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The Essentials: Butler at Georgetown

Previewing what amounts to a playoff game for the Hoyas.

Michael Hickey

The first game between these two teams at Hinkle Field House was quite interesting. Hoya center Josh Smith had just been suspended and swingman Jabril Trawick was missing his first game after breaking his jaw. Georgetown led most of the way but their entire playable front court fouled out in the second half as the Hoyas fell behind. Reduced to a lineup that featured former walk-on guard John Caprio playing center, the Hoyas forced overtime on a last second three pointer by Markel Starks and went on to win 70-67.

With any luck, Caprio will remain in warmups this time now that Trawick is back. That Georgetown was able to win despite essentially not having a front court during crunch time is illustrative of Butler’s biggest problem. The Bulldogs simply have no presence inside. This is one of the reasons Butler has a very weak offense this year.

Butler does an excellent job of avoiding turnovers but does everything else poorly on offense, especially shooting. This plays right into a Georgetown team that builds its defense around forcing missed shots, particularly from three range where Butler hit 2 out of 21 in the first game.

The return of Trawick should help Georgetown tremendously as well, as he can help limit Butler star Kellen Dunham. The team’s defense has been notably better in the three games since Trawick’s return.

Of course, there is no such thing as a safe Georgetown win this season because the Hoyas don’t have a good offense either. Starks struggled through most of the first game, and the Hoyas will depend on him to do better this time. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera also is seeking to break a multi-game shooting slump. To feel confident about their chances, the Hoyas will need those two plus somebody else to step up, perhaps Aaron Bowen who scored 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting in the first meeting.

To win, Georgetown will need to continue to play good defense without fouling. It would help tremendously if the two offensive engines were both running smoothly. Georgetown is the better team and is playing at home, and they should win this game. But, it’s hardly a pushover and the stakes are tremendous. Georgetown is fighting for its life on the NCAA bubble, and they no longer have any room to blow any games they should win. Georgetown’s season will be on the line in this one.