Preview: Georgetown

Notre Dame did what a lot of people expected last Tuesday: win at home. The Irish, despite being down by seven at halftime to Cincinnati, exploded in the second half for 64 points en route to a 91-74 victory over the Bearcats. It was Notre Dame's 31st straight win at the Joyce Center. On Saturday, the Irish have a much bigger test in a much tougher environment.

Notre Dame will go on the road and battle No. 6 Georgetown. Tip-off on Saturday at the Verizon Center is at 12 PM. The Hoyas come into the contest at 13-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big East after a nine-point loss at No. 16 Pittsburgh on Monday. The Irish are 13-3 overall and 3-1 in league action.

For Notre Dame, it's a measuring stick game. The Irish have played just one true road game on the season and were embarrassed by Marquette 92-66 at the Bradley Center. The Golden Eagles 26-point win was the biggest in the two teams' series history. Notre Dame committed 20-plus turnovers and couldn't find their rhythm from three-point range, connecting on only 4-of-19 from behind the arc. An upset win in Washington, D.C. on Saturday would erase those bad road memories planted in Milwaukee.

Luckily for the Irish, the team bounced back from the loss to Marquette. After struggling in the first half to Cincinnati, Notre Dame couldn't miss in the second half. The Irish shot 69 percent from the field in the final 30 minutes of action and turned a seven-point halftime deficit into a 17-point winning margin. A big reason for the hot offensive play was Luke Harangody. The sophomore forward scored 24 of his 25 points in the second half to power the attack. Not too many players have been better than Harangody in the early Big East action. Kyle McAlarney added 22 points against the Bearcats on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including five made three-pointers.

It'll be a stiff test for Notre Dame on Saturday. Georgetown, in addition to being one of the premier teams in college basketball, are coming off a loss. The Hoyas should be focused in order to avoid a second straight defeat. Georgetown is known for two things under head coach John Thompson III: great defense and high percentage shots. The stats bear this out. The Hoyas are first in the Big East in field goal percentage, scoring defense and field goal percentage defense. Georgetown also likes to throw up the three-pointer. The Hoyas are second, to Notre Dame, from behind the arc, connecting on 39 percent of their shots from this range. The Hoyas defend the three as well, ranking first in the league.

The Georgetown player that gets all the attention is Roy Hibbert. The 7-2 senior leads the team in scoring at 12.5 PPG and pulls down six rebounds a contest. Hibbert has three double-doubles on the season but will never put up "wow" numbers because of the Princeton-style offense the Hoyas run. Georgetown has nine players averaging 15 minutes per game or more. DaJuan Summers, a 6-8 sophomore, is second in scoring at 11 PPG and second in rebounding at five a contest. Patrick Ewing, Jr., a 6-8 senior, is the energy man off the bench while point guard Jonathan Wallace, a 6-1 senior, runs the show while shooting 50 percent from the floor.


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