No. 20 UConn men’s basketball, fresh off a pair of strong wins against the Butler Bulldogs, will look to extend its winning streak to four when it welcomes Georgetown to town on Tuesday.
The Hoyas (6-10, 0-5 Big East) have yet to win a conference game this season and are on a six-game losing streak that stretches back to Dec. 15. Patrick Ewing has just one KenPom top-100 win this season, defeating Syracuse at home on Dec. 11, while they also fell to No. 247 Dartmouth on opening night and suffered a 14-point home defeat to Butler on Jan. 13.
When: Tuesday, Jan. 25, 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Gampel Pavilion — Storrs, Connecticut
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: UConn Sports Network
Odds: UConn -17.0, O/U 148.5
KenPom Predicted Score: UConn 84, Georgetown 67
The Huskies (13-4, 4-2 Big East) have also won five of six, with the one loss being in overtime on the road against No. 24 Seton Hall in their first game in nearly three weeks after a pause due to COVID-19. UConn is in the middle of a stretch of several winnable games, first with the home-and-home against Butler, then later this week, when the Huskies travel to DePaul.
Dan Hurley’s crew has done well to win the games in front of them and should continue to do so on Tuesday, with a distinct talent advantage over the Hoyas.
When UConn has the ball
This will be a game that should feature some offensive fireworks for the Huskies. Georgetown has one of the worst defenses in the Big East, ranked No. 252 by KenPom in adjusted defensive efficiency, surrendering 106.6 points per 100 possessions, a rating that is among the worst for UConn opponents this season. In contrast, the Huskies are slotted No. 26 in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 113.6 points per 100 possessions.
The Hoyas are one of the tallest teams in the country, with three seven-footers and another that is 6-foot-10. It’s rare that 6-foot-9 Adama Sanogo has the opportunity to look small, but that may not come to complete fruition. Malcolm Wilson has not played more than four minutes in the past four games, Ryan Mutombo has been limited as well, and the final tree in Ewing’s stable, Timothy Ighoefe, was 0-for-3 from the field with five rebounds in 20 minutes against Villanova, looking ineffective for large stretches this season. Despite giving five inches on Mutombo, Sanogo, who was a rebound short of his fourth consecutive double-double on Thursday against Butler, should be able to continue to be the focal point of the offense if the Hoyas’ taller players are limited or ineffective on the defensive end, as they have shown is a possibility.
As for the guards, Georgetown is vulnerable to the deep ball. Opponents shoot 35.8 percent from 3-point range, which is No. 296 in the country. Andre Jackson was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc in the two games against Butler and despite only 26 attempts, is shooting greater than 50 percent this season, while Akok Akok and Tyrese Martin are also greater than 40 percent shooters, albeit also with fewer than three attempts per game.
When Georgetown has the ball
Like St. John’s and unlike Butler, Georgetown likes to get out and run. The Hoyas average 71.0 possessions per 40 minutes, which is No. 31 in the country. However, this leads to turnovers, as the Hoyas cough the ball up 14.4 times per game, which is No. 287 in the country. This should play right into UConn’s defensive strengths, as Jackson, RJ Cole, and Isaiah Whaley each average at least a steal per game, while Martin and Jalen Gaffney are not far behind. The Huskies are very active defensively and are No. 87 in the country in turnovers per game, as well as No. 85 in turnover margin. This could be a bad combination for the Hoyas, but a great one for the Huskies.
The offense flows mostly through freshman guard Aminu Mohammed, who leads the team in scoring and minutes, as one of two players to appear in all 16 games so far for Georgetown. He averages 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and at 6-foot-5, should draw either Martin or Jackson for most of the game.
Donald Carey (45.7 percent) and Kaiden Rice (40.6 percent), the latter of whom leads the Big East in attempts by nearly a full shot, are two 3-point threats that the Huskies will need to watch. Rice, who is 6-foot-7, is also in the top 25 nationally in attempts but has remained efficient from beyond the arc.
In Georgetown’s last outing, against No. 11 Villanova, the Hoyas led at the half, partially due to a 4-for-10 performance from deep. However, the home team cooled considerably in the second 20 minutes, permitting Villanova to storm back and take the lead for good with 10:07 left in the game, ultimately winning by double-digits. UConn will likely win comfortably if they can guard the 3-point shot and force turnovers, but anything can happen in the Big East.