Time and Date: Wednesday, January 6 @ 7:00 pm ET
Records: Butler (2-5) | Georgetown (3-6)
Rankings: Butler (#84 KenPom) | Georgetown (#106 KenPom)
TV Channel: FS1
Watch Online: FOX Sports GO
Spread: Butler (-5.5)
Two scuffling BIG EAST teams meet Wednesday when Georgetown and Butler square off at the legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse, which was recently named as one of this year’s NCAA Tournament venues. Butler comes in with a two-game losing streak while the Hoyas have lost three straight.
Both showed signs of life in their most recent appearances. Butler took Seton Hall down to the wire, eventually letting the game slip away in the final minutes. Georgetown dominated Marquette early, amassing an 18-point lead at one point before the Eagles roared back to get the win.
Hoyas star Jahvon Blair will look to leverage his experience against Butler’s freshmen guards. Blair is averaging 19.8 points in his last four games and will have a significant size advantage over the opposing backcourt. In the paint, the dynamic will be flipped, with experienced Bulldog big men Bryce Nze and Bryce Golden battling the rapidly improving sophomore, Qudus Wahab. Wahab’s defense and rebounding will be a major key for Georgetown in this one.
Butler will look to control the tempo. The Bulldogs are #332 in the country in possessions per game, while the Hoyas are up at #52. Georgetown has shown it can win a shootout, topping St. John’s 97-94 on overtime earlier this year, but has struggled in the halfcourt. The good news for the Hoyas is that the Bulldogs have been far from elite in the halfcourt themselves; but they did show marked improvement against Seton Hall, especially defensively.
The Bulldogs seem like a good pick to win this one and, indeed, they are favored by five and a half points. Through the loss of their star player and a demanding early schedule, they have improved every game and looked reminiscent of the typical quality Butler team in their most recent game. Georgetown, meanwhile, has mostly been spinning its wheels, though the hot start against Marquette showed what the Hoyas can be capable of.
The key to the game will be Wahab. Nze and Golden have really struggled in all facets of the game for Butler and the Bulldogs will be without reserve JaKobe Coles again after it was announced that he is suffering from a torn meniscus. Meanwhile, Wahab is emerging as a dominant paint player; if he can control the interior, Georgetown should pull off a mini-upset.