After suffering a tough loss to Butler (15-7, 4-6 Big East) Tuesday night, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (13-10, 6-4 Big East) looks to get back on track Saturday night on the road against Seton Hall (16-6, 6-4 Big East). The Pirates, led by Head Coach Kevin Willard, are enjoying one of their most successful seasons in recent history, and they have the potential to reach the NCAA tournament if they can keep up their strong play. Seton Hall defeated Providence (18-5, 6-4 Big East) on the road at the Dunkin Donuts Center in January and lost to Villanova (19-3, 9-1 Big East) at home by just one point.
In their last game, the Pirates defeated the Marquette Golden Eagles (15-8, 4-6 Big East) by a score of 79-62. The current Big East Player of the Week, sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead, scored a game-high 21 points while sophomore forward Angel Delgado had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Whitehead also added eight assists, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals. This season, Georgetown has struggled to defend breakout guards on opposing teams — Providence junior guard Kris Dunn scored 26 points last week against it — so limiting Whitehead will be key.
“The teams that don’t get as much appreciation are just as tough to battle night in and night out [because] they’ve got some great players,” senior guard and co-captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera said of Big East competition early in the season. “But hopefully at the end of the race, we’re on top.”
The Georgetown women’s basketball team (12-9, 5-6 Big East) returns to McDonough Arena this weekend after winning three straight games on the road. Georgetown will face off against conference rivals Marquette (11-11, 6-5 Big East) and DePaul (17-7, 9-2 Big East) — two teams that have already beaten it this season.
“Being able to come off that road swing with three straight road wins, it shows our growth. It shows our maturity,” Head Coach Natasha Adair said. “Those last three games — Villanova, Providence, Creighton — the light bulb came on. They’re getting it. … Three games on the road — that’s pretty good.”
In its matchup with Marquette earlier this season, Georgetown took a commanding lead in the first half. The Hoyas led by 10 points at the conclusion of the first quarter and then strung together a 7-0 run in the second period to extend their advantage to 18 points. Going into the locker room at halftime, Georgetown led by 12.
IPPOLITO: Broncos’ Defense Must Stifle Running Game
Eighteen Super Bowls ago, the Denver Broncos made history by winning their first title after defeating the heavily favored Green Bay Packers. During the trophy presentation, owner Pat Bowlen declared, “This one’s for John!” in reference to John Elway, the hall-of-fame quarterback who put this team together and is now the general manager. In 2014, Bowlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and has not attended a game this season. Bowlen will not be in attendance at the Super Bowl this weekend in Santa Clara, Calif.. Like Bowlen now, and the entire team in 1997, the Broncos are underdogs again. However, there is still reason to hope and believe that Denver can win this one, and win it for Bowlen.
The Broncos will rely on what got them to the Super Bowl in the first place: defense. The Broncos, by most statistical measures, boasted the league’s best defense over the course of the 2015 season and were at their best two weeks ago against quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Denver pressured Brady all afternoon and hit him 23 times. Just as they did two weeks ago, Denver’s major pass rushers, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson, must find ways to pressure the Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and force mistakes. By forcing Newton to throw on the run or into tight coverage windows, Denver’s ball-hawking secondary should have opportunities to knock down or intercept passes. If Denver can win the turnover battle, then it can pull off the upset.
AUERBACH: Carolina’s Postseason Dominance Poses Threat
The last time the Carolina Panthers played in the Super Bowl, it was 2004. They lost the championship game to the New England Patriots, an American Football Conference team led by a young Tom Brady capturing his second Super Bowl ring. This Sunday, the Panthers will again face off against a superior quarterback in the big game, but this time, in the form of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. However, based on the Panthers’ outstanding defense, multi-faceted running game and versatile quarterback, this year’s Super Bowl will likely tell a very different story than it did 12 years ago.
The Broncos’ defense kept them at an elite level this season — especially while undergoing the turmoil of having to sit Manning and start inexperienced Brock Osweiler — and led the league in overall and passing defense. However, it would be a mistake to consider the Panthers’ defense inferior by comparison. The Panthers ranked sixth in the league in overall defense, behind the Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals — and the Panthers have already beaten two of those teams. They also boast some of the best individual defensive players in the game: Luke Kuechly, Josh Norman and Jared Allen, to name a few.