The First Union Center (we know, we don’t care) will be playing host to the latest edition of this signature Big East rivalry. The Wildcats come into this red hot, having won their last nine games in a row, with a pristine 8-0 record in conference play to tout. The Hoyas, meanwhile, have the honor and distinction of being only the third team in the conference this season to have at least a .500 record in conference play. The second is the team they’ll face Sunday, the other is the Marquette Golden Eagles. At the very least, they’re in some good company.
Like the others who’ve gotten in Villanova’s way, Georgetown’s main responsibility will be figuring out the age old question: How in the blue hell are we to stop Phil Booth? Booth has averaged 21.9 points, 5.1 assists and 4. rebounds per game in Big East play while shooting 48 percent from the field.
He’s also shooting a ridiculous 48.3 percent from the 3-point line and is doing so while taking 14 attempts from the floor per game. He’s hit over 20 points five times so far in Big East play, including a 28-point outburst back on January 13 against the Creighton Bluejays. He was “slowed down” by the DePaul Blue Demons earlier in the week, but still got to 19 points and shot 43.8 percent from the field.
Since ‘Nova started this run with a win over the UConn Huskies on December 22, Booth has been on a completely different level. Georgetown will have to do everything in their power to try and slow him down, but if the last few weeks have been evident, they’re going to have their hands full.
For the Hoyas, they will likely be leaning on their freshmen yet again. Namely, James Akinjo. Akinjo scored 23 points in the Hoyas’ victory over the Xavier Musketeers back on Thursday. Apart from a rough three-game stretch from January 15-27 in which he scored a combined 22 points, Akjino has played his tail off in Big East play. He’s hit double figures five times and over the 20-point mark twice. That includes the aforementioned outing against Xavier as well as a 20-point showing back on January 12 against the Providence Friars. He, along with Mac McClung and Josh LeBlanc really showed out against the Musketeers, and that trio may be the ones who find themselves as focal points again.
Of course, any Hoya discussion should revolve around Jessie Govan, as well. Govan is the fourth-leading scorer in the conference, ahead of the aforementioned Booth and only behind the triumvirate of Markus Howard, Myles Powell and Shamorie Ponds. His mark of 19.4 points per game puts him as one of the best scorers in the Big East and he’s done so on a mark of 13.8 field goal attempts per game. That puts him in a pretty good spot, and it will be interesting to see if he can get his against Villanova’s big men. He’s proven that he’s been able to do so against just about anybody this season, so he’ll certainly be one to watch in this one.
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