When: Saturday, Jan. 26, 12:00 p.m.
Where: McDonough Arena
The Louisville Cardinals (16-3) have taken it on the chin in the last week. First, they lost a heart wrenching game to Syracuse in the final seconds, and then they couldn’t recover in time to beat a surging Villanova team. Now they face a tough Georgetown squad in an early road contest. The Big East schedule can be unforgiving, and Louisville is learning about it first hand.
Georgetown (13-4) already got off to a slow start in the Big East, but they have turned early season negatives into a positive. Still, the Hoyas are in the middle of the pack of the Big East Standings. A win could put them in the running for third place, while a loss would drop them below .500 in the league once again.
Whichever team controls the pace of play will have the advantage throughout the game. Georgetown plays a methodical passing game that sometimes stifles their own offense, yet they don’t want to get into a free flowing game against the speedy Cardinals.
Louisville thrives off of turnovers, and they don’t need to score to get into their press, but when they are shooting well, their defense can become overwhelming. They are third in the country in steals per game. Peyton Siva and Russ Smith are relentless with ball pressure.
Georgetown uses a powerful combination of forwards at the same time. For them to be effective, they’ll have to handle the pressure as a unit. The Hoyas can’t be hesitant in the back court, as Louisville will feast on an opponent’s indecision.
Otto Porter does everything for Georgetown. He leads the team in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks. On Saturday, he must display his mid range game, and find the gaps within Louisville’s zone.
A week ago no one thought Louisville would have a three loss streak, and now they are 40 minutes away from that realization. It’s another early game for the Cardinals, so they must be ready play at the opening tip. If they aren’t able to speed up Georgetown, they will go home a loser.
Georgetown can make a huge statement with a win over a hungry Louisville team. Their size should be able to handle the Louisville guards if they can keep them out of transition.
In the end Georgetown will make enough plays down the stretch to win in a close one. Foul shooting will be the key to the late victory.
Russ Smith averages 18.7 points per game on 15 shots.
Georgetown is 10th in scoring defense, while Louisville is 20th.
Louisville is in third place, and Georgetown is in eighth.
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