Georgetown's offense, which is much closer to the "Princeton" variety than that of West Virginia's, features the balanced scoring that is the hallmark of such on attack. Like WVU, which benefits from playing non-standard schemes, the Hoyas are likely benefiting from the unfamiliarity factor on their first trip through the Big East with head coach John Thompson III.
Forwards Brandon Bowman (Jr., 6-8, 220 lbs.) and Jeff Green (Fr., 6-8, 225 lbs.) bookend the Hoya attack. While many believe that guards are the most important factors in motion-style offenses, it's actually the forwards that key the attack, and Bowman and Green have proved to be a very effective duo, averaging 15.3 and 12.9 points respectively. Although one of the drawbacks of this offense is its weakness in rebounding, the pair is excellent in that area as well, tallying 6.8 and 7.1 boards per game, respectively.
Big center Roy Hibbert (Fr., 7-2, 275 lbs.) chips in with 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, and is also second on the team in blocks with 28, behind Green's 34.
The frontcourt features Ashanti Cook (Jr., 6-2, 180 lbs.), who has taken more than half of his shots from beyond the arc. He is a solid shooter, connecting on 39.8% of this three point attempts, but unlike many scoring guards doesn't dominate the ball in the halfcourt. He averages 11.5 points per game, and also hits more than 85% of his tries from the free-throw line. Running mate Jonathan Wallace (Fr., 6-1, 175 lbs.) averages 7.4 points per game, almost entirely on three-pointers. He takes fewer than 1.5 shots per game from inside the arc, but his 41.0% shooting accuracy from downtown makes it easy to see why he rarely ventures toward the basket.
Swingman Darrell Owens (Sr., 6-6, 210 lbs.) provides more than 23 minutes per game of relief time. He is a solid contributor on both ends of the floor, and averages 5.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per outing. Guard Ray Reed (So., 6-1, 175 lbs.) gets the bulk of the backcourt substitutions time, while swingman RaMell Ross (Sr., 6-5, 205 lbs.) hits 50% of his shot attempts
West Virginia forward Mike Gansey vs. Georgetown forward Brandon Bowman
Gansey will give up inches (a few) and pounds (a lot) to Bowman when he matches up man-to-man, but his play in WVU's zone defense, and on the offensive end, figure to be even more crucial.
|Sat. Feb. 12|
WVU 14-7, 4-6
GU 15-6, 7-3
WVU - 63
GU - 35
However, in WVU's zones Gansey becomes the key element. On the point of the 1-3-1, it will be up to him to initially disrupt Georgetown's finely honed patterns. With his quick reactions and jumping jack abilities, Gansey could be a fly in the smooth ointment that has been the Hoya attack for much of the season.
Offensively, the Mountaineers need Gansey to do more than fire up three pointers (although it's obviously nice when he makes them). WVU will need 3-4 offensive boards from the Ohio native, and also some dribble penetration to free their players for many of the shots they are accustomed to getting. Gansey remains the only Mountaineer with a double digit rebounding performance to his credit this year (3), and he probably needs to crack that mark again if West Virginia hopes to return home from the nation's capital with a win.
Much of WVU's substitution and rotation strategies are predicated on whether or not a player can score or create more points than he gives up on the other end. In this game, the Mountaineers need a big "plus" ratio in that area if they are to win their third consecutive Big East matchup.
This game will likely be a culture shock for those used to seeing Georgetown teams that pounded the ball inside and opponents into submission. The new-look Hoyas now cut and move around the floor, which means that time for hulking big men on the order of Jahidi White is limited. Georgetown now emphasizes movement and athleticism, rather than grind it out brute force.
While that change in styles has given the Hoyas an advantage over many opponents, West Virginia might be fairly well-equipped to handle it. WVU is certainly experienced at defending offenses with lots of motion and screening, as the Mountaineers face one every day in practice. That's not to say that WVU will know what is coming or be able to neutralize the Hoya attack, but the sheer difference of the system shouldn't cause much grief for the Mountaineers.
Once you get past the bells and whistles, however, it all comes down to execution and making plays. Georgetown has found three freshmen who are able to execute the offense, and who haven't been rattled by the workload or expectations placed upon them. The Hoyas are no doubt the most successful team in the country with such a young lineup, and at this point in the season, WVU can't count on a case of first-year jitters to suddenly descend on the callow Georgetown lineup.
WVU has proven that it can beat a top club (Pitt) at home. It now needs to take the next step – posting a quality Big East road win – in order to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive.
Kevin Pittsnogle (27 points vs. Pitt) and Frank Young (11 vs. Providence) have set personal career high scoring marks in the last two games. Wouldn't it be great to see tat streak continue against the Hoyas?
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D'or Fischer is just four blocks away from breaking the WVU career record held by Phil Wilson. Fischer, with 175 rejections, is set to break the record in as few as 52 games, where it took Wilson (178 swats) 117 contests to set the mark.
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The original nickname for Georgetown athletic teams was "Stonewalls".
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Georgetown and West Virginia have both had six different players lead them in scoring at least once during the season.
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Despite running a more disciplined offensive attack than in years past, the Hoyas still turn the ball over more than what Thompson would like. Georgetown has committed just five fewer turnovers than its opponents this season.