We Are Georgetown and You’re Not: Hoyas Seeking Upset Against Villanova

It is ridiculous to say that one weekend in January will define Georgetown’s (12-5, 4-2 Big East) entire season.

The 61-59 win against Butler (13-6, 3-3 Big East) will not clinch a tournament berth for the Hoyas, nor will the game against No. 5 Villanova (17-1, 4-1 Big East) determine whether or not they qualify for postseason play. But these games could reveal whether the Blue and Gray are a true contender, or a team still struggling to put it all together.

Villanova presents the toughest in-conference test the Hoyas will face all season as the lone juggernaut in a conference full of strong teams that have a hard time distancing themselves from each other. Knocking off the Wildcats would go a long way towards proving the Hoyas’ legitimacy as a serious threat in March. Further, a win would send Georgetown to the top of the Big East standings, and catapult them back into the national rankings.

“If you look at our league every game is tough. The difference between the top and the bottom is miniscule. We have once again on Monday a very good team coming in here and we need to be ready to play,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said.

The Hoyas seem like they might have put it together just in time for their most important stretch of the season to date. The home team enters the game having won two in a row and four of their last five.

“We’re just playing hard,” said senior guard Jabril Trawick. “When things get tough we grind it out. Coach Thompson always says to keep grinding it out no matter what and that’s what we’ve been doing these last two games. It was a tough game on the road against DePaul and tonight Butler came in and they played us tough but we played tough and we were able to come out with the win.”

Freshman forward Isaac Copeland has played his best basketball during this stretch, an emergence welcomed by the Hoya faithful. Against Butler on Saturday, he scored an enormous 10 points—all of which came in the second half—including a game-winning three pointer with six seconds remaining on the game clock. As with any freshman, Copeland has had to adjust to the college game, but he seems much more comfortable now than earlier in the season.

“I wouldn’t say [my success] is about Butler specifically, I would say it’s me having confidence game in and game out,” Copeland said.

Georgetown will need all of its talented freshmen to play well Monday night as they face a team with incredible balance as well as talent. Five Villanova players can boast scoring averages in the double-figures, making it almost impossible to plan for their offense.

A team cannot take away their best option, because they have four more players who are just as effective. Leading the way for the Wildcats have been guard combos of senior Darrun Hilliard and junior Dylan Ennis—who Hoya fans may recognize as the younger brother of a former enemy in Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis. Depth and talent have proven a winning combination for the Wildcats, whose lone loss came earlier in January against Seton Hall.

Still, while the Wildcats have size with junior Daniel Ochefu and senior JayVaughn Pinkston, they should have no answer for Georgetown senior center Joshua Smith, whose size makes him a matchup problem against almost every single team in the nation.

The 9:00p.m. tip-off should be met by a rabid Verizon Center crowd, as two long-time Big East rivals meet to decide supremacy of the young conference that still bears the old name. And sure, the entire season doesn’t hang in the balance, but it would feel pretty good to see Georgetown back atop the Big East standings.

Photo: Georgetown University

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