Georgetown (12-3) at South Florida (9-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tampa Bay Times Forum (20,500) -- Tampa, Florida. Television: MASN, Big East Network. Home Record: Georgetown 9-1. USF 7-4. Away Record: Georgetown 1-1, USF 2-3. Neutral Record: Georgetown 2-1, USF 0-0. Conference Record: Georgetown 2-2, USF 0-4. Series Record: Georgetown leads, 8-3.
GAMES NOTES: The Georgetown Hoyas will look for their third straight win in a Big East conference clash with the South Florida Bulls at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday night.
The Hoyas have bounced back from losses in their first two conference games with back-to-back wins against St. John's (67-51) and Providence (74-65) in their last two outings. Georgetown, which has spent time in the national rankings for much of the season, is now 12-3 overall and with the victory against the Red Storm, an even 1-1 in just a pair of true road tests. The Hoyas will take on Notre Dame in South Bend next.
South Florida has been defeated in all four of its conference contests after a 70-67 loss on the road to Rutgers on the Thursday. The once promising season for the Bulls has hit a wall since league play began with the Bulls now just 9-7 overall. The majority of the Bulls' success has come at home though with the squad 7-4 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. South Florida takes to the road to play Seton Hall in its next matchup.
Last season Georgetown dominated South Florida, 74-45, to earn its third straight win against the Bulls, while increasing its all-time series lead to 8-3.
Led by 20 points from Otto Porter, Georgetown was easily able to get past Providence last time out. The Hoyas ran out to a 38-19 lead at halftime by shooting 66.7 percent in the first 20 minutes while holding the Friars to just 27.6 percent. The Hoyas cooled to 39.1 percent shooting in the final period but used a 17-of-22 effort from the free-throw line to hold off the Friars.
The Hoyas play a slow, grinding style predicated on production from the frontcourt. That type of pace has kept the Hoyas to be the second-worst scoring team in the conference (64.5 pg) despite shooting a respectable 45.6 percent from the field. However it is on defense that the manner of play that Georgetown plays at has been more effective with the Hoyas allowing just 56 points per game on 38.5 percent shooting. Both of those marks are among the top 30 nationally. Porter (13.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg) will need to continue to have efforts like he had against Providence considering frontcourt battery mate Greg Whittington (12.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) was suspended indefinitely due to academic issues earlier in the week. In his place Miakel Hopkins (7.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and Nate Lubick (7.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg) will need to up their production. In the backcourt Markel Starks (11.9 ppg) has been a solid complement.
Although it never trailed by more than eight points, South Florida was never able to get over the hump in the second half against Rutgers. The Bulls cut their deficit to three twice in the last three minutes but by missing on its last two field goal attempts were unable to pull off the rally. South Florida shot an even 50 percent in the game and hit 7-of-18 shots from beyond the arc.
South Florida is a team that plays with a similar tempo in comparison to the Hoyas. The Bulls are scoring a Big East low 62.5 points per game (62.5) while shooting the second worst percentage from the field (.413). Like the Hoyas those offensive numbers have been enough to carry the Bulls who allow just 60.8 points per game on 39.5 percent shooting. Production from the interior has been key for the Bulls as well with all three of its double figure scorers manning the interior. Victor Rudd (11.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Jawanza Poland (10.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) make up that trio while Anthony Collins (9.6 ppg, 7.1 apg) runs the show from the perimeter, ranking second in the conference in assists.
Neither of these teams will have the advantage in terms of setting the tempo as both prefer similar styles of play. Having Whittington out could prove to be an issue for Georgetown, but if Hopkins and Lubick can take steps forward and Porter continues to play well the Hoyas should be able to overcome his absence yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgetown 70, South Florida 60
01/19 10:32:20 ET