NCAA woes lead Hoyas to Wright St.

NCAA woes lead Hoyas to Wright St.
November 13, 2013, 8:45 am
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Matchup: Georgetown (0-1; Big East) vs. Wright State (1-0, Horizon)

Broadcast: TV - Fox Sports1, 7:00 p.m.; Radio - 570 AM.

Location: Washington, D.C, Verizon Center

Projected starting lineups: Hoyas –- G Markel Starks, G Jabril Trawick, G D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, F Nate Lubick, C Josh Smith. Raiders –-  G Reggie Arceneaux, G JT Yoho, G Matt Vest, F Cole Darling, F A.J. Parcher

Coaches: Georgetown -- John Thompson III (10th year); Wright State --Billy Donlon (4th year)

Spread: Georgetown -10

Last time out: Despite a career-high 25 points from Smith, the Hoyas lost their season opener 82-75 to Oregon in South Korea. The Raiders defeated Mount St. Joseph 82-49.

History: First ever meeting

KenPom: Georgetown 26, Wright State 92

Why Wright State: The planning for the Hoyas' second game of the season is all about the first game of the NCAA Tournament.

Some project the Raiders as Horizon League champions this season. Based on the conference's recent history, that could mean trouble for an opening round foe. The Hoyas have obviously had issues with mid-majors in recent seasons, falling to double-digit seeds Davidson, Ohio, VCU and Florida Gulf Coast since 2008.

"Putting the schedule together, I looked at them as one of the opponents - that's an NCAA Tournament team," Thompson said. "They are one of if not the favorite to win their league. ...When I said a couple of weeks ago [that] this is one of the harder schedules we've ever had, I wasn't thinking about the Kansas', the Michigan State's, the Oregon's of the world. The laymen know who they are.

"I'm thinking about the Wright State's, the Elon's and other people like that on our schedule that the casual fan may not know, but they're going to end up more than likely as an NCAA Tournament team. They're going to end up as a team that's a likely first round opponent so just to get that experience is something that we wanted.

"They're a veteran team, they have everyone back from last year. They have an inside presence, a perimeter presence. They're all seniors and juniors. It's going to be a very difficult game - and that's by design."

The Raiders: Wright State returns the bulk of last season's team that set a school record with 23 wins and paced the Horizon League in points allowed per possession. Top returning scorer Darling (11.3 ppg in 2012-13), who is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered last season, is one of 10 upperclassman on the roster. The 6-foot-10, 245-pound Parcher likely draws the assignment of defending the 6-foot-10, 350 pound Smith.

Question marks:

1) All things Smith - The former UCLA transfer had a dynamic scoring debut and flashed his passing game credentials, but other areas lacked. Georgetown lost the battle of the boards 40-32 to Oregon. Though he had four offensive rebounds, Smith incredibly didn't grab a single carom off the defensive glass. Speaking of defense, the center struggled with his rotations, leaving open shooters. Surprisingly, conditioning wasn't much of an issue as Smith played 27 minutes despite dealing with foul trouble. Thompson said on Tuesday that he has no script for the big man's minutes going forward.

2) Outside touch - Georgetown went 1 of 15 from beyond the 3-point arc against Oregon. On Tuesday, all involved spoke more about tweaking play execution as how to fix the matter rather than worry about the actual misses. Wright State held opponents to 31.1 percent last season.

3) Jet lag - The Hoyas left Seoul at 10:15 a.m. Sunday. Their flight landed locally at 9:30 a.m., also on Sunday. That gives players and coaches just over 80 hours to adjust those body clocks before Wednesday's tip. Based on comments and some tired eyes, that hadn't happened as of Tuesday afternoon when the media visited. "No, I'm not," Thompson said when asked about whether he conquered jet lag from this trip. "I hope the kids have. Tomorrow at 7, it will be perfect."

They said it:

"Our biggest letdown was our defense. Normally our defense is going to be there. We're going to make it hard for the opposition to score. There were too many times where they go easy baskets in transition and halfcourt and that's just not who Georgetown is." - John Thompson III on the Hoyas' defensive effort versus Oregon

"The emotion, it was great. No matter what the score was, I was just happy to be back out there." - Josh Smith on playing his first game with Georgetown and his first game in nearly one year.

"You've got a 6-foot-10, whatever pounds, plays 27 minutes and doesn't get an offensive rebound. How would you assess that? Probably the same I would," Thompson on Smith's rebounding woes.

On deck: The Hoyas are back on the overseas road again for three games in four days as part of the Puerto Rico Tip-off. Georgetown faces Northeastern on November 21, either Kansas State or Charlotte on the 22nd before its final game on November 24 against possibly Michigan, VCU or Florida State.