Earlier we looked at reasons why Georgetown will knock off No. 18 Kansas on the road this Saturday. Now, three reasons why the Hoyas six-game winning streak comes to end...
1) Joshua Smith can't stay on the court: As a sophomore with UCLA, Smith fouled out with one point in 13 minutes during a 16-point neutral site loss to Kansas. As a 305-pound freshman, he had 17 points and 13 rebounds - eight offensive - in 28 minutes at Allen Fieldhouse as the Bruins lost 77-76. While those games took place two and three seasons ago and with Smith on a different team, the similarity in competitiveness could ring true this weekend depending on which Smith shows against the Jayhawks.
When the junior big man sits, the Hoyas inside scoring punch sits with him. In addition Georgetown loses the ability to play inside-out and lacks a true run-stopper/player who can easily get to the free throw line. Now, Smith's minutes have been spotty all season thanks to foul trouble and coach John Thompson III trying to keep the 350-pounder fresh. When the 70 percent field goal shooter and 14-point a game scorer sits, Georgetown relies on Mikael Hopkins, Nate Lubick and Moses Ayegba. Those three actually provide superior rebounding and defensive help than Smith, but not offensively. For the Jayhawks, 6-foot-8 freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins (15.9 ppg), forward Perry Ellis and 7-footer Joel Embiid average 39.8 points. If the Hoyas have to keep three frontcourt types on the court to contend with the Jayhawks trio - Wiggins and Embiid are the No. 1 and 4 prospects respectively per DraftExpress - and Smith isn't one of them for half the game, keeping up on the scoreboard will be challenging.
[RELATED: Why the Hoyas win at Kansas]
2) Losing the turnover battle - Outside of the extreme matchup against VCU's full court pressure, the Hoyas are averaging 11.3 turnovers per game. Kansas' freshman-heavy lineup averaged 18 turnovers in its three losses, which have come in the Jayhawks last five games. In recent setbacks to Colorado and Florida, the Big 12 program's lineup lost the combined turnover stat 38-16. That's all positive for the Hoyas. It needs to remain that way, which could be tricky seeing as Georgetown's first true road game this season comes at venerable Allen Fieldhouse.
3) Non-existent scoring depth: With the ability to lead the team in virtually every category, D'Vauntes Smith has turned into Georgetown's most complete player. Markel Starks remains the emotional leader not to mention a prominent scorer. Both can make shots in bunches, both can get to the free throw line. When one or both have an extended shooting stretch with significantly more missing than making, look out. Outside of Smith, there is no true scoring backup plan, especially in halfcourt sets. Only Smith-Rivera has consistently knocked down 3-pointers this season, though Starks broke out of a prolonged slump from beyond the arc against Elon. Maybe underclassmen Reggie Cameron and Stephen Domingo have a breakout game in Lawrence, though Georgetown coach John Thompson III hasn't shown much faith in either of his young wings. If Smith-Rivera and Starks aren't at their shooting best, somebody will need to step up. Who that would be is anyone's guess.
Bonus reason: Wiggins may not be the next LeBron James 10 games into his college career, but the talent and upside are undeniable. In terms of pro potential, Georgetown has no match, not this season. One popular way to pick the NCAA Tournament bracket, favor the team with the most NBA prospects. Those who choose to use a similar methodology in December will easily choose the Jayhawks over the Hoyas.