The No. 1 Villanova Wildcats (16-1, 4-1 Big East) will travel to Washington D.C. Wednesday night to face Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas. This will be the first time since the 1985 National Championship game that Ewing has faced off against his old Big East rival.
The Hoyas are 12-5 on the year and currently 2-4 in Big East play. They’re coming off a 74-61 road loss to Seton Hall and will be looking to rebound at home. That will still be a tough task as Georgetown hasn’t beaten a ranked team since this time last season.
Here are three things to watch for:
Georgetown’s Record Might Be Inflated
The Hoyas 12-5 record is decent enough that normally Georgetown would be gaining some bubble attention at this point in the season. Not all records are created equally, however. Much has been made of the Hoyas non-conference schedule, which according to Kenpom is 351st in the country, the nation’s worst. Ok, so it is inflated.
Georgetown went 10-1 in the non-conference, the lone loss coming in OT against Syracuse. Outside of that, there is not much else. The Hoyas made some waves when they pulled out of Nike’s PK80 early season tournament back in August. Doing so gave the Hoyas an insanely weak schedule, with their best non-conference win coming at home against North Texas, ranked 194th in Kenpom. Georgetown has grabbed two more impressive wins in Big East play, defeating DePaul and St. John’s on the road.
Most would agree 6’10” Junior center Jessie Govan is Georgetown’s leader. The New York native is averaging a double-double for the season, racking up 17.6 points per game to go with 11.4 rebounds a game. Govan has recorded a double-double in 11 of the Hoyas 17 games this season. Govan is obviously an inside threat, but he is also a career 42.5% shooter from behind the arc, on a decent sample size of 87 attempts.
The Wildcats have done a very good job of shutting down Govan the past two seasons, however. In two games last season, Govan scored only 11 points and grabbed just 10 rebounds. Govan’s freshman season was no different, as he scored only five points and grabbed 11 rebounds in three games against Villanova.
One of the main problems for the Hoyas this season has been their lack of ball security. Their 21.9% turnover percentage is 308th in the country, per kenpom. Of Villanova’s main seven, only freshman Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree has a turnover rate above 20 (24.7). For the Hoyas, however, four players have a turnover rate above 20; Jonathan Mulmore (29.1), Jamorko Pickett (28.8), Jagan Mosley (25.8), and Marcus Derrickson (21.5).
Villanova is a slightly above average team at forcing turnovers (115th in the country), but combined with Georgetown’s struggles to hold onto the ball against not-so-great teams, the ‘Cats can really take advantage of the Hoyas sloppy offense.