The Texas Longhorns and 20th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas square off on Tuesday evening at Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic.
Rick Barnes' Longhorns struggled in the Maui Invitational, dropping back-to- back games to host Chaminade (86-73) and USC (59-53 OT), but have righted the ship since, moving to 5-2 on the young season with a trio of victories over Mississippi State, Sam Houston State and most recently, UT Arlington (70-54).
John Thompson III's Hoyas find themselves in the top-25 with good reason. Georgetown has won five of its first six games on the year, with the lone loss coming in overtime to top-ranked Indiana (82-72). It hasn't always been in dominant fashion and not even pretty, but the team has won two games since the loss to the Hoosiers, including a 37-36 decision against Tennessee as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge.
These two teams have met just one time prior to this matchup. Texas posted a 78-70 victory over Georgetown in Austin in 1972.
Strong defense has led Texas to victory more often then not, with the team limiting foes to just 55.7 ppg (19th nationally), holding foes to a meager .307 shooting from the floor (1st nationally), including just .245 from 3- point range. It's a good thing the defense has been top-notch, as Texas' offensive firepower has been lacking in terms of depth. Sheldon McClellan has been in and out of the starting lineup, but remains the team's top scoring threat at 17.0 ppg. Julien Lewis is the only other Longhorn averaging double digits at 12.0 ppg.
Lewis hit a career-high six 3-pointers, leading the Longhorns to a lopsided win over UT Arlington last time out. Lewis was joined in double figures by Loannis Papapetrou, who added 17 points, while McClellan chipped in with 14 points. Meanwhile, the Mavericks fell victim Texas' staunch defense, converting a mere 18-of-61 from the field (.295). The Mavericks had not allowed an opponent to score more than 63 points all season long prior to the matchup with the Longhorns, who delivered on a season-high 13 3-pointers in the game.
For the first time since 1984, Georgetown was held under 40 points in a victory. The Hoyas shot just .364 from the floor overall, including 1-of-7 from behind the arc, not exactly a recipe for success. However, Tennessee was equally inept offensively, converting just .326 from the floor in a one-point game. Greg Whittington, Mikael Hopkins and Otto Porter Jr. all finished with a team-high eight points.
Another team that is defensive-minded, Georgetown is allowing just 58.7 ppg, holding foes under 40 percent shooting overall (.387). Despite modest offensive numbers, the Hoyas do have some diversity at the offensive end, as four of the five starters are averaging double figures. Whittington leads the team in both scoring and rebounding at 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Markel Starks is next in the scoring column at 12.3 ppg, followed by Porter and Hopkins, with 11.6 and 10.7 ppg, respectively.