Marquette Golden Eagles (9-5, 0-2 Big East) vs. No. 12 Georgetown Hoyas (11-1, 2-0 Big East)
Bradley Center– Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Time: Wednesday, 7 pm CST
Coverage: ESPN360/Big East Network/TWS32 (Eric Collins play-by-play, Mike Kelley color-analyst)
After two gut-wrenching games last week, during which they lost to two top-10 teams by a combined three points, Marquette faces another test Wednesday night when the No. 11 Georgetown Hoyas come to town.
The Hoyas enter with an 11-1 record and wins over St. John's and DePaul in their first two Big East tilts. GU returns three starters from last year's squad that finished 16-15.
There doesn't seem to be any single reason for the marked improvement from the Hoyas this year other than experience. Last year, they struggled in close games, ranking 339th in Ken Pomeroy's (kenpom.com) ‘luck ranking'.
Actually, the Hoyas' efficiency ratings this year are eerily similar to last year's numbers. They are 45th in offensive efficiency this year, which is the exact same rank they finished with last year. Defensively, they have been slightly better at 17th in the country versus 22nd last year.
And MU's game plan for the stopping the Hoyas should also be similar to last year. Pressuring the Hoyas' guards could be the biggest key to the game. The Hoyas do turn the ball over quite a bit, and the Golden Eagles have been pretty good at forcing giveaways. Pressuring their guards should also help limit Greg Monroe's touches in the paint. The farther the 6-foot-11-inch sophomore is from the hoop, the better off the Golden Eagles are.
Another goal for the Golden Eagles should be getting to the charity stripe. The Hoyas do not play a deep bench, so getting some starters in foul trouble could pay dividends. Problem is that the Hoyas have not fouled much this season. They have the eighth fewest free throw attempts allowed per field goal attempt allowed. Last season, they ranked outside the top-100 in that category.
Goergetown, on the other hand, present a plethora of problems for the Golden Eagles. They are tall (15th in Pomeroy's effective height ranking), whereas MU is not (308 in effective height). They score the ball efficiently (22nd in effective field goal percentage). Finally, they play sound defense (26th in effective field goal percentage defense).
Looking at the GU's personnel, Chris Wright and Austin Freeman return to lead the Hoya backcourt. Wright has been hot of late, averaging 24 PPG in his last three games.
Freeman, a bigger bodied guard, has improved his consistency scoring at least 9 points in every game this season. After playing the sixth-man role last season, sophomore Jason Clark has emerged as a starter this season and has joined Freeman and Clark in double-digit scoring.
In the frontcourt, superstar forward Greg Monroe returns and has led the Hoyas in scoring and rebounding this season. Monroe is very mobile for his size and presents a matchup problem for just about every team in the country. His versatility makes him one of the toughest players to cover in the country. Monroe's frontcourt sidekick, Julian Vaughn, finally seems comfortable this season after playing just nine minutes per game last season. Vaughn, a former Florida State transfer, has done the dirty work for the Georgetown on the inside, cleaning the glass and playing tough defense, in addition to scoring eight points per game.
As was stated earlier, the Hoyas do not play a ton of guys off the bench. Freshman Hollis Thompson and sophomore Henry Sims essentially round out a seven-man rotation. Thompson is an athletic wingman that can score off the dribble or from downtown. Sims gives Vaughn and Monroe a breather on the inside.
Head Coach: John Thompson III (127-52 6th Season, 195-94 10th overall)
Probable Hoya Starters:
G – Chris Wright (6'1" 208 lbs, Junior) --- (14.8 ppg, 3.2 rbg, 3.5 apg)
G – Jason Clark (6'2" 170 lbs, Sophomore) --- (10.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.8 spg, 40% 3PT)
G – Austin Freeman (6'4" 227 lbs, Junior) --- (13.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 41% 3PT)
F – Julian Vaughn (6'9" 247 lbs, Junior) --- (8.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.8 bpg)
C – Greg Monroe (6'11" 247 lbs, Sophomore) --- (14.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.7 bpg)
F – Hollis Thompson (6'6" 180 lbs, Freshman) --- (4.2 ppg, 2.8 rbg, 41% 3PT)
C – Henry Sims (6'10" 226 lbs, Sophomore) --- (2.6 ppg, 2.3 rbg)
G – Vee Sanford (6'3" 175 lbs, Freshman) --- (1.6 ppg)
F – Jerrelle Benimon (6'7" 210 lbs, Freshman) --- (0.9 ppg)
Preview: Georgetown Hoyas
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