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B1G Hoops Game of the Week: Indiana vs. Georgetown

The two storied programs square off on Saturday in the new home of Big Ten hoops....I guess: Madison Square Garden.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Who: Indiana Hoosiers vs. Georgetown Hoyas
When: Saturday Dec 27, Noon ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: ESPN2
KenPom Rank: Indiana - 41; Georgetown - 30
KenPom Line: Georgetown -2

There wasn't a team in the country with more negativity surrounding them in the weeks leading up to the 2014-15 college basketball season than the Indiana Hoosiers. Sophomores Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson were suspended for failing drug tests and freshman Emmitt Holt was suspended and cited for underage drinking. On top of that Holt incident, he also hit teammate Devin Davis leaving him in critical condition in the hospital. Was Tom Crean the problem? Was he losing control of this once illustrious basketball motivated institution? Fast forward to Nov. 24 when Eastern Washington came into Assembly Hall and stunned the Hoosiers 88-86. Now the questions transitioned to if Crean would make it to Big Ten season. But after a convincing win over Pitt in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, a hard fought first half performance against a clearly superior Louisville team and a win over in-state rival Butler have Indiana as a potential sleeper team in the Big Ten.

Last Week

In case you haven't heard yet, Rayvonte Rice isn't human. We've checked and this is was what we found. That shot didn't exemplify this game to the full affect, but what a way to end it. After a Kendrick Nunn foul allowed Missouri to set up an inbounds play, Wes Clark knocked down a mid-range jumper to tie the game at 59. It was a very Bruce Weber-esque final play of the game allowing one guy to handle the ball at the top of the key waiting for a ball screen with about six seconds left on the clock. Like I said last week, it wasn't going to be a pretty performance by any means, but it was certainly another great ending in the Braggin' Rights series.

Ryan is now 1-1.

Tale of the Tape

Indiana (10-2)

This may be the most potent offense in the Big Ten able to go off for 90 in any given night. The Hoosiers boast the fourth highest output in points per game in the country scoring just over 86 points in their 12 games. Junior point guard Yogi Ferrell became the 48th player in Indiana history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark and is second on the team in scoring this year averaging 16.3 per game. The guards certainly have more fire power this year in Bloomington welcomed by a few new faces. Freshman McDonald's All-American James Blackmon Jr is a tremendous off the ball shooter and complements Ferrell perfectly. It's hard to put a label on guards nowadays as specifically shooters or driving guards, but Blackmon's 47.4% from the field allow so many driving lanes to open up for Ferrell. Since there isn't a true low-post threat on this team, it's a style similar to Notre Dame and Iowa State in which there's a lot of ball screen action on the perimeter and keeps the lane open for the dribble drive.That lack of a low-post presence is also one of the reasons Indiana is 272nd in the country in points allowed this season.

Player to keep an eye on: Sophomore forward Troy Williams (12.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg)

In the Hoosiers' two losses this year, they have been outrebounded 89-66 including 26 offensive rebounds surrendered to Louisville. Cody Zeller, D.J. White or even Austin Etherington (transferred to Butler) isn't down low guarding the paint for Indiana this year. If Indiana has any chance on Saturday, it starts with limiting Georgetown on the second chance opportunities and Williams has to lead the charge.

Georgetown (7-3)

It seems like a long time since Georgetown was a two seed in the South Regional of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The loss to #DunkCity sent Georgetown to the newly remodeled Big East with a loss that would live in infamy. This certainly isn't the Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green version of the Hoyas, but this is still the same tough defensive minded JT3 team we seem to forget about every year. Led by junior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and UCLA-transfer Josh Smith, who should be labeled as a building and not a center, the Hoyas are looking for another resume building win this week.

Player to keep an eye on: Junior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (13.3 ppg, 3.8 apg)

What a matchup it will be with Smith-Rivera and Yogi going at it, but I give the advantage to Smith-Rivera. Both guards are capable to go for a double-double on any given night, but as aforementioned; Indiana doesn't exactly scare a lot of teams defensively. Smith-Rivera led the Hoyas in scoring, rebounds and assists in their game against Wisconsin earlier in the year in the Battle 4 Atlantis. His ability to drive, especially in transition, will need to drive to be in full force for Georgetown to be able to keep up with Indiana.

PREDICTION: Georgetown 71, Indiana 64

Rebounding. Rebounding. Rebounding. I know I sound like Penn State football head coach James Franklin, but Georgetown's ability to dominate the glass and get out in transition will be the difference. The mystique of MSG is always in favor of the Hoyas against non-conference opponents. Just ask Michigan State last year, who everyone thought was the national champion in February. Indiana gets exposed defensively despite a great backcourt performance from Ferrell-Blackmon-Johnson. Defense triumphs over the Hoosiers.

Other games to watch this week: (NOBODY IS SAFE AT HOME IN THE BIG TEN UNTIL CONFERENCE SEASON BEGINS)

Saturday

  • Wright State at Ohio State