At A Glance:
Georgetown: 7-0. AP: 15 ESPN: 13 BP: 13 RPI: 34 BPI: 10
Washington: 6-1. AP: 17 ESPN: 16 BP: 17 RPI: 5 BPI: 70
Chris Wright has taken to the leadership role like a duck to water this year for the Hoyas. He hit some key shots down the stretch against Butler in their first test of the year and unlike previous editions of Hoya guards can actually shoot well (91 percent from the line, 48 percent from the field). He needs to improve his ball-handling (assist to turnover ratio is about even) but John Thompson III can feel confident in him running the show.
Isaiah Thomas was supposed to have a little freedom from running the offense this season but Abdul Gaddy hasn’t caught on yet. This is troubling when you consider his assist to turnover ratio (.55). He’s still scoring over 20 a game but the Huskies would much rather he assume the position as the smallest shooting guard in the nation.
Advantage: Washington. Thomas will chuck the ball up a lot but you can almost guarantee he’ll get his twenty.
Jason Clark is the defensive leader in the backcourt and makes a sound counterpart to Greg Monroe. He improved his assist-to-turnover ratio and averages almost five rebounds a game – at 6-2, that’s very impressive. Clark is one of those guys who won’t get as much press as his more celebrated teammates but deserves more attention.
Venoy Overton serves as the defensive pest and had six steals in the loss against Texas Tech but averaged four fouls in the last four games. This will be a challenge guarding either of the Hoya guards.
Advantage: Georgetown. Not only does Clark defend well but almost averages twice as much as Overton.
Austin Freeman is a linebacker inside a guard’s body. His role to shoot the rock – mostly from inside the three-point line – and hasn’t scored less than nine points in any game this season. Defense is not his forte and he can be prone to fouls.
Elston Turner was a bench player this season until Romar realized that Abdul Gaddy wasn’t ready. He responded well in the Texas Tech loss but is keeping this spot warm until Gaddy proves himself worthy.
Advantage: Georgetown. At least Turner doesn’t have to take on a small forward in this matchup.
I hate to harp on certain things, especially when Julian Vaughn’s role is to rebound, block shots and make his counterpart’s life inside difficult at best and he does a decent job. But Julian, seriously. One for ten from the free-throw line? At least he hasn’t gotten to the line in his last three games. All the Hoya faithful can do is hope he doesn’t get a chance at the charity stripe.
Quincy Pondexter will battle against anyone. Aside from the Montana game he has scored at least a dozen points in every game. He is the most consistent performer on the team and will need to have his usual monster effort again.
Advantage: Washington. Pondexter is a likely first-team Pac-10 performer.
If you man the pivot in D.C. your birthright is intimidation. Greg Monroe may not have that personality but he has brought the scary this season. Just ask Matt Howard. However, he actually has the worst field-goal percentage among the starters, which is rare for a center, and is also tied for the lead in assists thanks in part to the Princeton-style defense. Monroe is well on his way to lottery-pick status and taking his place on G’Town’s Mt. Rushmore (Ewing, Mutombo, Mourning, Hibbert).
It looked like Matthew Bryan-Amaning was going to have a breakout year with 23 points against Belmont. Since then he has averaged a mediocre seven points a game but is rebounding a little better. He hasn’t had to play a center like Monroe yet and will need to show more than he has at this point.
Advantage: Georgetown. Obviously.
Much like a gawky 12-year-old boy the Hoyas’ bench is young and thin. Hollis Thompson is a true small forward and Henry Sims should assume Monroe’s role in the pivot once he moves on to the NBA. Other than that no Hoya averages double figures in minutes. In particular, the backcourt has to remain on the floor.
Aside from Gaddy, who actually had a decent game against Cal State-Northridge following a nightmare performance against Texas Tech, forward Dennis Gant offers the most help off the bench. He actually helped keep the Huskies in the game against Tech.
Advantage: Even. It’s hard to know what you’ll get from game to game with these guys.
JT III has his charges rebounded from last season’s debacle (the Hoyas only won six of their last 19 games). Of course, their performance in the Big East will merit watching but they passed their first test against Butler with flying colors. Having another test right after should help prepare them for conference play.
Lorenzo Romar has to be a bit disappointed with Gaddy so far and would like to see Bryan-Amaning develop more. Pondexter and Thomas have responded but that’s not exactly shocking.
Advantage: Georgetown. Thompson has made people forget about last season’s swoon so far.
This is a fairly even matchup at all positions except center. Pondexter and Gant will likely need to help defend Monroe inside, which will help open things up for Freeman. Washington didn’t pass their first test against a Power Six/Ranked opponent. With Monroe it will be a tough challenge to pass their second.
Georgetown 76, Washington 68.