The Texas Longhorns (5-2) take on their first ranked opponent this year, squaring off against the Georgetown Hoyas (5-1) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Hoyas are ranked 15th in the AP Poll, with wins over the UCLA Bruins and Tennessee Volunteers. Their lone loss was to the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers, an overtime loss in the Legends Classic.
Georgetown started the season unranked, but good showings in marquee matchups has its stock flying high. The Longhorns are the Hoyas' last marquee opponent before Big East play, so look for Georgetown to try and make a statement. For Texas, this is their first real quality opponent in a brutal five-game stretch that includes UCLA, Michigan St., and North Carolina. A great start to December would go a long way towards buoying confidence.
Georgetown is led by sophomore All-American candidate Otto Porter. He's a "five tool" player, leading the team in APG (3.2), SPG (1.8), and BPG (1.8). A projected lottery pick after this season, Porter is also averaging 11.6 PPG and 7.8 RPG. Jonathan Holmes will have his hands full.
The Hoyas essentially deploy a four-forward starting lineup, with sophomore Mikael Hopkins manning the interior and sophomore Greg Whittington and junior Nate Lubick floating around. Whittington, in particular, is a matchup nightmare. He has a 4 man's body combined with a perimeter-oriented game. His 12.7 PPG and 8.7 RPG are team highs, and he essentially never comes off the court, averaging 37.8 MPG.
Junior Markel Starks, a 44.4% 3-pt shooter this year, is the team's de facto point guard. Georgetown runs the famed Princeton offense, which oft leads to a grind 'em out game. Texas fans should be intimately familiar with watching painful offensive sets. Freshman combo guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who had a Texas offer, is a credible scoring spark off the bench along with sophomore slasher Jabril Trawick.
For more on Georgetown, check out Jonathan Tjarks' Q&A with Georgetown alum Bryan Toporek.
This is a winnable game for Texas. The Longhorns have been strong defensively this year, and have the size and athleticism to cause Georgetown fits. The Hoyas are a poor shooting and offensive rebounding team, which should scream "ZONE DEFENSE." Leveraging their length, the Longhorns have occasionally deployed the zone this year, and I expect to see it in heavy doses tonight.
Offensively, the Longhorns will need to pick their spots, utilizing their speed to create open shots. Like Texas, Georgetown has the length to disrupt offensive flow, and the guards will need to control the rock and limit turnovers. Expect a low-scoring, brutal to watch game. Hopefully, it's one the good guys win.
Texas is informed by NCAA that sophomore guard Myck Kabongo cannot travel to NYC for Tue game vs Gtown as NCAA continues investigation.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) December 3, 2012
TEXAS (5-2) vs. Georgetown (5-1)
Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 • 6 p.m. CT
New York, N.Y. • Madison Square Garden (19,763)
Dan Shulman, (play-by-play); Jay Bilas (analyst); Andy Katz (reporter).
Radio: Longhorn IMG Radio Network
Craig Way (play-by-play); Eddie Oran (analyst).
Satellite Radio: XM 202 / Sirius 216
Streaming Audio: TexasSports.com