Entering Wednesday Big East teams had amassed a combined record of 36-2, with both losses being suffered by Marquette. They’d go 2-1 on the day, with Butler and Georgetown both picking off ranked teams, St. John’s coming back to beat Minnesota and DePaul finding a way to lose at home to Lehigh. Prior to the start of the season the general expectation was that Villanova would be the class of the conference, with the battle for second offering up more intrigue.
Given the early run of success the Big East race is setting up to be an entertaining one, and John Thompson III’s Hoyas will be part of the conversation. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s jumper just inside of the three-point line with 3.8 seconds left in overtime was the difference in Georgetown’s 66-65 win over No. 18 Florida, with the Hoyas surviving despite shooting 3-for-13 from three and committing 19 turnovers.
Florida endured its own struggles offensively, shooting 6-for-23 from deep and committing 16 turnovers, but they were able to counter that by cashing in on some of the 18 offensive rebounds they managed to collect. Florida shot just 35.9% from the field on the night, and given the various injuries they’ve had to deal with (both Eli Carter and Dorian Finney-Smith returned) the relative lack of cohesion on the offensive end is somewhat understandable.
Georgetown, despite the need for Smith-Rivera’s heroics, is ahead of Florida on that end of the floor right now. Smith-Rivera is the unquestioned leader for the Hoyas, who have a solid mixture of returnees and newcomers with L.J. Peak and Paul White being two of those freshmen. From a turnover standpoint Georgetown can be a lot better than they were Wednesday, and it should be noted that they don’t commit 19 turnovers in a game all that often.
If Smith-Rivera, who was responsible for just one of those 19 turnovers, continues to do his job at the point the other pieces should fall in place. More will be learned about Georgetown when they take on No. 2 Wisconsin on Thursday, and given how this month has gone for both the Hoyas and their conference another quality win wouldn’t be a surprise at all.