Washington, D.C. – The Villanova Wildcats begin their final road trip of the season today as they visit the nation's capital for a Big East Conference battle with the Georgetown Hoyas at the Verizon Center.
Today will be the 70th contest in the rivalry between Villanova and Georgetown. While the most famous game between these programs was the 1985 National Title game in which Villanova pulled off a miraculous upset, the Hoyas have been dominant as of late, winning eight of the last nine meetings. The Wildcats have not been successful against Georgetown since Jan. 17th, 2010.
Head coach Jay Wright has been extremely successful since taking over the helm of the Villanova program, however this season has been his worst with the team. The Wildcats are 11-16 after losing in overtime for the second straight game on Monday as Connecticut's Shabazz Napier drilled a 29-foot three-pointer to knock off VU. Before the heartbreaker against the Huskies, Villanova battled the nationally ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish into overtime before losing 74-70. Villanova, which has appeared in the NCAA Tournament every year for the past seven seasons, will need to run the table in the conference tourney to make it the Big Dance once again.
The recent battles by the Wildcats should not be disregarded, as they have been without the team's leader and engine Maalik Wayns. The junior point guard, who has been sidelined with a sprained MCL, is probable to return to action today. Dominic Cheek led the team with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the recent loss to Connecticut, while JayVaughn Pinkston, Ty Johnson, and Mouphtaou Yarou all scored in double-figures as well. Pinkston has emerged as possible leader for the future, as the freshman forward has had two double- doubles and two 20-plus point performances in his last four outings.
John Thompson III will try to get his Hoyas to bounce back from their disappointing 73-55 loss at Seton Hall on Tuesday. The Hoyas, who are ranked second in the Big East in scoring defense with an allowed average of 59.2 ppg, were blasted by the Pirates. Seton Hall knocked down 60 percent of its shots from the floor against the usually frustrating Georgetown defense. Offensively, the Hoyas were held under 60 points for just the fifth time this season. Despite the hiccup against the Pirates, GU still has an impressive 20-6 overall record and is positioned in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big East standings.
Georgetown will look to the trio of Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson, and Henry Sims to guide it past Nova. Clark is leading the team with 14.5 ppg, while Thompson is second with 13.2 ppg. Sims is contributing 11.3 points, 5.5 boards, and a team-best 3.5 assists per contest, while Otto Porter's 6.7 rpg is leading the squad. None of the Hoyas managed to score in double-figures in the embarrassing loss to Seton Hall on Tuesday.