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Marquette Basketball Big East Preview Primer: at Georgetown Hoyas

Can the Golden Eagles keep up their momentum after a big win?

Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Marquette Golden Eagles (9-6, 1-3 Big East) vs Georgetown Hoyas (6-5, 0-0 Big East)

Date: Friday, January 7th, 2022
Time: 5:30pm CT
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

Marquette Stats Leaders

Points: Justin Lewis, 15.7 ppg
Rebounds: Justin Lewis, 8.2 rpg
Assists: Tyler Kolek, 6.1 apg

Georgetown Stats Leaders

Points: Aminu Mohammed, 14.6 ppg
Rebounds: Aminu Mohammed, 8.7 rpg
Assists: Dante Harris, 5.3 apg

KenPom.com Rankings

Marquette: #64
Georgetown: #120
Game Projection: Marquette has a 54% chance of victory with a predicted score of 78-77

So Far This Season: So far, not so good this season for Georgetown. No one expected them to be world-beaters, but opening up the season with a Q4 loss at home to a KenPom #251 Dartmouth was a bad omen.

After that horrible start, they won a pair of home games and went into the Wooden Legacy games on an upswing. That is, until they lost both games. One loss against a good San Diego State team and another against a not-great Saint Joseph’s squad.

The next few games Georgetown all ended up exactly as expected. Beating teams they should, and losing to teams they shouldn’t beat. The one exception is their matchup against Syracuse. Georgetown came back to beat Syracuse 79-75 at home after being down 10 at half. This Syracuse team isn’t quite the Syracuse teams of old, that 2-3 zone is a little bit porous this season. It’s worth mentioning that Marquette transfer Symir Torrence ended up at Syracuse, and is doing basically the same stuff there that he did here.

Anyways, this Georgetown team relies heavily on wonderkid Aminu Mohammed. Mohammed came in as a five star recruit and by a decent margin was the best recruit in the Big East. So far, he’s proving to be what everyone thought he could be. In that Syracuse game, he scored 12 points during a 21-9 run that got the Hoyas back into the game. He ended up with 23 points and 13 rebounds in that game, in addition to earning NCAA basketball Freshman of the Week honors for his performance.

New Beginnings: I’m sure you’re wondering how Georgetown has managed to only 11 games this far in the season. Due to a COVID outbreak in their program, their first four Big East games were postponed and they haven’t played a game since December 18th. Crazy stuff. Before the break, Georgetown played a game against Howard with only seven (!!!) available scholarship players. Their game against TCU saw (or more aptly, didn’t see) Dante Harris out with a foot injury. He’ll likely start against MU tonight.

Need some WD-40 for the shooting arms?: After nearly three whole weeks without a game, Georgetown might find it a little bit more difficult to score the best way they’re capable of: 3 point shooting. Georgetown currently holds the 11th best three-point shooting percentage in college basketball, hitting on 39.2% of their threes. They have three players shooting better than 39%: Mohammed, Donald Carey, and Kaiden Rice.

On 55 attempts this season, Carey is shooting a blistering 47.3% from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Rice has hit 42.6% and Mohammed 39.1%. What’s noteworthy here is that Rice shoots over 10 threes per game. That’s not a typo. TEN of them! He shoots a three about every 2 minutes that he plays, and hits one a little bit less than every 5 minutes. It’s a rate that I wouldn’t have believed could be sustained through a season had we not seen Markus Howard do something similar a couple of seasons ago.

Howard comparison aside, Rice is a 6’7” forward who isn’t that great on defense. Who does that sound like the exact opposite of? Marquette’s own Olivier-Maxence Prosper. A good (if not great) defender that can’t do a whole lot on offense.

I’ll be honest, this sounds like a nightmare. To put is a bit more into context how crazy this is, shooting 39% from three is something that not even a single NBA team is doing this season. However, Georgetown doesn’t typically look to shoot the three that often. Just 36.8% of their possessions end in a three, which puts them at #227 nationally. Marquette shoots a three on 42.2% of their possessions despite shooting them at 32.3%.

Not quite opposites, but not quite the same: The Prosper-Rice matchup is pretty indicative of what this game might look like. For example, both teams play at a similar offensive level: Marquette at #105 and Georgetown at #116 according to T-Rank. Where the teams differ is the the other end of their respective courts. Georgetown has the #193 defense and Marquette boasts the #63 defense.

As far as tempo goes, both teams like to play fast. Marquette plays one of the fastest offenses in the country. Georgetown isn’t quite as quick as MU is, but they’re no slouches either at #28 in adjusted tempo. Over the course of the entire season, Marquette has been trending down in the speed department, likely a result of playing against better defenses. That said, this should be a fast game with a lot of threes. Georgetown makes a lot of them and Marquette shoots a lot of them.

Much has been made out of Marquette’s rebounding, or perhaps lack-thereof, this season. I feel just a little bit obligated to mention what we might be able to expect from this game. Georgetown is actually a really good offensive rebounding team. They pick up about 34% of their offensive rebounds, #34 nationally, and Marquette gives up 29.4% of their defensive rebounds back to the opposing offense, #214 nationally.

Yikes. Second chance points could really be a killer for Marquette in this game. But, Georgetown’s sub-par defense will definitely leave the door open for Marquette to snatch the road win, especially if Georgetown can’t shake the rust easily.

Stat Watch: Kur Kuath has currently blocked an incredible 47 shots so far, good enough for sole possession of the 5th place on the most shots blocked in a season by a Marquette senior list. Luke Fischer currently holds the 4th spot with his 53 blocks, and if Kuath manages another seven block game just like he had against Providence, he’ll pass Fischer on Friday night. At this point, he’s within shouting distance of the all time season blocks list too. Theo John, Chris Otule, and Amal McCaskill are in a three-way tie for 10th on that list with 55 blocks in a season.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 4-6, with losses in 4 of the last 5 games.

Georgetown Last 10 Games: 5-5, with wins in 3 of the last four.

All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 17-14.

Current Streak: Since the 2017-18 season Marquette has won 6 of the last 8 games, with the most recent game being Wojo’s last game: a 68-49 Marquette loss last March in the Big East tournament.

Follow Along on Twitter

@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that’s us!
@GunvilleJohn - I wrote this, hi Dad!!
@MarquetteMBB - Official MU account
@GeorgetownHoops - Official Georgetown account
@CasualHoya - our SB Nation friends who follow Georgetown
@becb_sbn - our SB Nation friends that follow the whole Big East
@BenSteeleMJS - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MU beat writer