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#15 Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: at Georgetown Hoyas

The Golden Eagles head back out on the road to try to win their fourth straight Big East game.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown
This picture kills me every single time.
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

#15 Marquette Golden Eagles (14-3, 3-1 Big East) at Georgetown Hoyas (12-5, 2-2 Big East)

Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Time: 7:30pm Central
Location: Capital One Center, Washington, D.C.

Marquette Stats Leaders

Points: Markus Howard, 25.8 ppg
Rebounds: Sam Hauser, 6.8 rpg
Assists: Markus Howard, 4.4 apg

Georgetown Stats Leaders

Points: Jessie Govan, 20.0 ppg
Rebounds: Josh “Not Matt” LeBlanc, 8.2 rpg
Assists: James Akinjo, 4.8 apg

Current KenPom Rankings

Marquette: #34
Georgetown: #94
KenPom.com Projection: Marquette has a 62% chance of victory with a predicted score of 80-77.

Tempo Free Fun: At a glance, it certainly seems like there’s an awful lot of home cooking in that KenPom projection for this game. Marquette has a top 40 offense in terms of the KP efficiency metric, while Georgetown’s defense ranks #130 on that end of things. For context purposes, that is lower than Creighton was heading into last week’s MU/CU game, and the Golden Eagles rolled up 1.32 points per possession in Omaha. On the other end of the court, Marquette has the #40 defense and it’ll be matched up against the #69 offense in the country. That would seem to be advantage Marquette again.

And yet, it’s still just projecting as a three point game.

Such life on the road, I suppose. We also have to add in a bit of the fear that while Marquette did beat Creighton on the road, it took a damn miracle for it to happen and the Golden Eagles looked terrible on defense. If that happens against Georgetown, things could go poorly.

It seems that Georgetown’s offensive efficiency is largely based on their ability to get to the line an awful lot. I know, I know, Free Throw Rate is the least important of the Four Factors, but it’s also the only one where the Hoyas are ranked in the top 117 in the country, and they’re alllll the way up at #27. Four guys in Georgetown’s regular rotation are drawing over four fouls per 40 minutes, led by freshman point guard (and former Connecticut commit) James Akinjo. Everyone on the Marquette roster is going to have to be on their toes to avoid committing dumb fouls and putting the Hoyas on the line.

Next up on the table: Stopping Jessie Govan. Duh, right? He’s averaging 20 points and eight rebounds per game, and the 6’10” center from New York is canning triples at a 42% clip. He takes nearly four per game, and only Akinjo shoots more three-pointers than Govan. This sounds like a nightmare to defend on a normal night, and Tuesday night in DC might not be a normal night for the Golden Eagles. Ed Morrow left the Seton Hall game in the first half with what was called an ankle injury by Marquette and did not return. Can Theo John go for another 30 minute performance like he did against Seton Hall except against a much more talented inside presence than what the Pirates offered up? It might be a requirement for Marquette to win, and this is the part where I remind you that Govan is one of those regulars drawing all of those fouls. MU may end up needing big minutes from Matt Heldt, and that’s not a thing that’s been on the list of needs much this season.

Here’s some good news, coming out of a game where Marquette committed 20 turnovers: Georgetown doesn’t force turnovers. They rank #282 in defensive turnover rate on KenPom, and #264 in steal rate. If MU gets loose with it on Tuesday night, it’s going to be because the Golden Eagles are doing it to themselves, not because the Hoyas are doing anything particularly difficult to counter.

One final note on the Hoyas: Let Mac McClung shoot three-pointers, at least until he makes two in the game. After going 2-for-6 in his first game back after missing four due to an ankle injury and going 4-for-9 in the game right before said injury, McClung is now up to....... 25% on the season, and even after missing four games, he has just two fewer attempts than Govan. In the two games against adjusted top 100 competition by KenPom’s math, McClung is shooting 3-for-15 from long range, which is a robust 20%. I firmly give a stamp of approval to leaving him open until he makes two.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 9-1, thanks to those no good jerks at St. John’s

Georgetown Last 10 Games: 6-4 after escaping double overtime against Providence with a win in their most recent game.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 13-12

Current Streak: Marquette swept the season series last year for a two game winning streak and wins in four of the last five meetings. Counting last year, Marquette has only won in Washington in two of the last seven contests.

Follow Along On Twitter

@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that’s us!
@MarquetteMBB - Official MU account
@GeorgetownHoops - Official Georgetown account
@CasualHoya - our SB Nation friends that follow Georgetown, casually
@becb_sbn - our SB Nation friends that follow the whole Big East
@BenSteeleMJS - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MU beat writer
@cf_gardner - The Athletic MU beat writer