Every game from here on out is a major game, especially when you have a shot at making the NCAA tournament. It's crucial to get wins against top conference opponents. Georgetown vs. Cincinnati is a big game for both teams because of how it will affect their conference standings and tournament resumé.
Although Cincinnati has more overall wins than Georgetown, the Hoyas have more Big East victories. Both teams should be able to make it to the tourney, but a slip-up in this game could be a cause for concern for the losing coach.
Georgetown heads to Cincinnati with a six-game winning steak on the line and a win would keep them at the top of the Big East standings. On the other hand, Cincinnati has split their last six games and need a win to put them in the conversation with the best Big East teams.
Here are the keys to victory for each team in tonight's game:
Playing on the road in the Big East conference is no easy task. Offense will be the x-factor for Georgetown. The trio of Otto Porter Jr., Markel Starks and Greg Whittington needs to score early and throughout the game.
These three average about 40 of the Hoyas' 64 points per game. Porter Jr. has been excellent these past six games averaging 17.8 points per game and needs to continue if the Hoyas are going to win.
Next, the Hoyas need to play good defense against the Bearcats. Georgetown ranks second in the Big East in scoring defense (allowing 55.7 points per game) and opponents field goal percentage (37.8 percent). Whoever guards Sean Kilpatrick needs to do his best at limiting him. If the Hoyas can score and limit Kilpatrick, then they will have a good chance of pulling this one out.
This is a very important game for the Bearcats to not only get a win, but also to help their tournament resumé. Rebounding and offense from Cincinnati’s top players will be important to pull out the upset at home. The Bearcats rank seventh in the nation with 41.1 rebounds per game.
Their hustle to get boards off the glass has helped them throughout the season. They have to out-rebound the Hoyas if they are going to earn the victory. Also, Cincinnati needs to make sure it boxes-out Porter Jr. and keeps him off the glass. Porter Jr. ranks third in the Big East with 7.9 rebounds per game.
Kilpatrick needs to have another big game. Kilpatrick ranks fourth in the Big East averaging 18.2 points per game. If Kilpatrick gets defended well and doesn't make his usual shots, then Cashmere Wright will need to step up as an offensive threat to get the win.