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#6 Marquette Men’s Basketball Big East Preview Primer: vs Georgetown

The Golden Eagles host the Hoyas in the Big East home opener with an eye on bouncing back from Tuesday’s [gestures broadly] against Providence.

Connecticut v Georgetown
DOG IN CAR! DOG IN CAR!
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

#6 Marquette Golden Eagles (9-3, 0-1 Big East) vs Georgetown Hoyas (7-5, 0-1 Big East)

Date: Friday, December 22, 2023
Time: 6pm Central
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Marquette Stats Leaders

Points: Tyler Kolek, 15.5 ppg
Rebounds: Oso Ighodaro, 6.3 rpg
Assists: Tyler Kolek, 5.8 apg

Georgetown Stats Leaders

Points: Jayden Epps, 18.2 ppg
Rebounds: Supreme Cook, 8.5 rpg
Assists: Jayden Epps, 4.2 apg

KenPom.com Rankings:

Marquette: #15
Georgetown: #179
Game Projection: Marquette has a 96% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 85-66.

The Stakes: Yeah, we’re doing a Stakes here. Loser is 0-2 in Big East play. It would be very bad to be 0-2 in Big East play when you were the preseason favorite to win the league.

So Far This Season: The following sentence is 100% true.

A 72-68 overtime win on the road on December 16th against the Notre Dame team that just lost by 20 points to The Citadel is Georgetown’s best win of the season.

They struggled to beat Mount St. Mary’s, 83-72, even though they led 36-19 in the first half.

They struggled to beat American, 88-83, in overtime, because they had to rally from a 57-47 deficit with eight minutes left in regulation.

They struggled to beat Jackson State, 88-81, and were trailing 70-67, with less than nine minutes to go.

They struggled to beat Merrimack, 69-67, even though they were up 21-10 in the first half. They gave up a 15-0 run to fall behind, 45-39, with 13 minutes to play.

They managed to lose to TCU in a game where they technically did not lose because the Horned Frogs stepped out of bounds before hitting the game winner at the horn, but the refs did not see that happen. In any case, they were trailing 51-36 early in the second half, so the fact that it came down to a buzzer beater anyway defies logic.

They lost to Holy Cross, 68-67. At home. Because they gave up an 11-0 run to blow an 11 point lead.

And still, Georgetown is doing better than last year, when they were 5-7 through 12 games. Hooray for first year head coach Ed Cooley. One step at a time, Ed.

Tempo Free Fun: Just a few days after playing a team that used to be coached by Ed Cooley, Marquette moves on to playing a team that is coached by Ed Cooley. What a time to be alive.

Some things about Ed Cooley teams do not change. It’s a whole new roster in a whole new city, and somehow, Georgetown is a good to great offensive rebounding team. That is, of course, bad news for Marquette, as the Golden Eagles are not a good rebounding team on either end of the floor. They’re still a not terrific shooting team, although GU’s real problem is shooting two-pointers. They’re #209 in the country there while connecting on nearly 37% of their long range attempts. Georgetown is also, just like most of Ed Cooley’s Providence teams for the past seven years, great at getting to the free throw line. Same thing goes for being bad at creating turnovers on the defensive end. That was a thing for the Friars for the past four years, and the move to D.C. hasn’t changed anything about that in Cooley’s playbook. I would say that’s an advantage for Marquette, but we just watched the Golden Eagles commit dumb turnover after dumb turnover at the AMP on Tuesday night, so it’s not a 100% lock that MU won’t do the Hoyas a favor and just start handing them the ball.

Georgetown got Jayden Epps back in the lineup on Tuesday night after a minor injury kept him out of action for two games. Generally speaking, getting the guy with a top 100 assist rate back into your rotation would seem to be a good thing, but Epps kind of struggled. After going just 2-for-12 from behind the arc combined against Syracuse and TCU, he shot 1-for-4 on three-pointers against Butler. He also committed two turnovers….. but that ties his season low since he’s turning the ball over nearly 24% of the time where he gets credited for usage on a possession. Epps is still shooting 40% from three-point land on the season even with his 3-for-16 run here lately, so the question becomes whether the hot start to the season (47% in GU’s first seven games) is the real Epps…. Or is the guy who shot 30% last year for Illinois is more like what we should expect to see from him.

Swinging back to Georgetown’s ability to get a second chance, Marquette’s efforts to limit that will be focused on Supreme Cook. The 6’9” transfer from Fairfield is hauling in 15% of GU’s misses while he’s on the floor, making him the #24 offensive rebounder in the country per KenPom.com. 6’6” North Carolina transfer Dontrez Styles is no slouch on the glass either, ranking #362 in offensive rebounding rate. Both men have started every game this season for the Hoyas and both are averaging at least 28 minutes a night.

The last thing I want to cover in this preview is Ismael Massoud. He’s only played in six games this season, making his Hoyas debut on November 29th against Merrimack. He came off the bench for the first two games and then started every game since, and he has played at least 30 minutes every single night for Georgetown. Using the handy dandy filtering system on BartTorvik.com, we end up seeing that he hasn’t made much of an impact on them, to be honest. Defense is improved but is still very bad (still sub-225 in the country) in the last six games, while the offense has fallen off a little bit. That might have more to do with Epps 1) missing games and 2) missing shots along the same trajectory. In any case, the upside of having Massoud available for the Hoyas is that now they’re playing eight guys every night instead of seven. Maybe that’s a big thing, maybe it’s not, but I would have to figure that easing the mental pressure of “I can not make any foul-related mistakes because we just don’t have the bodies available behind me” has at least improve the general quality of life for Georgetown. It might not turn into wins, but it might be less tiring.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 7-3, with Tuesday’s loss to Providence snapping a three game winning streak.

Georgetown Last 10 Games: 6-4, with a loss last time out and losses in three of their last five games.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 21-14

Current Streak: Since the 2017-18 season, Marquette has won 10 of the last 12 games between the two sides, and after winning in Washington for the season sweep last year, they have won seven of the last eight meetings.