The Hoyas are one of the most storied programs in the nation. They are constantly in the national limelight, and when March rolls around Coach John Thompson III always has his teams contending for a title. Last season the Hoyas fell to Alabama’s most recent opponent, VCU, in the first round. Overall, the Hoyas have 27 NCAA Tournament appearances.
That means nothing, though, on Thursday night. The only thing that holds meaning is the fact that Alabama has a chance to make a very large statement on national television (ESPN2, 8:30CT) – which could eventually impact Alabama’s NCAA Tournament hopes.
The Hoyas are a very good team in many areas of the game. Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson are the team’s most prolific scorers so far this season. Clark is accounting for 20.73% of the team’s scoring while Thompson accounts for 17.89%. The Hoyas are averaging 82 points per game and are 15th in the nation in team FG% – at 50.7%
Georgetown has played one game against a school with an RPI between 51-100, and the Hoyas suffered their only loss this season in that game – a 67-63 loss to #15 Kansas. The Hoyas best win this season came in Maui when they defeated the (then ranked #8) Memphis Tigers in overtime by a count of 91-88.
Defensively, the Hoyas are a primarily man-to-man team, although almost every team Alabama has played this season has slipped into some type of zone defense by the second half, so don’t be surprised if the Hoyas switch to a zone early. The Hoyas’ man-to-man defense has been very effective so far this season as they have generated a pretty feisty mentality. For a team with 10 freshman and sophomores combined, the fact that Coach Thompson III has been able to get this team to hold teams to 62.2 points per game is phenomenal. Still, the Hoyas have not played a defense quite like Alabama’s. Sure, they beat Memphis. Memphis is a good team. However, Memphis is a terribly young team that doesn’t see fit to defend the perimeter or play team defense.
The match-up to watch in this game has to be the length and athleticism of Georgetown versus the in-your-face and grimy style of Anthony Grant’s Alabama team. The Hoyas average height is around 6’7. Georgetown usually starts Hollis Thompson (6’8), Markel Starks (6’2), Henry Sims (6-10), Jason Clark (6’2), and Nate Lubick (6’8).
It seems blatantly obvious, but Alabama absolutely must stay out of foul trouble in this game. JaMychal Green will be needed, I presume, to lead this team tonight. Tony Mitchell as well. Trevor Releford also is going to have to play smart, and keep himself out of foul trouble and on the court as much as possible. A win against Georgetown, although they aren’t ranked yet, would definitely propel Alabama’s NCAA selection sheet when March rolls around.
Alabama is ranked #12 in the nation in this week’s AP poll.
Alabama has the fourth best RPI so far this season. Alabama has played four teams with an RPI between 51-100, and the Crimson Tide is 4-0 in those games.
Alabama continues to put up stellar numbers defensively. Alabama is second in the nation opponent’s field goal percentage. The Tide is holding teams to 32% shooting. The Tide is also eighth in the nation in opponent’s 2FG% at 36.9% on the season. Likewise, Alabama is first in the SEC, and fifth in the nation in opponent’s 3FG% at 22.2% so far this season. This means Alabama is in the top-10 in America in every defensive FG% category. The Tide is sixth in the nation (and first in the conference) in points allowed per game at 52.6. When you combine that with just how young this team really is – the fact that Alabama is playing four true freshmen in meaningful roles and meaningful minutes in every game this season – those numbers really are outstanding.
Thursday’s game is going to be tough, and it’s going to be fun to watch. Georgetown is a great team that poses more of a threat in terms of prowess than VCU did for the Tide. Alabama will have to be very fine tuned defensively in order to emerge victorious, but with an anticipated crowd that is close to a sellout the environment should be ripe for what the Crimson Tide need to be successful.
Big East-SEC Challenge
- Who: Georgetown Hoyas vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
- Where: Coleman Coliseum
- When: 8:30 Central Time on ESPN2/ESPN3