Time and Date: Saturday, February 9 @ 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena (Washington D.C.)
Records: Butler (13-10) | Georgetown (15-8)
Rankings: Butler (#56 NET) | Georgetown (#73 NET)
TV Channel: FSN (Check local listings)
Stream: FOX Sports GO (Where available)
If you’ve seen the “Battle of the Bastards” episode from HBO’s Game of Thrones, then you know what it feels like for teams 3-8 in the BIG EAST standings. They can all relate to Jon Snow when he is trapped underneath the feet of thousands of soldiers, friend and foe alike. He lunges desperately for air and tries to pull himself to his feet but every time he is met with another boot to the face. It seems certain that he will either suffocate or be trampled to death.
Butler and Georgetown, two of the BIG EAST’s six Jon Snows (all of whom are separated by just one game in the standings), face off this Saturday in a crucial game for both teams. They opened conference play against each other, and the Hoyas got the best of the Bulldogs, winning by eight at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Since then, neither team has been able to gain much traction in the conference, both winning about half their games and going a combined 0-4 against Villanova and Marquette. Both have suffered ugly losses every time they’ve seemed to get some positive momentum going.
Butler, somehow, has managed to stay just on the edge of the bubble despite already amassing ten losses on the season. Georgetown is not currently on the bubble, but may be able to play its way back onto it.
This time, both teams are coming off of a victory; Butler held on at home to beat Seton Hall and Georgetown clamped down on Providence in one of its best defensive efforts of the season. Georgetown has put up a bunch of high-point totals, while Butler has struggled offensively for much of the season. This game may come down to who controls the pace.
Both of these teams are close enough to the top of the BIG EAST heap that they could climb into the top tier with a few consecutive victories. Saturday is critical for either team hoping to escape the pileup.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Georgetown: Run and gun
Butler’s offense simply can’t keep up with Georgetown’s if the Hoyas are clicking. The Hoyas have put up 80 and 90 points several times this season. If they’re able to put up that many, they will likely beat the Bulldogs no matter how they play defensively. Georgetown should push the pace, look for transition buckets, and shoot plentiful threes. The offense is good enough that it could completely take Butler out of the game.
Butler: Ride the Jorgensen wave
Due to poor shooting and reduced playing time, Paul Jorgensen had not been a factor for the Bulldogs in several games. Against Seton Hall, he went off, scoring 18 points and hitting threes at some crucial junctures. Jorgensen has been a streaky player his whole career, and there’s a good chance he’ll come into Saturday’s match-up ready to shoot. Kamar Baldwin and Jordan Tucker were both awful against Seton Hall, but the Bulldogs managed to win anyway. If Jorgensen can have another good game and Butler can get more typical performances out of Baldwin and Tucker, the Bulldogs can win on the road.