The Bulldogs in a game against Saint Louis earlier this season. Butler starts Big East play on the road against Georgetown. Collegian file photo.
JOSH MULLENIX | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Who: Butler vs. Georgetown
When: Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
How to Watch: FS1
It’s finally time. After going 10-3 in non-conference play, the Butler men’s basketball team begins their Big East schedule on the road against the Georgetown Hoyas. The Hoyas are 10-1 heading into conference play. However, the caliber of the teams they have faced is not great, playing only one top-200 team according to KenPom. Georgetown was picked to finish ninth in the Big East heading into the season. Here’s what you need to know as the Bulldogs try to start conference play off on the right foot.
That right foot is REALLY important
The Bulldogs might very well have the toughest start to their conference schedule in the country. After beginning with Georgetown, Butler will proceed to face Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall and Creighton in that order. All four teams are ranked in the top 25 in the country and occupy four of the top five preseason rankings in the Big East. Getting off on the right foot in conference play against Georgetown will be crucial. Win against Georgetown and the Bulldogs start with a road win in conference. Start with a loss and Butler could very possibly be staring an 0-5 start right in the face. If the Bulldogs manage to go 2-3 in this five-game stretch, it’s a good start to conference play. The first step is beating a Georgetown team that Butler outclasses at almost every position on the floor.
Stopping Jessie Govan
It’s indisputable that Georgetown’s strength of schedule thus far has been weak. But the Hoyas have a machine in the form of Jessie Govan in the middle. The 6-foot-10 center is the best player for this team, averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds so far this season. Govan is also tied for 15th in the country with seven double-doubles. He can step away from the basket, knocking down seven of his 16 3-point attempts. Govan also averages 1.7 blocks per game, so he gets it done on the other end of the floor as well. When Butler played Purdue, the Boilermakers’ shot blockers had a field day. The Hoyas have a tree of their own that makes it hard to convert around the rim. Making Govan work for all his points and pulling him away from the basket will be important to Butler’s success. Another effective game from Butler’s Nate Fowler would go a long way toward achieving that goal.
Two first year coaches in their first Big East Game
Butler’s LaVall Jordan and Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing face each other in their first Big East game as head coaches. Ewing is in his first year of his first head coaching job and Jordan is at the helm after being in the Horizon League at Milwaukee. Big East conference play is a different beast from anything these two coaches have experienced in their coaching careers. Wednesday’s game will be a welcome party to one of the toughest conferences in the country for both coaches.