How to Watch, Listen and Follow
Date and Time: Jan. 2, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Hinkle Fieldhouse
Radio: 107.5 FM, 1070 AM (Indiana), The Team 980 (Washington)
Series Information and Betting Info
All-Time Series: Georgetown leads, 7-5
Last Meeting: Georgetown defeated Butler,87-83, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Feb. 13, 2018.
Line: Butler -8.5
The Butler Bulldogs (9-4, 0-0 Big East) will begin Big East play on Wednesday evening when they host the Georgetown Hoyas (10-3, 0-0 Big East). The game will mark the second consecutive season in which the Bulldogs and the Hoyas have met in their conference openers.
Butler enters Wednesday’s contest on the heels of a blowout loss against Florida, 77-43, last Saturday in Gainesville. It was a night to forget for the Bulldogs, who missed their first 11 field goal attempts and trailed 21-0 early—Butler registered its first points nine minutes in thanks to a three-pointer by Jordan Tucker. Kamar Baldwin, who leads Butler in points (15.6 per game), assists (3.8 per game), rebounds (5.2 per game) and steals (19 on the year), led the way with nine points.
In contrast, Georgetown enjoyed its largest victory of the season on Saturday afternoon, defeating intracity foe Howard, 102-67. The Hoyas were without Trey Mourning (concussion protocol) and Mac McClung (sprained ankle). Josh LeBlanc earned a second-consecutive start in Mourning’s place, and the freshman delivered with 22 points and 11 rebounds, his third career double-double. Jessie Govan also chipped in 23 points and 10 rebounds.
What to Watch For
James Akinjo vs. Kamar Baldwin
If you like guard play, you’ll be in for a treat when James Akinjo battles Kamar Baldwin. Akinjo has averaged 14.2 points (second on the team) and a team-high 4.5 assists in his freshman campaign, while Baldwin leads Butler in almost every major statistical category. Georgetown’s less-than-rigorous nonconference schedule didn’t see Akinjo match directly with another superb guard, making this his first true test against a premier talent. Baldwin has averaged 18.5 points in four career games against Georgetown, and the Hoyas have struggled in recent years to defend talented guards. Akinjo’s ability will be tested in his first Big East game, and this matchup will likely determine the overall balance of play.
How Will Butler Handle Georgetown’s Size?
Butler’s usual starting lineup of Baldwin, Paul Jorgenson, Aaron Thompson, Sean McDermott and Nate Fowler features an average height of just over 6-foot-4. Georgetown, provided Mac McClung and Trey Mourning again miss out due to injury, would likely field a lineup of Akinjo, Greg Malinowski, Jamorko Pickett, LeBlanc and Govan—boasting an average height of just over 6-foot-6. More eye-opening, however, Georgetown would own an outright height advantage at every position except for point guard (Akinjo is one inch shorter than Baldwin) and center (Govan and Fowler are both listed at 6-foot-10). That could mean a field day on he backboards for Georgetown, which averages ten more rebounds per game than Butler. The Hoyas love to push the pace off opponent misses, and their rebounding advantage could help them monitor the tempo.
Since Butler joined the Big East in 2013-14, visiting teams have dominated meetings between the Bulldogs and the Hoyas. Georgetown has won 4-of-5 meetings at Hinkle, while Butler has won 3-of-5 meetings at Capital One Arena. In games at Hinkle Fieldhouse, the team to win the rebounding battle has won the game. With Georgetown’s aforementioned size advantage, that trend could once again surface.