RV Marquette Golden Eagles (16-9, 8-6 Big East) vs Georgetown Hoyas (6-18, 0-13 Big East)
Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marquette Stats Leaders
Points: Justin Lewis, 17.0 ppg
Rebounds: Justin Lewis, 8.0 rpg
Assists: Tyler Kolek, 5.8 apg
Georgetown Stats Leaders
Points: Aminu Mohammed, 14.1 ppg
Rebounds: Aminu Mohammed, 7.8 rpg
Assists: Dante Harris, 4.4 apg
Game Projection: Marquette has a 94% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 86-69.
Last Time Out: Final score, Marquette 92, Georgetown 64. That’s the big takeaway, and you really shouldn’t look deeper. But we’re here to look a little bit deeper, and we have to point out that after Marquette ran off a 20-3 explosion, the Hoyas scored the final 11 points of the first half. 45-37 at the half, and that 11-0 turned into 18-3 and Georgetown closed within three points with 17:14 to go. And then Marquette won by 28 anyway.
Since Last We Met: Losses, lots of them. The loss to Marquette was the Big East opener for the Hoyas. Combined with their loss to TCU right before the league started up, and Georgetown was 6-6 on the year back then and 0-1 in the league. Now they’re 0-13 in the Big East after falling by 11 to Creighton in Omaha on Monday night, and 6-18 overall. It is tied for the fifth worst start to a Big East season in league history, and not just since The Reformation. Just since the league rebuilt with Butler, Creighton, and Xavier, Georgetown is tied with 2016 St. John’s for the worst start in the league. On Wednesday night, Marquette has a chance to give the Hoyas the first 0-14 start since that refresh.
Tempo Free Fun: The first thing that we have to talk about with regards to Georgetown and Wednesday night’s game is that it won’t be the same Hoyas team that Marquette saw back on January 7th. Donald Carey and Timothy Ighoefe missed that one, The 7-foot tall Ighoefe is essentially just a bit player for the Hoyas, and he’s dropped out of the starting lineup lately. Still, even in just 16 minutes a night, he’s averaging over six rebounds a game, and that gives him an offensive rebounding rate north of 16% and DR rate above 23%. He’s really good at cleaning the glass when he’s on the court. If I were Patrick Ewing, I’d try to get him as many minutes as he can handle in order to take advantage of Marquette’s rebounding troubles on both ends of the court.
Carey is the bigger problem for Marquette, at least from an all over the court angle. He’s second on the team in scoring (13.5) behind Aminu Mohammed, third in rebounding (4.7) behind both Mohammed and Ighoefe, and second in assists (3.0) behind Dante Harris. Having Carey available gives the Hoyas their second most likely and most accurate three-point shooter, and that’s going to add a dimension that MU didn’t have to deal with the first time around. Georgetown went 4-for-18 from long range in early January with Collin Holloway (2-2) and Kaiden Rice (2-7) turning up as the only guys to knock one in. How much better would GU’s shooters in general be if Carey was out there to keep an eye on as well? Generally speaking, Marquette is pretty good at preventing teams from firing off from three, ranking just inside the top 100 according to KenPom.
I want to look at Georgetown’s loss to Creighton on Monday. The Bluejays had a 14-0 run at the end of the first half that effectively ended the game. If you go by KenPom.com’s win probability chart for the game, that run pushed the game past 95% for Creighton and it never went back below it. However, a 48-31 game at the half was 79-73 with three minutes to play. Again, I want to make this clear: Creighton’s chances of winning this game only fell to 96.8%.
But if Creighton had committed one more turnover — they had 19 in the game and at one point late in the game, the Hoyas had created 25 points off of turnovers — or if one of a couple of three-pointers from Georgetown had gone down in the closing minutes..... that game starts getting reaaaaallllly dicey for Creighton at home.
Why do I point this out? Because Georgetown closed to within three points of Marquette after the Golden Eagles blew out to a big lead earlier this season as well. The good news is that Marquette’s lull came in the middle of the game and Shaka Smart had lots of time to calm his team down and make them play the right way. Greg McDermott was running out of time and luckily Georgetown just Georgetown’d themselves out of the game.
But it’s not just that Georgetown did something similar to that against MU earlier this season. Marquette’s last two games saw the Golden Eagles create problems for themselves. Connecticut had a 17-3 run in the first half last week Tuesday that put them up 14. Marquette eventually cut it to just three in the middle of the second half..... but a 10-0 run by the Huskies immediately turned itself up and MU was suddenly down 11 again.
I think the 40-19 start by Butler is still fresh in everyone’s mind, so I don’t need to hammer the point home. I will point out that the Bulldogs scored 16 points in the final five minutes of that game, though. We remember the awful start, but Butler closed strong, too. It was 69-65 Butler with a shade under five minutes to play, but shot after shot after shot went down for BU as they closed out the win.
It’s not a secret: Marquette wins this season with their defense. The thing about that defense is that it requires the full effort for 40 minutes. You can’t take five or 10 minutes off and presume that it’s going to be fine. You can’t ease into a game and get into the flow of things. You have to go end to end for 40 minutes, creating deflections (hopefully more than 32 of them) and stringing together stops to get eight chains of three in a row.
Earlier this season, Marquette went to sleep against Georgetown for a while, and they nearly threw their lead in the trash. Ended up winning big, maybe because Georgetown is bad, maybe because Georgetown was missing two guys. Coming off of two games where MU didn’t play the way that they can and the way that they need to play? That can’t happen again, especially not with Carey and Ighoefe back in the lineup.
Stat Watch: Senior center Kur Kuath has 70 blocks on the season. That is tied for the seventh most blocks by any Marquette player in any season in program history. He’s tied with Theo John’s 2019 season at the moment, and needs six blocks to catch Amal McCaskill in sixth place all time. When Kuath gets past John — and with six regular season games to go, it is when, not if — we will be able to say that Kuath has the most blocks by a Marquette player in 25 years.
Marquette Last 10 Games: 7-3, with losses in three of the last four games
Georgetown Last 10 Games: 0-10, and we could extend that out to oh-fer in their last 14 if we wanted.
All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 18-14.
Current Streak: Since the 2017-18 season, Marquette has won seven of the last nine games between the two sides. After winning in D.C. earlier this season, MU has four of the last five encounters.
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