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February 17, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Take Georgetown at -7 spread against St. John's risking 3%

The St John's Red Storm travel to the Verizon Center tonight to take on the Georgetown Hoyas in a Big East matchup. This is a game where the recent performance of each team has severely altered the public perception. St Johns comes into this matchup having won 3 straight games and are coming off what many would consider a major upset over Xavier on Saturday. The Musketeers had been dominant on their home court this season so for a team like St John's to go on the road and defeat Xavier, it immediately caused people to take notice. Their stock is no doubt on the rise after that victory and many will be expecting them to duplicate their results for this game tonight. We feel that is a lofty expectation, especially playing in back to back road games on short rest. 

Meanwhile the Georgetown Hoyas have dropped 3 of their last 5 contests, but do come into this game after picking up a convincing win over the Seton Hall Pirates on the road on Tuesday. While the stock of St John's is arguably the highest it has been this season, people are seemingly forgetting what a quality team this Georgetown Hoyas club is. Georgetown is ranked 20th in the RPI Standings and has played the 4th toughest schedule this season! They have been a great shooting team and are always looking to take high percentage shots which are a big reason why they shoot over 46% from the field on average. Six players score at least 6.3 points a game for the Hoyas with two averaging in double figures so far this year. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera averages 15.5 points a game while handing out a team best 3.3 assists and Joshua Smith contributes 11.3 points and a team high 6.3 rebounds per contest. Georgetown is a team that likes to pound the ball inside, they are not a team that relies on the three pointer as much as many teams do, and they prefer to attack inside with consistent scoring rather than relying on outside shots. When they have shot the 3-ball, they have been fairly consistent shooting 34.7% from beyond the arc with Smith-Rivera leading the team with 50 triples. 

A big advantage for the Hoyas is that they are an incredibly deep team. Nine players average at least 13 minutes a game for the Hoyas this season, giving them plenty of depth to allow key players a breather. It also allows for players to rotate in and out without sacrificing much in the way of scoring by always having fresh legs on the court. The Georgetown defense has also been solid this season, giving up just an average of 65 points per contest while ranking 38th in the nation in blocks and 43rd in steals. They are also a team that plays very fundamentally sound and has been very protective of the basketball. Georgetown averages just 13 turnovers a game. When they have committed 13 or fewer turnovers, the Hoyas are 11-0 and 8-3 ATS in lined games this season. When they have played a very sound fundamental game, they have been incredibly hard to beat, especially on their home court. 

While St John's comes into this game on a 3 game winning streak, we are reluctant to completely buy into their mid-season resurgence as prior to this 3 game stretch, the Red Storm had dropped 7 of their 10 previous games. The fact that they are a team that has limited depth had really hurt them and was a big reason for their struggles; they would start out fast only to fade in the second half of games. They employ just a 6 man rotation who sees double digit minutes per game. After such an emotional road victory over Xavier and now a quick turnaround to play in another road game against a top team like the Hoyas, one has to question whether fatigue will come into play late in the game given their lack of depth. They will likely find themselves in a letdown spot against a team that has thoroughly owned them in the past. The Hoyas are 6-1 and 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings with St John’s and those victories have not even been close. All 6 wins have been by double digits with the average margin of victory being 16.7 points! Georgetown has had a week to prepare for the Red Storm and given their struggles recently, no doubt will want to get back to their winning ways and halt the momentum St John's brings into this game. St John’s is a team that likes to get out on the floor and run. Their style of play is almost depended on playing in transition. If the Georgetown defense can force the Red Storm to play in the half court and take away their drives to the basket, St John’s could find themselves in trouble in the scoring department tonight. 

Given St John's recent 3-game winning streak, it's no surprise to see a vast majority of the public eager to back the Red Storm as underdogs, however we feel that in this particular matchup, it is the wrong side. The odds makers have made it enticing to back a “hot” team getting this many points but we believe it is the wrong side in this contest and Georgetown comes away with the win and cover. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • St John's is just 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games overall.  
  • The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings in this series.
  • St John's is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a victory.
  • Georgetown is 6-0 ATS in home games vs. teams that shoot 45% or better and allow 42% or worse!

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