Georgetown seems to find big, physical frontline players every year, and this year is not different. The Hoyas pound opponents in the lane with moves more suited to the wrestling ring or football field than the basketball court, but after all, this is the Big East.
In the frontcourt, powerful forward Mike Sweetney is the biggest threat. He scores 19.3 points per game and is grabbing nearly ten boards per contest. Sweetney is joined by Courtland Freeman, who was splitting time with Victor Samnick before Samnick's season ending surgery, and center Wesley Wilson, who also averages in double figures. Swingman Gerald Riley figures to take the bulk of Samnick's minutes, while freshman forward Harvey Thomas is also available for duty.
With this deep in rotation, the Hoyas simply batter many teams to a pulp in the lane. The loss of Samnick may prove to be critical to the Hoyas down the stretch, but they still enjoy a decided size and strength advantage against WVU.
In the front court, Georgetown also has a solid rotation. Point guard Kevin Braswell, a four-year starter, is one of the top point guards in the conference. Braswell takes more shots than any other Hoya, but still manages to keep everyone involved in the game.
Joining Braswell are freshmen Tony Bethel and Drew Hall, who are steady. Bethel's 10.4 points per game average make him tops in bench production in Georgetown's deep rotation.
Overall the Hoya lineup is littered with contributors. Head coach Criag Esherick will play an eight or nine-man rotation,all of which average at least 4.6 points and two rebounds. That's a match-up few teams can manage.
WVU's Chazz Briggs vs. Georgetown's Mike Sweetney
If West Virginia sticks to the starting lineup they featured against Providence, Briggs will have to battle one of the most powerful players in the conference, if not the nation.
WVU 1-6, 8-11
GU 4-4, 13-7
|Sat 2/2 Noon|
|Line: GU -15|
Briggs will have to use guile, not gruntwork, and force Sweetney away from the basket to defend him. On the defensive end, Briggs will have to use his quickness to deny Sweetney the ball and positioning to keep him off the boards. If Sweetney gets the ball in the lane consistently, this game will be over in a hurry.
Even if WVU switches their lineup to try to combat Sweetney with other players such as Chris Moss, the same rules apply. The Mountaineers just don't have the bulk, talent or depth to compete with the rugged Hoyas toe to toe.
WVU: Jay Hewitt (Ankle) Out; John Oliver (Hand) Probable
GU: Victor Samnick (Foot) Out
West Virginia has to avoid getting into a grinding battle with Georgetown. They must run their offense fluidly, get the Hoyas moving on defense, then take the ball aggressively to the basket.
If the Mountaineers stand outside and fire away from three, the Hoyas will dominate the defensive boards. If WVU fails to attack Georgetown's interior defenders, the Big East record for blocked shots will be in danger.
On the defensive end, the Mountaineers will have to rebound as a team. Not only will WVU's smaller front line have to battle like madmen, but WVU's guards will also have to slide down in the lane, box out the guards, and snare some rebounds of their own.
This game will be a totally different challenge than the one presented by Providence on Wednesday night, and it's one where the Mountaineers don't hold many advantages.
What's a Hoya? Here's the official explanation from Georgetown:
"Many years ago, when all Georgetown students were required to study Greek and Latin, the University's teams were nicknamed "The Stonewalls." It is suggested that a student, using Greek and Latin terms, started the cheer "Hoya Saxa!", which translates into "What Rocks!" The name proved popular and the term "Hoyas" was eventually adopted for all Georgetown teams."
There you have it. The Georgetown Whats.
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Senior team manager Ryan Growney is a captain on the Georgetown basketball team.
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Georgetown has played in either the NCAAs or NITs for 27 consecutive seasons.
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West Virginia is 7-0 this season when outshooting its opponent from behind the three-point arc.