Game 8 - Georgetown (5-2) vs. TCU (6-0)
Nuts & Bolts
Date: December 2, 2023
Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Capital One Arena - Washington, DC
How to Watch: Fox Sports 1
Matchup History: TCU leads all-time series 1-0
Last Meeting: TCU def. Georgetown 80-73 on 12/18/21
Betting Lines: Via DraftKings
Spread: Georgetown +9.5
Prediction: Georgetown 71, TCU 80
Georgetown survived a massive scare once again on Wednesday night. This time, it was at the hands of Merrimack College in a two point win in which the Hoyas trailed by eight with under nine minutes to play.
Georgetown Head Coach Ed Cooley arrived late to the postgame press conference, apologizing to reporters for doing so.
"The reason why I'm late is I had to have an open & honest conversation with the men in the locker room about preparation, about discipline, about toughness, about transition, about attention to detail,” Cooley said. "I think so many times, when you take over a program, people are not accustomed to your 'it' as a staff. That's what we were explaining. How important the little things are when it comes to preparing to win."
The Hoyas lost star player Jayden Epps late in the first half due to an injury to his eye. For the early portion of the second half, Georgetown looked completely lost without him, getting outscored by Merrimack 26-16 in the first 12 minutes of the half.
Over the final eight minutes, the Hoyas kicked it into gear on offense, finally penetrating the Merrimack zone and taking the lead with about five minutes to go, never again relinquishing it down the stretch.
Wayne Bristol Jr. led the Hoyas in scoring, pouring in a season-high 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals in 24 minutes.
With Epps out, Georgetown would not have gotten across the finish line with a win without the energy Bristol brought to the game.
"It feels good when you have a whole coaching staff and teammates who believe in you and push you every day to be better,” Bristol said after the game. “But it's on us [the players] at the end of the day to correct the mistakes he's [Ed Cooley] telling us."
Saturday night, Georgetown welcomes the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs to Capital One Arena. Following a very quiet night on Wednesday in front of the smallest crowd of the season, the Hoyas will likely have a more lively arena for its biggest home game up to this point of the year.
"We're going to need support from the community as we build our program. It's not going to happen overnight, as much as people want to see that happen,” Cooley said. “Give us a chance to grow, give us a chance to fail, give us a chance to integrate ourselves into the District as a family, and as a new team, and when the plane lands, everyone will be happy."
TCU’s head coach, Jamie Dixon, has turned the Horned Frogs program into yet another Big 12 power since his arrival in 2016.
In his first seven seasons, Dixon has taken his team to the NCAA Tournament three times, including each of the last two years, winning 20+ games along the way in back-to-back campaigns.
For comparison, over the prior 18 seasons before Dixon arrived, TCU never made the Big Dance.
In 2022, the Horned Frogs won its first NCAA Tournament game since 1987. In 2023, they won another.
Entering 2023-24, there’s pressure to raise the ceiling and get TCU to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Well, they’re off to a good start. TCU is one of six Big 12 teams currently undefeated at 6-0.
TCU has won by 30+ in four of its first six games. However, the competition has been far from stiff. The Horned Frogs opponents this season are a combined 9-35 and only one of their opponents is currently over .500 entering Saturday night.
Despite the lower level of competition, TCU has been dominating its opponents. Its smallest margin of victory in the opening six games is 19 points. Its largest is 37 points in its most recent win, a 101-64 decision over Houston Christian.
TCU is led by junior forward JaKobe Coles, averaging 15.5 PPG and is shooting 50% from the field and nearly 59% from beyond the arc.
The Horned Frogs can really score, pouring in an average of 93 points per game. It’ll take a huge effort across the board from Georgetown if the Hoyas want a shot at handing TCU its first loss of the season.