After a rough week for the Villanova Wildcats, they look to bounce back Wednesday night against the 5-10, last place, Georgetown Hoyas. Villanova is coming off a hard-fought loss at then-ranked No. 2 Connecticut Huskies and a disappointing collapse at home against the Marquette Golden Eagles.
After Georgetown’s miraculous four-day run to win the 2021 Big East Tournament, the Hoyas have lost 23 straight conference games. The Hoyas finished last year with an impressively imperfect record of 0-19 in Big East play. They went through the entire 2022 calendar year without a conference win.
Georgetown enters this week’s matchup 0-4 in Big East play with their last two losses coming against DePaul and Butler who are both 1-3 in Big East play -- their only wins coming against Georgetown.
Villanova looks to end their two-game losing streak as they travel to the nation’s capital in hopes of handing the Hoyas their 24th straight conference loss Wednesday night. Ahead of the matchup, let’s highlight a few things to watch out for:
Villanova Has a Glaring Weaknesses and a One-Dimensional Offense
Unlike the Villanova teams from a few years ago, this year’s team can not win conference games if they do not play their absolute best. Aside from Justin Moore's absence during his recovery, this year’s team has two glaring weaknesses and Big East opponents are beginning to notice.
After Villanova went up 36-33 at UConn, Dan Hurley called for a full-court press which took the Wildcats out of rhythm. The ‘Cats lack a trusted ball-handler with Justin Moore recovering from a torn achilles suffered in last year’s Elite Eight win against Houston. Villanova’s offense ranks 276 out of a possible 352 teams in total assists this season.
Without star guard Justin Moore, Villanova’s offense doesn't have much creativity and has been heavily-reliant on their post-up game. Throughout the entire game against Marquette, the Golden Eagles double-teamed Villanova’s post-up attempts on the first dribble. This smart coaching decision by Shaka Smart caused the Wildcats to have a tough time scoring all day.
The offense was completely stagnant for most of the game but luckily the Wildcats were hitting threes early. Villanova had a seven-point lead with 16:15 left in the second half but Marquette finished the game on a 22-13 run. The Wildcats scored only three points in the final 5:30 of the game with the ball rarely touching anywhere inside the three-point line.
Georgetown’s Roster Overhaul Has Not Been as Successful as Planned
Georgetown returned only four players from last season’s roster at the start of the season. Two months into the season, the Hoyas are left with only three returning players from last season with standout guard Dante Harris transferring to Virginia. Harris was named the Most Outstanding Player in leading Georgetown to their miraculous Big East Tournament Championship in 2021.
The Hoyas added two freshmen and eight transfers to fill out this season’s team. In addition to the roster overhaul, the Hoyas revamped their entire coaching staff.
“When you’re not successful, you have to change,” Ewing said at the team’s media day. “So I’ve made the changes that I believe that I’ve needed to make.”
The coaching changes have not made a major difference thus far. The Hoyas are pacing basically identically to last season - if Georgetown loses their last 16 games and finishes with zero wins in Big East play again, they would have one more loss than last year’s program-worst 25 losses.
Georgetown is led by a pair of two transfer guards. Duquesne transfer Primo Spears leads the way for the Hoyas averaging 16.0 points and 4.9 assists per game. LSU transfer Brandon Murray averages 15.5 points per game and 3.8 assists.
After a one-year stint with Maryland, Qudus Wahab has returned to Georgetown averaging 11.1 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. He had been a handful for the 'Cats in past matchups and it will be interesting to see how 'Nova deals with him this time around. Another familiar name playing for Georgetown this season is UConn transfer Akok Akok averaging 6.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
Someone’s Gotta Win
Both teams enter this game desperate for a win and someone has to earn it. Villanova is hoping to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive while waiting for Justin Moore to make his season debut, and Georgetown is hoping to turn their program around from the past few seasons.
Villanova enters Wednesday’s matchup with seven losses on the season after averaging 5.89 losses per season over the past nine seasons. If this season is a sign of what is to come for the ‘Cats under new coach Kyle Neptune, the Wildcats future may be bleak and hopefully not a lot like Georgetown's after coach John Thompson III stepped down.
Georgetown has had one winning season with Patrick Ewing at the helm and this season does not look like it will be any different. Once a Big East powerhouse, the Hoyas are now an easy-win for most opponents.
Villanova and Georgetown both look to break their losing streaks Wednesday night in Washington D.C. at Capital One Arena. The two will face off at 6:30 p.m. ET on FS1.