Basketball Preview: Breaking down the big games
The Voice‘s annual basketball preview issue came out today, but this year our coverage couldn’t be confined to the newspaper. Below, we break down the four biggest game on the Hoyas’ schedule. Also check out our men’s preview and the rest of our coverage.
November 21 vs. #13 Kansas Jayhawks
The Hoyas face a big challenge in only their third game of the season, playing against No. 13 Kansas in the first round of the Maui Invitational. Although the defending Big 12 champions lost their top three scorers from last season, the Jayhawks are still expected to compete for a national championship. Both teams will be determined to start the season strong after being upset by VCU in last year’s NCAA Tournament—Georgetown in the first round and Kansas in the Elite Eight.
For Georgetown to have any shot at securing a signature win against this perennial juggernaut, they are going to have to match up with the Kansas big men down low and limit second chance opportunities for the physical, fundamentally sound Jayhawks. It could be a tall task—Georgetown finished an abysmal 238th in rebounding last year, while Kansas was 19th.
December 1 at #17 Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama basketball has been consistently overshadowed by the success of the school’s elite football program, but this could be a huge season for the No. 17 Crimson Tide as they look to build off last year’s success. They return most of their key players from a team that finished atop the SEC West and reached the NIT final, including the impressive forward tandem of JaMychal Green (15.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season) and Tony Mitchell (15.4 points and 7.1 rebounds). The Hoyas’ task becomes more difficult, as they must challenge ‘Bama in Tuscaloosa, where the Tide were unbeaten last year. To win, Georgetown must contain Green and Mitchell and avoid underestimating this emerging program.
December 22 vs. #9 Memphis Tigers
Perennial mid-major powerhouse Memphis will visit the Verizon Center at the start of winter break looking to avenge last season’s loss. Employing an up-tempo run and shoot style offense, Memphis can be extremely hard to stop if they get hot. Last year’s top three scorers, Will Barton, Joe Jackson, and Tarik Black, are all sophomores and will be even better with a year’s experience under their belts.
Many experts believe the Tigers can make a significant tournament run in March after easing through their conference schedule. Georgetown will need to slow the tempo of this game and force Memphis to play into the Hoyas’ more preferred half-court game if they want to limit the Tigers’ athletic advantage.
February 1 vs. #4 Connecticut Huskies
Despite having a worse conference record than Georgetown last year, the Huskies caught fire at the right time and won the national championship. Losing consensus All-American Kemba Walker hurts, but the team is still loaded with talent. Swingman Jeremy Lamb is a preseason All-American, while big man Alex Oriakhi offers a dominating presence down low. Meanwhile, freshman center Andre Drummond is expected to top many NBA draft boards in June and could quickly emerge as one of the best players in the nation. Georgetown is going to have to play an almost perfect game to beat the defending champs, but victory is not out of the question, especially with the Verizon Center hosting what should be the marquee matchup of the Hoyas’ Big East schedule.