It's the same old story for tonight's game versus Georgetown. Huge Big East contest that will turn into a bloodbath. Rinse. Repeat. I could write pretty much the same thing for every conference game starting February 1 through the end of the season. Tonight's tilt is no different.
Coming off a nice "easy" 18-point win that was closer than the final score indicates, the Bearcats look to stay in the "W" column as they welcome the Georgetown Hoyas to Fifth Third Arena. Currently, the Hoyas share first place with Syracuse and Marquette at 8-3 and have won eight of their last nine games. The Bearcats stand 7-5 but a win would bring them to within one full game of first place. Of course, to reach first they would have to climb over seven other teams. Not impossible, but not likely.
Fortunately for the Bearcats, first place is not the only way they reach the postseason. But, it would be nice to climb the ladder for a better conference tournament seed, plus it would allow them to climb in NCAA tourney seedings. But that's all a long way away. First things first.
Now while it is true the Bearcats have won the last four meetings against Georgetown - the most recent being that double-overtime thriller in the Big East Conference Tournament at MSG last spring when UC overcame a 10-point second half deficit to stun the Hoyas - all that is thrown out the window tonight. And you can be assured Mick Cronin and JT III have reminded their teams about the current streak.
Key for the Cats to winning tonight is slowing down Otto Porter Jr. They're not going to stop him, but slowing him down will go a long way toward achieving victory. Over his last nine games, Porter is averaging 18.6 points. Also, Markel Starks has really come on lately. He's picked his scoring up to 14 points per game over his last nine. It's no wonder how the Hoyas have been able to pull into a tie for first.
Hopefully several factors point to a Bearcat win.
- They are coming into this game off a win. Confidence will be much higher than if they had lost three straight
- Friday night home game. The crowd should be rocking. I haven't heard sales numbers but you would hope for something near a sellout for such a big game and big name in town
- UC has won four straight and may have figured out Georgetown's vaunted Princeton offense
- UC still needs this one more than Georgetown does. This team typically plays better when their backs are against the wall. And they are to a certain extent
Obviously getting (and keeping) Cashmere Wright healthy is a humongous factor for UC. He may not be their best player, but in my eyes he's their most valuable. When he's hitting shots this team is far more dangerous. Sean Kilpatrick is going to find a way to get his points, but he needs someone else to help with the scoring. Tuesday it was Jaquon Parker. Perhaps all three of the "Amigos" can find their stride collectively starting tonight.
Oh, one more thing. I have provided the kiss of death for UC unfortunately. Everything laid out before this matters none compared to what I'm about to share. I was asked to do a opposing team Q&A session for Casual Hoya (SB Nation's Georgetown blog) and when asked to provide a prediction for tonight's game, I actually picked UC to win 62-58. So, I must apologize as the Bearcats will now go down in flames tonight. I will take full responsibility and accept all blame. I don't know what I was thinking. Either way, Go Bearcats and maybe perhaps I got it right.
Oh yeah, vote in the poll below...