GEORGETOWN HOYAS (11-7)
at CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS (16-3)
CenturyLink Center Omaha - Omaha, NE
Tip-off: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Creighton -11
Georgetown will look to snap its three-game losing skid on Saturday on the road against Big East-leading Creighton, which is coming off a 96-68 destruction of No. 4 Villanova.
The Bluejays entered Monday's game at Villanova coming off their first Big East loss to Providence, but handed the Wildcats their biggest loss of the season with an impressive three-point barrage (21-of-35). The dominant win improved Creighton to 12-5 ATS overall and 5-2 ATS against Big East foes, and the team is also an impressive 6-2 ATS at home. The Hoyas, meanwhile, have lost three straight to Xavier, Seton Hall and Marquette, going to overtime against the Golden Eagles in their last game Monday before falling 80-72. All three games were ATS defeats, dropping Georgetown to 7-10 ATS on the season, which includes a 2-5 ATS mark in the Big East and 1-3 ATS record on the road. Saturday marks just the second meeting all-time between these schools with the Bluejays winning 80-79 in the lone matchup in 1970.
Which team will pick up the crucial Big East victory on Saturday? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 59% ATS (166-114-5) mark, including a stellar 63% ATS (134-80) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 63% ATS (35-21-1) in Best Bets for the season and 67% ATS (28-14) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (34-22-1) for the season and 71% ATS (17-7) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Zach is a strong 58% ATS (32-23-1) on Best Bets this season, including 62% ATS (26-16) since Nov. 22. StatFox Gary is 56% ATS (31-24-2) for the season, and 62% ATS (23-14) since Dec. 3, while StatFox Scott is 59% ATS (34-24) for the season and 62% ATS (24-15) since Dec. 2.
Georgetownís best attribute is its stingy defense that holds opponents to 66.9 PPG on 39.3% FG (30th in Div. I) and 30.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Where the Hoyas have struggled mostly is on the glass, producing a mere 35.2 RPG (187th in nation) and getting outrebounded by an average of 4.0 RPG during their current three-game losing skid. Although this isn't a great offensive club with 72.3 PPG (168th in Div. I), the Hoyas do shoot a strong 47.0% FG (61st in nation) and a decent 34.4% threes. Junior SF Mikael Hopkins (6.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG) and senior PF Nate Lubick (5.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG) lead the team in rebounding, helping make up for 6-foot-10 C Joshua Smith now sitting out due to academic issues. Making 66% FG, Smith was one of the teamís more efficient offensive players, averaging 11.5 PPG in just 19.9 MPG. Sophomore SG DíVauntes Smith-Rivera (17.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.1 APG) leads the team in scoring and has been a lights-out shooter, hitting 2.3 treys per game on a 47% clip. He hit 4-of-5 from distance for 24 points in the teamís loss to Marquette on Monday. Senior PG Markel Starks (15.9 PPG, 3.9 APG) is the teamís second-leading scorer and top passer, and he put up 28 points against the Golden Eagles. But without Smith and junior SG Jabril Trawick (7.1 PPG on 57% FG) who has an injured jaw, players such as Lubick and Hopkins will have to become bigger threats on the offensive end.
Creighton has the nationís top passing offense, tallying 18.8 APG. The unselfish play and great ball movement leads to 82.6 PPG (19th in Div. I) on 49.5% shooting (10th in nation). Not only do the Bluejays make 11.4 threes per game (most in Div. I), they do so on a 43.7% clip, which also leads the nation. All of this was on display in their upset against Villanova, when they their first nine three-point attempts and finished with 25 assists on 33 made field goals. National Player of the Year candidate PF Doug McDermott (24.8 PPG on 50% FG, 7.1 RPG) leads the offense and is averaging 26.8 PPG over the teamís past four contests. Heís averaging 2.5 threes per game on a 44% clip this season, providing serious matchup problems for defenses with his 6-foot-8 frame. He's also nearly automatic from the free-throw line, making 102-of-113 attempts (90.3%). Six-foot-7 senior SF Ethan Wragge (12.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG) is just as much of a problem, hitting 3.9 threes per game at a blistering 50% clip (74-of-148). He tied a school record with nine threes against Villanova, draining 9-of-14 long-distance shots. Versatile senior SG Grant Gibbs (6.1 PPG, 4.1 APG, 3.4 RPG) remains out with a knee injury, so junior PG Austin Chatman (7.1 PPG, 4.2 APG) has assumed the ball-handling duties. He excelled against the Wildcats with a career-high 10 assists and just two turnovers, improving to a 2.5 Ast/TO ratio for the season. Senior SG Jahenns Manigat (8.6 PPG, 46% threes) and junior SG Devin Brooks (8.2 PPG, 38% threes, 4.0 RPG) are also important scorers if teams key in on McDermott, with Manigat dropping 19 points on 6-of-7 FG (4-of-5 threes) versus Villanova.