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Georgetown Returns to Postseason Basketball Wednesday Evening

Jessie Govan leads the Hoyas into the postseason for the first time in his four-year career.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgetown Hoyas (19-13) will play in their first postseason game since the 2015 NCAA Tournament’s third round on Wednesday evening when they host the Harvard Crimson (18-11) in the first round of the NIT. The Hoyas earned a #3 seed following an up-and-down conclusion to their season, which featured wins over NCAA Tournament teams Seton Hall and Marquette and a 32-point loss to CBI-bound DePaul.


HOW TO WATCH OR STREAM

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday March 20

TV: ESPN2

Stream: WatchESPN


SERIES HISTORY

Last Meeting: Georgetown won, 86-70, on December 23, 2009.

All-Time: Georgetown leads, 3-0


Betting Odds and Ends

Moneyline: Georgetown (-220), Harvard (+180)

Spread: Georgetown -6.5 (-110)

O/U: 150 (-110)


Preview

Georgetown will have to contend with Harvard’s leading man, Bryce Aiken, who scored 22.6 points per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor, 40 percent from deep and 85.5 percent from the line in conference play. In his most recent game, Aiken scored 38 points, which included 12-for-12 shooting from the line. He provides the Crimson with a counterweight to Georgetown’s backcourt of All-Big East Freshman Team selection Mac McClung and Big East Freshman of the Year James Akinjo. The duo averaged 13 points apiece and exceled at pushing the pace, often combining in the open court to score or assist layups throughout the regular season. However, they were turnover prone (5 turnovers per game combined), as can the entire Hoyas roster. Georgetown was third-worst in the Big East at maintaining possession, surrendering 13.6 turnovers per game while forcing only 12.1 themselves. Luckily for the Blue & Gray, Harvard turns the ball over nearly 16 times per game, which could allow Akinjo, McClung and fellow All-Big East Freshman of the Year honoree Josh LeBlanc to leak out in transition for easy baskets.

The Crimson have fielded several different starting lineups throughout the year, with nine players starting more than five games. In his team’s last four games, Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker—whose name which Hoya fans will remember from two years ago, when many considered him to be a front-runner for the then-vacant Georgetown coaching job—has started Chris Lewis and Kale Catchings in the front court. With Lewis measuring 6-foot-9 and Catchings 6-foot-6, the Hoyas might look inside to their All-Big East First Team center Jessie Govan on the offensive end. Govan can light it up on the offensive end both inside and out, and he averaged 17.3 points and 7.6 rebounds over 32 games. With his hook shot having developed well over the course of the season, Govan could find numerous opportunities to score against an undersized Harvard front line.

When Govan does miss, LeBlanc, who averaged 7.3 rebonds during the regular season, will look to clean up on the glass. Georgetown averaged 3.6 more rebounds per game than Harvard on the year, and extra possessions on the offensive end could help limit Aiken’s impact on the other side of the ball. The Hoyas will need to be wary, though, as the NIT is once again experimenting with new rules. Should either team grab an offensive board, it will have just 20 seconds, rather than the usual 30, to attempt another shot. Other experimental rule changes include extending the 3-point line to the FIBA international distance of 22 feet, 1.75 inches and widening the free-throw lane from 12 to 16 feet.

Wednesday’s game will take place in McDonough Arena on the Georgetown University campus. This will be just the second time since the 2014 NIT that the Hoyas play in the historic gymnasium; they lost their most recent game in McDonough to Arkansas State on Nov. 17, 2016, in what many would argue was a catalyst in John Thompson III’s eventual firing.

The winner of Wednesday’s game will either travel to #2 seed NC State (22-11) or host #7 Hofstra (27-7) in the next round.