TV, Times, and Lines:
Date: Thursday, February 24th
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
Spread: DePaul -2.5
Total: O/U 145
In what seems to be just the battle of the bottom of the Big East, there are a couple of storylines to look out for.
1: DePaul can still be the 9 seed in the Big East tournament.
When the Blue Demons lost to Butler last week, it seemed like DePaul would be stagnant in the 10 slot. But, after losing its last 3 games, the Bulldogs have only one less loss than DePaul. Still, it would be no cakewalk for the Blue Demons since Butler has 3 more wins, but nonetheless, obtainable. With Butler’s last two games at Marquette and then against Villanova, it is reasonable to assume that the Bulldogs will finish conference play 6-14. This means that if DePaul wins out, it would be one game ahead of Butler.
Why does this matter?
The 9/10 seed is not of the same significance as the 5/6 seed (5 would secure a first-round bye), but it is still very important. If DePaul secured the 9 seed, it would most likely play Providence in the second round instead of Villanova. The difference between the two teams? DePaul took Providence to OT at the Dunk but lost to Villanova by 24 at Finneran. Although it is nowhere near probable that the Blue Demons will win the Big East tournament, securing a 9 seed gives them a much better chance.
2: Georgetown can pick up its first Big East win.
Sitting at 0-15 in conference play, there are only 4 games left for Georgetown to get in the Big East win column. Let’s be real. Tonight is the best (and maybe only) chance of that happening. The seat right now is moderately hot for Patrick Ewing and would be scorching if it was anyone else. I know it doesn’t look notable, but there is a huge difference between 1-19 and 0-20 in conference play.
Going into this season off of an NCAA tournament appearance, the only way that anyone could even fathom Ewing and Georgetown parting ways was if the Hoyas did not win a single conference game in 20 tries. Crazy, right? Well... it is not starting to seem as crazy anymore.
Not only would a win be big for Ewing it would also boost what can only seem like a completely deflated team morale. Who knows...maybe a win tonight will spark a sequel of last year’s tournament run for Georgetown.
In the first matchup between Chicago’s team and D.C.’s team, Chicago came away valiant. This was in large part due to a 26-0 run from the Blue Demons in the second half. While DePaul’s offense has struggled at times during the Big East season, it definitely did not against the Hoyas. Led by a 22-point triple-double from David Jones, DePaul scored 82 points. This was only 1 of the 3 games that 5 Blue Demons put up double-digit points.
As for the Hoyas in game 1, Aminu Mohammed and Kaiden Rice stole the show. Freshman Aminu Mohammed had an impressive 16-point, 10-rebound double-double, and The Citadel transfer Kaiden Rice torched DePaul, scoring 24 points, all off of 3 pointers.
Expect more of the same from both teams in game 2. When given the opportunity to play not great defenses, these teams will take advantage. As a matter of fact, DePaul (100.4) and Georgetown (106.3) rank bottom two on KenPom in adjusted defensive in the Big East.
Between Georgetown’s defense and the injuries of David Jones and Javan Johnson, all DePaul scholarship players will have the chance to shine. Look for another great game from Courvoisier McCauley, as well as Javon Freeman-Liberty to score 25+ points.
Although the Hoyas have an 0-15 Big East record, they are still playing tough for Patrick Ewing. With its best opportunity at a Big East win, I think Georgetown is going to play extra hungry tonight. On the other side, DePaul can secure its 4th win of Big East play, and that is what I think is going to happen. In a high-scoring affair, like I previously mentioned, DePaul star guard Javon Freeman-Liberty will look like an All-Big East First Team player, as the Blue Demons win by double digits.
DePaul wins, 84-71