The Jays will complete the second leg of their two-game road trip with a match-up against the Hoyas, who’ve lost three out of their past four contests. Here’s the breakdown:
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
Radio: 1620 AM KOZN
TV: CBS Sports Network
Record: 11-6, 1-3 Big East
NET ranking: 52nd (CU: 27th)
2018-19 postseason: NIT first round
KenPom offensive efficiency: 23rd (CU: 15th)
KenPom defensive efficiency: 96th (CU: 83rd)
Trending: Four players left Georgetown in December. Yet those who remained suddenly started to flourish. The Hoyas won six games in a row (beating Oklahoma State, SMU and Syracuse during that stretch). But you have to wonder how long a thinned-out roster can hold up. Georgetown’s off to a 1-3 start in league play, although those three defeats all came on the road.
Series history: CU leads 8-6 (Creighton won both meetings last year)
Players to watch
Senior center Omer Yurtseven: The 7-footer is tough to stop. But if he's getting deep position Wednesday, he might just be an automatic bucket against the Jays. He’s the best scoring big man in the conference (16.5 points per game) and the second-best offensive rebounder.
Sophomore guard Mac McClung: Georgetown’s really leaned on its playmaking guard of late. He’s attempted 52 shots in three conference games. He’s a little banged up, too. But overall, McClung’s much improved from last year — his 3-point shooting percentage is up (27.7% to 34.7%) and his assist-to-turnover rate is much better (0.98 to 1.6).
Junior guard Jamorko Pickett: He’s up to 40.5% as a 3-point shooter, and the Hoyas are running plays to get him jumpers. He’s good at moving off the ball, especially when he’s hunting down offensive rebounds. You can’t let the 6-foot-8 playmaker roam alone.
Three keys for Creighton
1. Defend in transition: Georgetown will look to push tempo and attack a defense that isn’t yet set. The Hoyas’ average possession length is just 15.5 seconds (ranks 22nd-nationally), according to Ken Pomeroy’s data. And since this game has the making of an up-and-down affair, the Jays will need to be alert and focused the moment Georgetown starts its offense.
2. Rebound: The Hoyas have grabbed offensive rebounds on 27.9% of their own misses in wins. But in losses, that rate dips to 22.9%. They’ve failed to out-rebound their opponent six times this year, and they’ve lost all six games. Creighton, as always, will be undersized. But it has to attack the glass Wednesday, similarly to Saturday when it limited Xavier’s second-chance opportunities and even hustled its way to a few offensive boards of its own.
Make Georgetown’s defense work: Villanova had success against the Hoyas Saturday when it moved the ball, attacked vulnerabilities and then shared the ball to exploit a rotating defense. The Wildcats finished with 20 assists in their win, the most they’ve had in a game in two months. Passing up good looks for great ones. That’s the blueprint Creighton will look to follow.
ESPN’s BPI: Georgetown’s winning percentage is 64.8%
KenPom: Georgetown wins 78-76
Jon Nyatawa’s take: The Hoyas haven’t shown yet that they have the defensive prowess to make CU’s guards uncomfortable. Then again, Georgetown can surround its big men with shooters and put a gigantic amount of stress on all levels of Creighton’s defense. So it should be a shootout. The Jays tend to prefer that style of play. I’ll pick CU. 82-78.