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January 25, 2008

Georgetown looks to earn big road win

MORE BREAKDOWNS: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

Upcoming Big East Games
Notre Dame at Villanova
Connecticut at Indiana
St. John's at Louisville
Rutgers at Pittsburgh
Georgetown at West Virginia
DePaul at Marquette
Cincinnati at Seton Hall
Providence at Syracuse
Connecticut at Louisville
USF at Marquette
Villanova at Pittsburgh
Cincinnati at West Virginia
Syracuse at DePaul
Georgetown at St. John's
Seton Hall at Rutgers
Providence at Notre Dame

Best matchup: Georgetown (15-2 overall, 5-1 in the Big East) at West Virginia (15-4, 4-2). One of the best games of the week nationally will be in Morgantown when Georgetown goes to West Virginia. The key will be who gets to play at their pace. Georgetown would to prefer to be methodical while West Virginia is seeking a faster tempo. It's West Virginia's second chance at a win over a ranked team in conference after the Mountaineers beat then-No. 11 Marquette on Jan. 6. Georgetown lost its last game against a ranked team 69-60 to No. 16 Pittsburgh on Jan. 14.

The pressure is on: Villanova. There was no better proof that nobody can win on the road in the Big East than Villanova's 80-68 loss at Rutgers on Wednesday. Rutgers coach Fred Hill, a former assistant to Jay Wright at Villanova, handed the Wildcats a loss that smears their NCAA Tournament resume. Villanova will have to recover quickly: They face Notre Dame at home and Pittsburgh on the road this week.

Upset alert: West Virginia over Georgetown. The Hoyas have established themselves as the class of the Big East this season, but West Virginia has more than enough going its way Saturday in Morgantown. Road teams have struggled in Big East games this season, and WVU has won 15 in a row at home. The Mountaineers beat then-No. 2 UCLA in February last season at home.

RPI watch: The Big East had three more teams move into the top 40 of the RPI this week, with No. 34 Louisville, No. 38 Villanova and No. 40 Syracuse. Those three join No. 7 Georgetown, No. 9 Pittsburgh, No. 21 Marquette, No. 26 West Virginia, No. 31 Providence and No. 36 Connecticut.

Key stat: Syracuse outrebounded Georgetown 43-33 but still lost, 64-62 in overtime, on Monday. The Hoyas have been outrebounded in each of their past three games, by a combined 122-100.

Freshmen to watch: Seton Hall guard Jeremy Hazell was the Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week after averaging 25.5 points and hitting 13 3-pointers in wins over Louisville and USF.

Who's hot: Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn is averaging 23.7 points in his past three games. He played all 45 minutes in the 64-62 loss at Georgetown on Monday, two days after playing 38 minutes against Villanova. DePaul guard Draelon Burns has averaged 22 points over the past three games. Connecticut is 100-of-118 (84.7 percent) from the line over the past four games. Louisville guard Terrence Williams had his second triple-double of the season 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 92-82 loss to Seton Hall on Saturday. He has had back-to-back double-digit assist games, with 11 more against USF on Wednesday. After a season-low nine points against Georgetown, Pittsburgh forward Sam Young has averaged 25 points in his past two games. Against St. John's, he had his first no-turnover game of the season.

Who's not: Syracuse has lost four of five, with the only win coming over Rutgers (9-11 overall, 1-6 in the Big East). The Orange has gotten only 5.6 points per game from its bench in Big East play. Marquette guard Dominic James is playing with a sprained right wrist. He scored only three points against Louisville and nine against UConn. Louisville forward Derrick Caracter's minutes have dwindled to the 10-12-minute range. He totaled six points and five rebounds in two games last week. USF has lost a school-record six games by double-digits this season.

Worth noting: Connecticut begins a critical stretch for its tournament hopes starting at Indiana on Saturday, followed by games vs. Pittsburgh, at Syracuse and vs. Georgia Tech. Cincinnati travels to West Virginia on Wednesday, making it Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins' first game against the Bearcats since he resigned there in 2005. West Virginia forward Joe Alexander has been bothered by a groin injury, causing him to miss a start against Marshall on Wednesday. He played 25 minutes, scored nine points and fouled out. Rutgers guard Courtney Nelson was ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the season.

MORE BREAKDOWNS: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.

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