There are 32 games on Thursday and Friday, one of the most exciting 48-hour segments on the sports calendar.
We won’t be able to get individual previews up for every game, but we’ll cherry pick some of the more compelling matchups during the tournament’s “second” round.
In this post, we preview the Midwest Region’s 3-14 matchup that has become a popular upset pick (notably, here): the 3rd-seeded Georgetown Hoyas against the 14th-seeded but highly respected Belmont Bruins.
Georgetown-Belmont Game Info
- Seeds & Region: #3 Georgetown v #14 Belmont in Midwest Region
- Georgetown-Belmont Date: Friday, March 16th
- Georgetown-Belmont Tip Time: 3:05 ET
- Georgetown-Belmont Location: Columbus
- Georgetown-Belmont TV: truTV
- Georgetown-Belmont Announcers: Tim Brando and Mike Gminski
- Georgetown-Belmont Point Spread: Georgetown -3.5
- Tickets: San Diego State-NC State Tickets
- Tickets: All Columbus Sessions
- Tickets: Midwest Regional Tickets in St. Louis
Georgetown-Belmont Analysis and Prediction
I nearly picked this as my upset (like Jerod did) in the region but couldn’t pull the trigger.
The key to this game will be the tempo, because if Belmont can get the Hoyas into an up-and-down game, some of Georgetown’s defensive advantages will be neutralized. If it turns into a halfcourt game though, Georgetown’s top-ranked three-point defense will be problematic for the Bruins, who take nearly 40 percent of their shots from long range.
Look for Hoya freshman Otto Porter to play a key role in this game based on his ability to block shots and hit the offensive glass. Georgetown big man Henry Sims is another tough matchup for Belmont, but it will be tough for them to double-team him in the post based on his passing ability.
Predicted Winner: Georgetown
Georgetown Hoyas Team Capsule
- Conference: Big East
- Record: 23-8 (12-6 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 6-4
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 8-6
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Alabama, Connecticut, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis (2), Notre Dame, South Florida
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Cincinnati (2), Kansas, Marquette, Syracuse, West Virginia
- Player to Watch: Henry Sims (6’10” C, Sr.) – 11.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.4 bpg
Georgetown Bottoms Line:
The Hoyas were one of the season’s biggest surprises, as they finished tied for fourth in the Big East. They are one of the top defensive teams in the country and rank seventh in adjusted efficiency. They limit opponents to just 26.6 percent from beyond the arc and have a high block percentage as well. The Hoyas also do a solid job of preventing offensive rebounds.
On offense they finished just inside the Top 50 in efficiency with their greatest strengths a high two-point shooting percentage and a 35.5 offensive rebounding percentage. Georgetown doesn’t shoot the three all that well, but the Hoyas also don’t take a ton of shots from long range in the first place.
Five players do the bulk of the scoring, led by senior Jason Clark with 13.9 points per game. Sophomore Hollis Thompson is the team’s top long-range shooter, making 44.4 percent from deep. He averages 12.7 points and pulls down 5.6 rebounds per game.
Big man Henry Sims hadn’t shown much during his career, but he stepped up this season to lead the team in assists and blocked shots and finished second in rebounding and third in scoring. He posted strong rebounding percentages on both ends and does a great job of drawing fouls and getting to the line. Freshman Otto Porter got better as the season went along and led the team in rebounding while shooting 51.8 percent from the field.
Belmont Bruins Team Capsule
- Conference: Atlantic Sun
- Record: 27-7 (16-2 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 10-0
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 0-2
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: None
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Memphis
- Player to Watch: Kerron Johnson (6’1″ G, Jr.) – 14.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.4 spg, 52.6 FG%
Belmont Bottoms Line:
The Bruins were touted as one of the top small conference teams heading into the season and nearly knocked off Duke at Cameron in the season opener. They struggled to pick up key non-conference wins, but they ripped off 14 straight victories to end the season. Belmont ranks in the Top 10 nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency thanks to the fifth-best effective field goal percentage in the country.
Kerron Johnson runs the show and boasts a high assist rate and has been adept at drawing fouls and getting to the stripe. Unlike many small conference squads, the Bruins also have a pair of capable big men with 6’10″ Scott Saunders (10.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and 6’9″ Mick Hedgepeth (9.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg). Belmont likes to push the tempo and takes nearly 40 percent of its shots from beyond the arc, with Drew Hanlen (48.1 3P%) and Ian Clark (40.7 3P%) serving as the top long-range snipers.
Related: Jump to our Midwest Region Bracket Breakdown
See our other individual game previews and predictions:
- South Region: #4 Indiana v #13 New Mexico State
- South Region: #5 Wichita State v #12 VCU
- South Region: #6 UNLV v #11 Colorado
- South Region: #7 Notre Dame v #10 Xavier
- South Region: #8 Iowa State v #9 Connecticut
- West Region: #4 Louisville v #13 Davidson
- West Region: #5 New Mexico v #12 Long Beach State
- West Region: #6 Murray State v #11 Colorado State
- West Region: #7 Florida v #10 Virginia
- West Region: #8 Memphis v #9 Saint Louis
- East Region: #4 Wisconsin v #13 Montana
- East Region: #5 Vanderbilt v #12 Harvard
- East Region: #6 Cincinnati v #11 Texas
- East Region: #7 Gonzaga v #10 West Virginia
- East Region: #8 Kansas State v #9 Southern Miss
- Midwest Region: #3 Georgetown v #14 Belmont
- Midwest Region: #4 Michigan v #13 Ohio
- Midwest Region: #5 Temple v #12 Cal/USF
- Midwest Region: #6 San Diego State v #11 NC State
- Midwest Region: #7 St. Mary’s v #10 Purdue
- Midwest Region: #8 Creighton v #9 Alabama