Villanova takes on Georgetown in the first round of the Big East Tournament | Preview
Written by David Szczepanski on March 8, 2023
To begin their Big East tournament play, Villanova will battle Georgetown at 8pm from Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Wildcats finished 16-15 overall and just 10-10 in Big East games, including a tough 12-point loss to UConn on Saturday night. Nova was on a three-game winning streak before the loss to the Huskies. Villanova earned the six seed in the Big East this season and will play the last place Big East finisher in Georgetown. Since 2014, Villanova is 27-3 at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats are 17-2 in the Big East tournament during that time span.
Georgetown won only seven of their 31 games this season. The Hoyas also won just two Big East conference games. The Hoyas defeated DePaul on January 24th in Washington, DC and they defeated Butler in Indiana on February 19th. They are just 1-11 in away games this season and have also lost three straight games.
First Two Matchups
Villanova and Georgetown matched up two times during the regular season. The Wildcats defeated the Hoyas in both games by a combined win margin of 20 points. However, the most recent contest between these two rivals came on January 16th at the Finn where Villanova came back in the final minutes of the second half to only defeat Georgetown by four points.
The leading scorer for the Wildcats in both of those victories was Caleb Daniels, who scored 36 combined points against the Hoyas. Daniels has been struggling recently on the offensive side of the ball. At one point in the season, Daniels was the average leading scorer for Nova with around 16 points per game. However, Daniels has not scored more than 13 points in a game since February 11th. Hopefully, for the Wildcats, Daniels will have another amazing game offensively against the Hoyas.
Eric Dixon leads the Wildcats in scoring this season with 15.7 points per game. The junior forward from Willow Grove, PA scored only seven points against UConn, but carried the Wildcats to a victory on February 25th against Creighton by scoring 31 points. Throughout this season, it seems like when Eric Dixon has a great game, the Wildcats usually have a great game and win. Dixon averaged 11 points per game in the first two matchups against Georgetown. Eric Dixon was also named to the Second Team All-Big East earlier this week.
Justin Moore, a senior guard for Nova, has averaged 13.6 points per game this season since returning from injury. Moore has been fantastic for the Wildcats by scoring double digits in four of his last five games, including 23 points against Seton Hall and 25 points against Xavier. Moore also had 17 points against the Huskies.
Cam Whitmore was just unanimously named to the Big East All-Freshman Team on Sunday. Whitmore has averaged 12.6 points per game this season and 5.1 rebounds. He also averaged 10.5 points per game against Georgetown this season.
Mark Armstrong was also named to the Big East All-Freshman team on Sunday. Armstrong, who will most likely come off the bench tonight, has averaged five points per game this season.
Georgetown has three scorers who average more than 12 points per game. Primo Spears, a sophomore guard from Connecticut, averages 15.9 points. Spears scored 21 points against #24 Creighton on February 1st. Spears has only shot 29.9% from three this season, which is slightly down from his numbers last season; however, Spears shot a combined 48.5% from behind the arc in his last two games. He is also averaging 13.5 points against the Wildcats this season including around eight assists.
Brandon Murray, a sophomore guard from Maryland, has averaged the second most points for the Hoyas this season with 13.9 points per game. Murray struggled against Creighton on March 1st, where he scored just nine points and shot 27.3% from the field. Murray averaged 9.5 points per game in the two matchups against Nova this season. Jay Heath, a junior guard from Washington DC, averaged 12.5 points per game this season and 3.7 rebounds per game. Heath was 0-6 from the field on March 1st against Creighton and did not play either game earlier this season against the Wildcats.
Tonight’s Game + How to Listen
The Wildcats and Hoyas both average around 70 points, but Georgetown’s defense has struggled this season by giving up more than 78 points per game. Villanova’s defense has averaged 67.9 points against them this season. The Wildcats are 14-3 when holding opponents to below 70 points. After sweeping the Hoyas this season, the Wildcats head into NYC as the big favorite for tonight’s matchup. However, the Wildcats are just 1-6 against Georgetown in the Big East tournament. The winner will take on Creighton tomorrow night at 9:30pm.
WXVU will have complete coverage of tonight’s game beginning at 7:45pm with the Pregame Show. To listen, you can stream the broadcast through our WXVU website, the 89.1 FM Dial (near the Main Line), or by downloading the FREE RadioFX app and searching for Villanova University.