyas, with three of them not being very close. Here are three things to watch for in Tuesday’s night match-up.
It’s been a roller coaster for the Hoyas
Georgetown came into this season with pretty high exceptions after a disappointing 15-18 campaign in 2015-16. But, it hasn’t exactly been the season they were hoping for in D.C. The Hoyas opened the season 1-2 after blowing a late lead against Maryland and losing at home to Arkansas St. They followed that up by upsetting a very good Oregon squad in Maui, but finished the tourney with loses to Wisconsin and Oklahoma St.
The Hoyas won six in a row following that, including a win at the Carrier Dome. However, they opened conference play with a 1-6 record, with their sole win coming at home against St. John’s. But they bounced back, taking down Creighton, Butler at Hinkle, and DePaul, before losing to Seton Hall on Saturday. Overall, it’s added up to a 13-11 record, including a 4-7 Big East record.
The Hoyas get to the line a lot
Per Kenpom.com, Georgetown is one of the best teams in the country at getting to the foul line. Their free throw rate (FTA/FGA) is 43.6, good for 16th in the nation. For comparison, Villanova’s free throw rate is only 33.7, 233rd in the country.
LJ Peak and Akoy Agau are especially good at getting to the line, with free throw rates of 55.3 and 86.9 respectively. Not only do they get to the line, but they make their free throws too. Peak is shooting 81.6% from the line, and Agau is shooting 86.8 from the stripe. As a team, they average 74.2% from the foul line, 65th in nation.
Pryor and Peak are their leaders
As 6’5” guards LJ Peak and Rodney Pryor go, Georgetown often goes. Both Pryor and Peak have played over 80% of the Hoyas minutes, while nine other guys hover at or below 50% of the teams minutes. Pryor is Georgetown’s leading scorer, averaging 18.2 points a game while shooting 42.6% from deep and grabbing 4.8 boards a game.
Peak is the only other Hoya averaging double digits, 16.3 to be exact. He is also adding in 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 steal a game. In most of Georgetown’s losses, both Pryor and Peak have below average days. If Pryor and Peak come to play Tuesday, the Hoyas are far from an easy out.