Hoyas on verge of Big East crown, as they take on Wildcats

12:03 PM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The red-hot Georgetown Hoyas will try to earn at least a share of the Big East Conference regular season title when they visit the Villanova Wildcats for a league conflict at the Pavilion.

Georgetown wasn't on the national title radar coming into this season or even for much of the campaign itself. However the Hoyas have been rolling since the end of January with wins in 11-straight games as they scaled the Big East standings and the national rankings. At 13-3 in league action the Hoyas would have at least a share of the Big East title with a win on Wednesday. Georgetown has also risen to the fifth spot in the AP Top 25 while earning a pair of first place votes for its trouble. Georgetown will host long-time rival Syracuse in a Big East rematch in Saturday's season finale.

Villanova is closing its regular season slate on Wednesday night. The Wildcats are still a fringe team when it comes to its chances for a NCAA Tournament bid and a win against the Hoyas would go a long way. The Wildcats have lost two- straight contests including a 73-64 setback against No. 20 Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Wildcats are now 18-12 overall while a middling 9-8 in league action. Villanova will have to await the outcomes of this weekends bouts to see its seeding for the upcoming Big East Tournament.

This is the first meeting of the season between these long-time Big East rivals. Georgetown owns a 42-28 edge in the all-time series with wins in eight of the last nine matchups.

Led by 28 points from Otto Porter, Georgetown held off a feisty Rutgers squad in its last battle. The Hoyas earned the 64-51 victory by limiting the Scarlet Knights to just 37 percent shooting while consistently getting to the free- throw line. The Hoyas had a 30-6 edge from the stripe while attempting nearly 30 more shots.

Just as Georgetown has risen into the national spotlight so has Porter (16.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg). The 6-foot-8 forward was named Big East Player of the Week for the third straight week on Monday and has fast become the frontrunner for Big East Player of the Year. Porter has scored at least 20 points in three straight games including a 33-point outburst in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse. Markel Starks (12.2 ppg) is the only other active player on the roster scoring in double figures and has been a steady force in the backcourt for the Hoyas. Georgetown has been sensational on defense this season ranking in the top 10 nationally in points allowed (56.3 pg) and opponent field goal percentage (.376).

Villanova led for the entire second half against Pittsburgh before James Robinson forced overtime with a 3-pointer late in the game. The Wildcats allowed the Panthers to score the first seven games in the extra session and were never able to reclaim the advantage.

Ryan Arcidiacono (12.2 ppg, 3.4 apg) was the leading scorer in the loss as he dropped in a game-high 23 points. The freshman guard has certainly shown promise this season but he has been erratic with his shooting as he nets just 35.8 percent from the floor. JayVaughn Pinkston (12.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg) is a matchup nightmare for opponents with the size to battle down low and the speed to make plays on the perimeter and in the mid-range. Darrun Hilliard (11.4 ppg) suffers from a lack of shooting consistency like Arcidiacono as he also connects on less than 40 percent from the field. Poor shooting is a problem for everyone on the team as the Wildcats own the third worst field goal percentage in the conference (.415).

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