This College Hoops handicapper shares his valuable pick for the Marquee Match of the night between perennial Big-12 Champ Kansas Jayhawks and the Georgetown Hoyas.
Kansas vs. Georgetown (-2-) 7:00 ET FS1
This game will draw huge national attention, as it features perennial Big 12 Champ, Kansas, who consistently fields a Top 10 team under 12th year HC Self. In the last 5 seasons, this program has averaged 31 wins per year. Georgetown represents the Big East. It is a conference, which as little as 2 years ago, was ranked No. 1 in the nation. But, conference realignment has divested this once proud Eastern league of many of its power teams, including Notre Dame, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The Hoyas will be playing with conference pride on the line.
This season, Self has had to replace 2 early entry NBA players in Wiggins and Embiid. Fear not for the Jayhawks, as the reloading process is going well. They are again a team to beat in the Big 12, were ranked in the Top 10 in all pre-season polls, have the power of an Allen Fieldhouse home court and the motivation of being knocked out last year’s NCAA Tourney in the Sweet 16 by Stanford. An early season embarrassment at the hands of Kentucky (72-40) has sparked Jayhawk pride as they enter on a 5-game winning streak, including victories against Michigan St. and Florida in their 2 previous games.
Georgetown, however, figures to be the more motivated side. Not only are they playing with Big East Conference pride, but with revenge for a 64-86 defeat to these Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse last December 21st. Last year was an underachieving season for the Hoyas at 18-15 SU, 8-10 SU in Big East play. That record was a rare season in which the Hoyas did not win 20 games. It also resulted in an NIT bid, which saw them lose to Florida St. in the 2nd round of the NIT. This is not only a very talented team, but a highly motivated team, after late November narrow losses to Top 20 teams, Wisconsin and Butler. In the Georgetown tradition, this year’s team features Josh Smith, a 350 pound mountain of a man, who missed all of last season after transferring from UCLA. Georgetown will also feature the best perimeter player on the floor in Smith-Riviera. He is ably aided on the offensive end by frosh Phenom, LJ Peak, who is chipping in 10 PPG. They represent outstanding offensive triplets for a Hoya offense who can succeed with an inside-outside attack. The Verizon Center has long been asset for Georgetown. Including 4-0 SU this season, the Hoyas are 48-5 SU on this court the previous 3+ years.
Georgetown has a lot going for it in this matchup. First, they are facing Kansas at the beginning of a reloading season. They also have the motivation of conference pride, revenge from last year, as well as the strong home boards of the Verizon Center. Georgetown victory, a high percentage selection in this matchup!
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Georgetown at 5Dimes -1.5 (-105)