If the season ended today, would these two teams be dancing? Both teams sit squarely on the bubble and in the upper-middle of the BIG EAST standings, and thankfully we don't have to attempt to answer that question just yet. As conference play continues and standings take shape, games like this will go a long way in determining both BIG EAST and national profiles.
Of these two teams, Seton Hall (16-6, 6-4) boasts a stronger resume, but a recent win at #5 Xavier has opened the door for Georgetown (13-10, 6-4), sitting on a solid conference record, to make a late run at the NCAA Tournament. A top four finish in conference play and a solid showing at Madison Square Garden would certainly give the committee plenty to consider for the Hoyas. For the Hall, the mantra tonight should be to take care of business. Favored at home and winners of three straight, the Pirates will look to build on their momentum and inject confidence into their young, talented team. This is the first of two matchups between Georgetown and Seton Hall, with the next coming on February 17 in Washington, D.C.
How to watch or listen
Game Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: AM 970 The Answer (Seton Hall) || 106.7 FM WJFK The Fan (Georgetown)
Line: Seton Hall enters this game as a 4 point favorite (via OddsShark)
Record ATS: Georgetown (11-10) || Seton Hall (15-6)
O/U: The O/U opened at 144
3 things to watch for
1. Isaiah Whitehead vs. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera
Two potential all BIG EAST guards will both look to make a statement today. Whitehead, fifth in the conference in scoring and third in assists, has made the transition to point guard for Kevin Willard's Pirates and is having a solid sophomore campaign. While he hasn't been the most efficient scorer (.373 field-goal percentage on the season), he is able to create offense for himself and his teammates (4.7 assists per game). Coming off a big effort in a 79-62 home win against Marquette (21 points, eight rebounds, six assists), Whitehead will look to lead the Hall to another important home win.
Smith-Rivera is having another All-BIG EAST caliber season as well, maintaining his scoring average while taking on more lead guard responsibilities for the Hoyas. He has been scoring the ball consistently in conference play, and hasn't had less than 15 points in a conference game this season. Georgetown shoots the ball better from deep than the Pirates do, and Smith-Rivera's ability to connect late in the shot clock and off the dribble can change the momentum of a game. Look for these two guards to play a huge role in determining the outcome tonight.
2. Rebound Margin
Outrebounded in recent losses to Providence and at Butler, Georgetown will have to hit the boards to hang around with the Pirates. Angel Delgado is second in rebounding during conference play, averaging 9.9 rebounds per game, and Seton Hall boasts the league's second best team rebounding margin (+5.4), trailing only Xavier. Georgetown needs to be physical and keep the Hall off the offensive glass. Second opportunities build momentum and can really hurt a team's chances on the road.
3. Bubble Watch
It's hard to believe that we're already in the second half of the BIG EAST season, but here we are. February is make or break time for bubble teams like Georgetown and Seton Hall, and every game from here on out holds elevated significance. For the Hoyas, it's an opportunity to pick up a quality road win after recent missed opportunities against Providence and at Butler. For the Hall, defending home court against a fellow bubble team will help its already solid resume and continue to build confidence in a young, talented team.