Preview & Prediction: By Jeff Borzello
All season long, everyone has talked about the Big East being the best conference in the country, with several threats to reach the Elite Eight and/or win the league. Now, though, there seems to be a clear-cut difference between the top and middle. We will get a chance to see how wide the gap really is this Saturday as No. 25 Georgetown heads to Wisconsin to take on No. 8 Marquette. Georgetown (12-7, 3-5 in the Big East) has lost four in a row and six of eight, after falling at Cincinnati on Wednesday. The Hoyas have very good computer numbers and wins over Connecticut, Syracuse and Memphis. They need to turn their season around, though. Marquette (18-2, 7-0) is one of the hottest teams in the country, having won 10 in a row. There were murmurs of the Golden Eagles being overrated earlier this season, but wins over Wisconsin, Villanova, West Virginia, Notre Dame and Northern Iowa have silenced the critics.
Georgetown has a balanced and difficult-to-defend offense, with multiple players having the ability to score inside and outside. Leading scorer DaJuan Summers is likely going to miss this game after injuring his ankle against Cincinnati on Wednesday. Greg Monroe is one of the best freshmen in the country down low. Jessie Sapp can do-it-all at guard, while Chris Wright and Austin Freeman are double-figure scorers in the backcourt. Jason Clark and Omar Wattad will have to step up for Summers. On the other side, Marquette has one of the best perimeter trios in the country in Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews. James’ scoring has gone down since his freshman year, but he has become a more productive all-around player. McNeal is a legit candidate for Player of the Year, and Matthews has drastically improved at both ends this season. Lazar Hayward is match-up nightmare given his inside-outside ability. Dwight Burke starts inside, providing some height.
A few weeks ago, this would have been a game that hoops fans would have circled on their calendars (if people do that anymore). However, with the recent Georgetown struggles and Summers’ injury, Marquette has a huge edge heading into the game. The perimeter battle should be interesting, but Hayward should have a big game without Summers defending him. For Georgetown, Monroe is going to have to dominate. Marquette is weak inside and can be beaten down low and on the glass. However, Marquette’s outside scoring and Hayward’s inside-outside ability will be the difference.
WINNER: Marquette MARGIN: 8-10
- Bracketology: Selection Sunday Projection
- Bracketology: Saturday Night NCAA Tournament Projection
- Non-BCS Top 25: Creighton, Colorado St Rise
- College Basketball Top 50: Indiana Ends Regular Season #1
- Non-BCS Top 25: Valpo Replaces BYU
- College Basketball Top 50: Maryland and Iowa St Drop Out
- Non-BCS Top 25: Davidson In, Wyoming Out
- College Basketball Top 50: #2 Gonzaga Hits All-Time High
- Non-BCS Top 25: Air Force, Davidson Making Moves
- College Basketball Top 50: Another Week, Another #1
About Jeff Borzello
National College Basketball
Jeff Borzello is a freelance writer who also runs and writes his own blog, March Madness All Season. During the season, Jeff has a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio 1300 in Baltimore and has appeared on AOL Sports Radio and CFRC Sports.. He constantly outdoes the "experts" in his projected brackets and also provides analysis and insight on every conference and team in the country. His favorite teams are Connecticut and Hofstra, showing love to both majors and mid-majors at the same time--indicative of his columns. Jeff is originally from Long Island, NY.