College Basketball: Villanova at Georgetown - Georgetown Favored
55% of Bets Placed on Georgetown -5 | Matchup | CBB Picks
Georgetown survived the rigors of the competitive Big East to win the regular season title. Now it embarks on the challenge of duplicating that effort as it tries to capture the conference tournament as well.
The ninth-ranked Hoyas (23-6, 13-3), trying to become the first Big East top seed in five years to win the conference tournament, open play in the quarterfinals against Villanova on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Oddsmakers have made Georgetown -5 point spread favorites
Georgetown enters the Big East tourney with wins in 12 of its last 13 games and is the top seed for the first time since 1989, the last year it won the conference tournament.
"The regular season is over, and we're sitting at the top, and that feels pretty good," coach John Thompson III said. "I've got to be honest about that."
No. 1 seeds haven't fared well in the Big East tournament the past two years, though, as Connecticut lost in its first game last season and Boston College dropped its opener the season before. A top seed hasn't won the tournament since the Huskies did so in 2002.
"The parity is tremendous," Thompson III said of a league that sent a record eight teams to the NCAA tournament last season. "The difference from the guys at the top and those not at the top is minuscule."
The Hoyas won their first regular season title since 1995-96, finishing with just three conference losses - their fewest since 1989 - but one of those came against the Wildcats.
The teams split the season series, with each winning once on the road.
Ninth-seeded Villanova won 56-52 on Jan. 8, snapping the Hoyas' seven-game winning streak and handing them their only conference defeat at the Verizon Center.
Georgetown took the rematch 58-55 on Feb. 17, as Big East player of the year Jeff Green scored 19 points and hit the winning shot with 19.8 seconds remaining.
"We've just had two great games,'' Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "This is going to be a battle, man. That's what it's all about when you get here.''
The 6-foot-9 Green and 7-0 Roy Hibbert, both unanimous selections to the All-Big East first team, have controlled the inside for the Hoyas all season and disrupted opponents on the defensive end.
Green had 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while Hibbert had 18 points and 12 rebounds in Georgetown's 59-46 victory over UConn in its regular season finale Saturday.
The Hoyas held the Huskies to 35.8 percent shooting, relying again on the tough defense that has keyed their success this season. They are fifth in the nation in scoring defense at 56.5 points per game and 10th in field-goal percentage defense at 38.8.
Georgetown held Villanova, the fifth-highest scoring team in the Big East (73.4 ppg), to its two lowest point totals of the season.
Wildcats freshman Scottie Reynolds, who had 16 points in the win over the Hoyas, was named Big East rookie of the year Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Reynolds scored 29 points and made eight free throws in the final 4 minutes to lead Villanova to a 75-67 victory over eighth-seeded DePaul in its opening-round game.
"Scottie knows what he's doing and he can run the show,'' said Wright, who team has won four straight and eight of 10.
Reynolds had 18 points in the second meeting with Georgetown and is averaging 26.5 points in his last six games, including a 40-point performance in a win over UConn on Feb. 28.
The Wildcats advanced to the conference tournament semifinals last season as a No. 2 seed, while the Hoyas reached the other semifinal as the fifth seed.
by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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