GEORGETOWN HOYAS (12-2)
at ST. JOHN’S RED STORM (9-3)
Tip-off: Monday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Georgetown -3, Total: 142
It’s fair to say that in a conference as deep as the Big East is this season, there are two types of teams. Those that are in the Top 25, and those that are trying to make their mark by beating one of those who are in the Top 25. Monday in Madison Square Garden will feature a matchup of two teams representing both of these categories. That’s when the ninth-ranked Georgetown Hoyas travel north to take on a Red Storm team that is doing something that fans of the Johnnies haven’t seen since the Clinton era (Bill, not George), and that is a fast start versus league competition. Odds.
First-year coach Steve Lavin has his team off to a 2-0 start in Big East play with both victories coming on the road. You have to go all the way back to ‘99-00, when the Red Storm began conference play at 4-0, for the last time they started off this quickly. Now the team is set to play its first Top 25 team this year, and leading scorer Dwight Hardy (16.3 PPG, 2.5 APG) is looking forward to the challenge: “We’re playing a great team in Georgetown, it’s going to be a good matchup. They’ve got some good guards, we’ve got some good guards.”
Hardy has been a workhorse for Lavin. Over his past six games he is averaging 21.8 PPG, after scoring 10.8 PPG over his first six games. Additionally, Hardy played all 40 minutes of Saturday’s 67-65 victory over Providence. Lavin has relied heavily on his most experienced players. The team’s three top scorers, as well as two of its top three rebounders, are all seniors. Justin Brownlee (14.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG) is second on the team in scoring, while D.J. Kennedy (12.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG) is tops in rebounding. Scores.
Head coach John Thompson III described his team’s first-half performance Saturday against DePaul as “flat,” adding that, “it felt like we were in quicksand.” That could probably describe the Hoyas opening Big East game against Notre Dame as well, a 69-55 defeat that saw Georgetown shoot 4-for-22 from beyond the arc while only getting to the FT line nine times. Saturday’s victory over DePaul saw a return to form of Georgetown’s big three starting guards, as Austin Freeman and Jason Clark chipped in with 21 apiece, while Chris Wright added 17. While Freeman leads the team in scoring at 19.2 PPG, he is trying to reverse several negative trends against St. John’s. In four previous contests against the Red Storm, Freeman is averaging just 10.0 PPG, and in two games played at Madison Square Garden versus the Johnnies, he has totaled only eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.
Georgetown hopes that this trip to the Garden resembles their last trip there, when they made it to the Big East Championship before losing a heartbreaker to West Virginia. Look for the Hoyas to try and use its league-leading perimeter attack (40.3% three-point FG) to their advantage as they go against a St. John’s team that is the worst in the league at defending the three-pointer (37.6%).
Are the Red Storm back and ready to make it a 3-0 start in league play, or do you need a little more proof? Maybe Monday night’s game in the Garden provides the answer to both questions.
This FoxSheets stat shows why Georgetown will win and cover the spread.
Play On – Road teams where the line is +3 to -3 (GEORGETOWN) – off a home win scoring 85 or more points, playing with one or less days rest. (30-7 over the last 5 seasons.) (81.1%, +22.3 units. Rating = 3*).
These two FoxSheets trends side with the Under.
ST. JOHN’S is 25-7 UNDER (78.1%, +17.3 Units) in a home game where the total is 140 to 149.5 since 1997. The average score was ST. JOHN’S 66.8, OPPONENT 66.5 – (Rating = 3*). Las Vegas odds.
ST. JOHN’S is 8-0 UNDER (+8.0 Units) off a win against a conference rival over the last 2 seasons. The average score was ST. JOHN’S 62.6, OPPONENT 60.6 – (Rating = 3*).