Big East Championship Game Preview: West Virginia vs Georgetown
Taking the court at Madison Square Garden, the West Virginia Mountaineers' starting five might feel more at home then most people might think.
Six of their players, including all five starters, are from the New York Metropolitan area.
Good time to feel at home, right?
The third-seeded Mountaineers are the only team of the Big East's top four seeds to survive the quarterfinals on Thursday.
There they defeated Cincinnati 54-51 on a buzzer-beater by Da'Sean Butler beyond the three-point line.
And March is a great time to get hot in College Basketball.
The possible MVP of the tournament, the Mountaineers', 6'7", 225-pound first-team All-Big East selection forward, will try to make it six wins in a row.
He will take the court against Greg Monroe and the Georgetown Hoyas for the Big East Championship title.
Totalling 39 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists and shooting over 46 percent from the three-point arc, Butler's play has lead the Mountaineers on four-game winning streak in the month of March.
A streak that includes a 81-68 win over tonight's opponent Georgetown on March 1, senior night.
The same game that aforementioned senior Da'Sean Butler chalked up 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Less than two-weeks ago.
Fast track to the title?
I don't think so.
On the other side of the ball, Greg Monroe's Hoyas are looking to upset another top seed.
Playing in their fourth game during this tournament and riding high off a win over No. 3 Syracuse 91-84, the Hoyas will try to ride Monroe to the title.
Monroe, a 6'11" sophomore center will try to help earn his team their eighth Big East Championship title.
The seven titles they have is already a league record.
He matched Butler last time they met on March 1 with 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists.
"Monroe is terrific," West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said Friday, "We jumped on them pretty good in Morgantown early and then they came out the second half and played extremely well against us. And Monroe was a large part of that."
But even if Greg Monroe doesn't played his best ball tonight, he will get some help.
The Hoyas will have leading scorer Austin Freeman in tonight's game.
He was not available when they lost at West Virginia earlier this season, it was the night he was diagnosed with diabetes.
His 16.8 points per game will be an important factor against a West Virginia 1-3-1 defense which has held opposing teams to 51 points in both games during this tournament.
With the addition of Austin Freeman, who claims he's feeling better then ever, I believe the Hoyas could easily beat a West Virginia team during the regular season when they might not be playing their hardest.
But this is the Big East Tournament, and West Virginia could possibly be playing for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Oh, the possibilities.
I look for that smothering Huggin's 1-3-1 to help hold Georgetown's scorers in check.
West Virginia's two-game tournament bye gives the Mountaineers a fatigue advantage over the Hoyas who've already played at the Garden, three days straight.
"I think it's possible. I don't think there's any reason why we can't," Senior Da'Sean Butler said Friday night. "We take care of business and win this game tomorrow, I don't see why we can't be a No. 1 seed at all."
Prediction: West Virginia 63, Georgetown 58
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