At one point a near-lock to wrap up a double-bye in the upcoming Big East Tournament, West Virginia finds itself just a game ahead of Louisville and Marquette in the race for one of those final two slots. They host a Georgetown squad that's in serious need of some positive momentum coming off of a double-digit home loss to Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon. The formula for the Hoyas is a rather simple one: as Chris Wright goes so do the Hoyas. John Thompson III's team can avoid this simple fate when Austin Freeman and Greg Monroe are both scoring but it undoubtedly makes things tougher for Georgetown. The junior point guard needs to be ready to go from the start on Monday night.
As for West Virginia getting off to slow starts has been an issue of late. They aren't the most accurate team when it comes to shooting, ranking 11th in the Big East in field goal percentage in league games at just over 43%. But their offensive rebounding has been what's kept them in the top four of the Big East all season; the Mountaineers have an offensive rebounding percentage of 42.1% which is the conference's best by 2.6 percentage points. The Hoyas must keep the likes of Da'Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones off the boards if they're to have any chance of winning on the road. It's the rebounding that makes West Virginia a slightly more efficient offensive team and if Georgetown can take that away they've got the edge.
Part two of the Red River Rivalry follows that one and with Oklahoma being shorthanded and slumping this could be the game where Texas rebounds from a loss at Texas A&M. J'Covan Brown took a bad fall on Saturday and may not be available but with Willie Warren likely being out the Longhorns still have the edge. And in the SWAV first-place Jackson State hosts second-place Arkansas-Pine Bluff with the opportunity to both extend their win streak to eleven and wrap up the outright regular season title. The Tigers had to hold on in the first meeting, winning 72-67 after leading by as many as nineteen in the first half. Round three could come in the SWAC Tournament final.
6:30p Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Jackson State
7p ESPN Georgetown at West Virginia
9p ESPNU North Carolina A&T at Morgan State
9p ESPN Oklahoma at Texas
West Virginia over Georgetown: The Mountaineers may be prone to slow starts of late but what their trio of Butler, Ebanks and Jones will give Bob Huggins on most nights is pretty much known. As for Georgetown's Chris Wright, he's the player whose performance is most tied with the Hoyas' record. Tough to see him going off in Morgantown; Mountaineers by eight.