Georgetown Basketball: Hoyas' Keys to Upsetting Kansas

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2013

Nov 13, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Georgetown Hoyas guard Markel Starks (5) dibbles the ball up the court during the second half of the game against Wright State Raiders at Verizon Center. Georgetown Hoyas defeated Wright State Raiders 88-70. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgetown Hoyas head into their Saturday clash with Kansas as a massive underdog, but since college basketball is as unpredictable as a weather forecast during winter, they stand a fighting chance. 

After the Hoyas lost their opener to Oregon and suffered an embarrassing loss to Northeastern at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, they fell off the radar, which may have been the best thing to happen to them.

To the surprise of most reading this sentence, Georgetown has a slightly better record at 7-2 than the Jayhawks have at 7-3. 

However, the Hoyas have played the likes of Elon, Colgate and Lipscomb while Kansas has played through a treacherous nonconference schedule that included Florida, Duke and Villanova. 

So, how exactly can the unproven Hoyas march into Allen Fieldhouse and leave with a victory? 

Here are three ways that John Thompson III's team can do the unthinkable on Saturday.


Do Not Solely Focus on Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins is the best player on the Kansas roster, but he cannot win games all by himself—at least, he hasn't proven that yet. 

If Georgetown's guards can shut down Frank Mason and Naadir Tharpe in the backcourt and shoot well on the offensive end, the Hoyas could put their hosts on upset alert. 

LAWRENCE, KS - NOVEMBER 22:  Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks in action during the game against the Towson Tigers at Allen Fieldhouse on November 22, 2013 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The one thing that the Hoyas must be aware of with Wiggins is his ability to turn it on in the second half. 

Throughout the first 10 games of his collegiate career, Wiggins has shown up more in the final stanza, and if the Hoyas decide to hone in on him specifically as he gets hot, it will mark the beginning of the end for them in Lawrence. 

Once Wiggins gets going, the rest of his team should get going. The Hoyas should not panic and focus on the same task they will have from the outset, which is shutting down the other players on the Kansas roster.


Get Hot From Beyond the Arc Early

Georgetown possesses some quality three-point shooters in D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks, both of whom average over 30 percent from beyond the arc. 

Smith-Rivera has made 46.8 percent of his three-pointers, while Starks has hit close to 31 percent of his. 

If the Hoyas duo can find a rhythm from beyond the arc early, they will be able to bring the defensive attention out to them in the backcourt. 

If that does occur, the big men like Mikael Hopkins, Josh Smith and Nate Lubick could be left alone inside for easy baskets. 


Find a Way to Make Joel Embiid Ineffective

The other electrifying freshman on the Kansas roster is Joel Embiid, who is beginning to come into his own at the center position. 

For the Hoyas to have any success inside, they must rattle the young Embiid early on in the game.

If the frontcourt combination of Smith and Hopkins can force Embiid into a foul early on in the first half, it would be wise for one of the guards to drive into the lane and look for the freshman to drop further into foul trouble.

With Embiid off the court, Kansas' paint threat is nullified, as Tarik Black has done little to nothing positive this season and Perry Ellis presents a much better matchup in the size department for the Hoyas than Embiid. 

If the Hoyas fail to knock Embiid out of the game early, the trip back to Washington D.C. could be a very long one for Thompson and company.


Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.