On Tuesday night (8:00 P.M., ESPNU), the #9 Missouri Tigers (5-0) travel to Kansas City to take on the #16 Georgetown Hoyas (6-0) in the John McLendon Classic at the Sprint Center. Georgetown captured the Charleston Classic, with an 82-67 win over N.C. State in the championship game, and then followed that up with an 87-72 win over UNC Asheville on Saturday.
The Hoyas are coached by John Thompson III, a Princeton graduate, in his 7th season as Georgetown's Head Coach. Ergo, the variation of the Princeton offense that Georgetown utilizes.
Georgetown has exceptional guards, and is an excellent 3-PT shooting team. That's not to say that GU isn't talented up front, but the Hoyas are definitely a guard-oriented team. Georgetown comes in with 10 players who are averaging over 8 minutes/game, although almost all of their scoring is done by their starting five.
Like Missouri, Georgetown usually plays a three-guard line-up. The Hoyas are led in scoring by 6'4" senior G Austin Freeman, who is averaging 20.2 points/game, and is hitting on 58% of his 3-PT attempts. Freeman is an outstanding scoring guard, who is very strong with the ball, and has an assist to turnover ratio of 3.5 A/T. Freeman's partners in the back court are 6'1" senior PG Chris Wright, who is scoring 12.7 points/game, hitting 45% of his 3-PT shots, picking up 2 steals/game, and is averaging 7 assists/game, with a 2.0 A/T ratio, and 6'2" junior G Jason Clark, who shoots 46% from behind the arc, is scoring 14.3 points/game, pulls down 4.7 rebounds/game, and is getting 1.5 steals/game.
Up front for the Hoyas, 6'9" senior F Julian Vaughn is scoring 10.2 points/game, grabbing 8 boards/game, and has blocked 2.7 shots/game. The Hoyas other forward, 6'7" sophomore Hollis Thompson is more of a big wing player. He is hitting 39% from behind the arc, and is scoring 9 points/game, and pulling down 6.2 rebounds/game.
Georgetown brings in 2 guards, and 3 forwards, off of the bench, but none of them are averaging even 4 points/game, although 6'3" sophomore G Vee Sanford has a 4.0 A/T ratio, and is hitting 63% of his 3-PT attempts.
As a team, Georgetown is scoring 75.7 points/game, shooting 50% from the field, and is shooting 44% from behind the arc. They are also outrebounding their opponents by a 38-29 margin, have a 1.22 A/T ratio as a team, and have assisted on 65% of their made baskets.
Marcus Denmon is leading Missouri in scoring, at 13.8 points/game, followed by Laurence Bowers, at 12.2 points/game, Ricardo Ratliffe, at 10.8 points/game, and Kim English, at 10 points/game. The Tigers don't shoot the ball anywhere near as well as does Georgetown, so for Missouri to emerge victorious, they'll have to turn it up a notch or two on the defensive end, and establish and maintain a pace that is uncomfortably fast for the Hoyas.
Thompson's a great coach, and will want his team to run their offense, but his players are going to be sorely tempted to want to run up and down with Missouri. GU's starting guards, and three leading scorers, each average over 30 minutes/game, and could be vulnerable to the wear and tear of playing at Missouri's pace.
For the Tigers, the challenge is to set the pace on the defensive end. Simply pushing it offensively won't be enough. It's imperative for Coach Anderson's team that every Missouri player delivers an outstanding defensive effort, and that everyone gets on the boards. Of course, the Tigers will have to take better care of the basketball, and make their FTs.
Following their meeting with Georgetown on Tuesday night in KC, Tigers will fly out early Wednesday morning to Eugene, OR, for a Thursday night game against the Oregon Ducks in the Big 12 / PAC 10 Hardwood Series.
Record: 5-0 6-0
FGM: 149 168
FGA: 333 338
FG %: .447 .497
3pt FGM: 38 60
3pt FGA: 102 135
3FG %: .373 .444
FTM: 72 58
FTA: 106 89
FT % .679 .652
Points: 408 454
Per Game: 81.6 75.7
Reb./Gm 39.8 37.8
Steals 11.2 6.8
Assists: 17.0 18.2
Blocks: 5.6 5.0