The game may not lead to a major upset, but the Georgetown Hoyas and Florida Gulf Coast Eagles will be playing on Friday night.
The Hoyas had a pretty successful season, finishing the year with a 25-6 record and an impressive 14-4 record in the Big East. They had big wins against Louisville and Syracuse twice, while also taking Indiana to overtime in a loss.
The Eagles haven’t been on the radar much, but a lot of that has to do with them playing in the Atlantic Sun conference. They finished the year at 24-10, while going 13-5 in the A-Sun. They only had one big statement win, and that was against Miami earlier in the season.
For all of the fans of the Hoyas and the Eagles, here’s a complete preview of the matchup on Friday night.
Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When: Friday, March 22, at 6:50 p.m. ET
Live Stream: March Madness On Demand
Betting Line: Georgetown -13 (via Vegas Insider)
Georgetown Injuries (via USA Today): F Greg Whittington, Suspension, Out; C Tyler Adams, Eligibility, Out
Florida Gulf Coast Injuries (via USA Today): None
What’s at Stake?
The winner of this game will move on to the third round of the tournament where they will play either San Diego State or Oklahoma.
For the Hoyas, they will be trying to avoid a humiliating upset against a team that only had one win against a Top 25 team all year. Only five teams that were a No. 2 seed in the tournament have ever lost to a No. 15 seed, with the most recent coming from Missouri, who lost to Norfolk State just last season.
For the Eagles, they will try to become that sixth team to beat a No. 2 as a No. 15 seed. Unfortunately, even if they do pull off the major upset, history says that they won’t win in the next round. All five previous No. 15 seeds to advance lost the very next round.
Other than avoiding humiliation or making history, not much else is at stake. The next round shouldn’t be too tough for the Hoyas, assuming that they advance. Overall, the Hoyas have a pretty easy first two games.
Players to Watch
Georgetown: F Otto Porter
There’s a reason that the Hoyas are a No. 2 seed, and his name is Otto Porter.
The sophomore forward has been spectacular for the Hoyas all season, and his numbers show that. For the season, he’s averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
That’s quite an impressive stat line, and it just helps justify his selection as a Wooden Award finalist.
The Hoyas have also had a lot of help thanks to Porter’s defense. According to Sports-Reference.com, Porter has a defensive rating of 84.5, which is the third best in the Big East. His defensive presence has been dominant, and makes him an even more valuable player for the Hoyas.
Porter could have a big day on the boards, especially on offense. The Eagles struggle boxing out, allowing nearly 12 offensive rebounds per game. With Porter’s strong playing style, he could very well find himself with a lot of second chance opportunities.
Florida Gulf Coast: G Bernard Thompson
If the Eagles want to win this game, they are going to need to play some tough defense. In order for that to happen, Bernard Thompson will need to continue his great season.
Thompson was named the Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year, and his numbers clearly show why. He was fourth in the nation in steals per game, averaging 2.8. He is a true pickpocket on the floor, and could do just that against the Hoyas’ backcourt.
His defensive rating has been solid as well. He has given up an estimated 91 points per 100 possessions, according to Sports-Reference.com. That was the second best in the Atlantic Sun this year.
The Hoyas have some explosive players on their team, and Thompson will need to play his best defense to keep the game close. Even though it will be incredibly difficult for the Eagles to pull out a win, that doesn’t mean guys like Thompson won’t be giving it 110 percent on every possession.
Key Matchup: Battle of the Upperclassmen Guards
In the NCAA tournament, upperclassmen shine as the true leader on their teams. This is the case for the Hoyas' Markel Starks the Eagles' Sherwood Brown.
Starks has been the floor general for the Hoyas, leading the team with 2.9 assists per game. He’s also been a terrific scorer, averaging 12.5 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting from the floor and 41.8 percent from behind the arc. He’s a versatile guard that can do just about anything, including being a leader for this younger team.
For Brown, he has had a pretty solid season as well. He’s the leading scorer for the Eagles, averaging 15.3 points per game on 46 percent shooting. He’s also been a solid rebounder for the team with 6.4 total rebounds per game. He will be looking to keep his college career going for at least one more game, as his senior season is in jeopardy of ending.
When upperclassmen go head-to-head, it always leads to a fun matchup. Look for these two to bring it, trying to match each other basket for basket.
Prediction: Georgetown Wins
Sorry Eagles fans, but the odds of another No. 15 seed beating a No. 2 seed are pretty small. The Hoyas are one of the best teams in the country and have one of the best players in the nation in Porter.
The Hoyas are a dominant team, especially on defense. They have the size and speed to keep opponents from scoring and robbing them blind with steals.
Don’t expect this game to be very close, as the Hoyas are on a mission to get to Atlanta.
Score Prediction: Georgetown 75, Florida Gulf Coast 58
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