Hoyas hope to clinch share of Big East crown

Before Markel Starks even considers the idea that Big East-leading Georgetown must become the hunted team instead of the hunter, he has only to look around the walls of McDonough Gymnasium. The junior guard has yet to make his contribution.

Starks and the fifth-ranked Hoyas (23-4, 13-3) can change that with a victory Wednesday, claiming at least a share of the program's first Big East regular season title since 2008. But standing in their way will be the even more desperate Villanova (18-12, 9-8), which is playing simply to keep itself in the mix for the NCAA tournament.

"We're a hungry team," Starks said when the same word was used to describe the Wildcats. "I don't want to make it seem like they're the only ones that's not eating. We don't feel like we have enough on our plate. Look at these banners up here. I don't see any Sweet 16s, Elite Eights, no Big East in a while."

up next
No. 5 Georgetown at Villanova
When » Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Where » Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

A win would also give Georgetown the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament because of tiebreaker advantages over Marquette and Louisville.

The Hoyas remain firm in their belief that winning the conference was always possible, not that it has developed over the course of 11 straight victories, their longest streak since 2007, or the emergence of sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr., who pocketed his third straight Big East player of the week award on Monday. Porter is the first player to do so since Boston College's Troy Bell during the 2002-03 season.

"It's a great accomplishment," said Porter, who is averaging 27.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.3 steals over the last three games. "It's tough try to win every game. You try to do it with your team, and the team is succeeding."

Georgetown coach John Thompson III said recently that his goals vary from season to season, depending on the makeup of his team, schedule and other factors. But he also maintained that his ambitions now are no different than they were at the start of the year.

"I think they're the same," junior forward Nate Lubick said. "Our goals were to try to win the Big East regular season title and to win the Big East championship. I think a lot of people didn't think that was something that we could do. But we did, and we've put ourselves in position to do that."

The Wildcats, led inside by JayVaughn Pinkston (12.7 ppg) and Montrose Christian product Mouphtaou Yarou (9.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), have lost two straight but have beaten Syracuse, Louisville and Marquette at home this season.

"You work all year to get to where you're playing for something," Thompson said. "Both of us are, and both teams know it, so it's going to be a tough game."