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Previewing Georgetown: Rutgers Basketball Game 17

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Well, with RU hosting Georgetown at the RAC Saturday, I figured it was time for another question and answer session.  This time it's with the people at Casual Hoya, though as you can see, their answers to these questions are anything but casual.

We answered their questions too, and they should be up sometime today as well.

More after the jump...

1) Georgetown has had a bit of a rough start to the Big East season.  Why is that?  What's gone wrong so far?

Jesus - "a bit of a rough start"? That's Washington DC level spin right there. A better description is that Georgetown is reeling.

Your questions are the ones that the Casual community and the 15 people in DC who still care about Georgetown basketball are really beating around. There are simple answers that lead us to believe help is on the way, like 'our shots not falling.' But this is the same coaching staff and same backcourt that's been following the same path for several years now.

Mike Wise in today's Post might well have been on to something in pointing to the rest of the Big East understanding the Princeton style offense and not falling for the old tricks (and we've seen this same thing happen across the country, with Samford having a 2 year NCAA Tournament run some years ago and Air Force cracking the Top 25 a few years back). The offense is tremendously fun to watch when it's hitting right but last night, Pitt prevented Georgetown from getting to the basket and did a great job closing out on shooters.

For whatever reason, there isn't a clear leader on the team - Wright is fairly emotional but I never get the feeling that the team is rallying behind him and Freeman is arguably the best player but he's a quiet guy who also doesn't seem to be a tremendous leader. I think the team needs to get together and sort out whatever issues they have but the window's closing on this season.

2) Austin Freeman was chosen to be the Big East Player of the Year.  While Kemba Walker appears to have that locked down, how has Austin been so far this season?  Do you think he can overcome Kemba by the end of the season?

No.  Freeman and Walker both started off hot but Freeman has been a no show in the last few games while Kemba has single-handedly won numerous games for the Huskies.  Freeman hasn't been himself lately; after the St. John's game Coach Thompson asked him to get his blood sugars tested but everything turned out fine.  Not sure what is up with him (and hope everything is ok physically) but at this rate Freeman will be lucky to make 3rd Team All Big East.

3) What went wrong when Georgetown came to the RAC last year?

Rutgers, before the loss to Ohio, was the most disappointing loss of the season last year.  That game was the epitome of last year's season, one in which we beat both National Championship participants, but lost to a #14 seed.  I was in the RAC for the loss.  I don't remember much of it because I was too busy smashing my head into the seat in front of me.  I remember that one dude kept rebounding and I remember a bizarre Chris Wright three pointer in the last minute after Greg Monroe scored like 10 straight points.  Oh and Mike Rosario salsa danced on the scorer's table after the game.  That was neat too.  Everything went wrong in that game last year.  Good thing we are on the brink of full destruction when we had into the RAC this year.

4) What's been your best win this season?  Worst loss?

The best win this season was easily the overtime win against Missouri in a neutral site game in Kansas City that was basically an away game.  The Mizzou game has been regarded by most as the best college basketball game of the season thus far, since it featured (AT THE TIME) two top-tier teams slugging it out and lots of high drama.  As far as worst loss, a lot of people will say West Virginia because they are the weakest team we’ve played and the game was at home, but I’m going to go with the Pitt game.  A good team like we perceive Georgetown to be should come out and fight on its home court, and the Hoyas were dominated from the get-go, trailing by 17 at the half.  Just a gutless and disheartening performance for the fanbase.

5)  Where do you think Georgetown will finish in the Big East?

I still think things will turn around (starting against Rutgers!) and the Hoyas will be able to finish in the top 6 of the conference.  However, there are definite warning signs surrounding the team that suggest that things could bottom out completely and the Hoyas will finish at something like 7-11, which isn’t going to get them into the NCAAs.  If that happens...well, I'm just going to hope that doesn't happen. 

6) Besides Freeman, who's been your best player?  Worst?  Biggest surprise?

Can I ask for a lifeline? In the beginning of the season Freeman, Wright and Clark took turns lighting up the scoreboard and we all thought they were the best backcourt in the country.  Since Big East play started, however, it’s almost like they all have decided to start sucking intentionally.  Wright has been terrible, Freeman non-existent, and Clark looks downright afraid to shoot.  As far as the biggest surprise (other than the fact that our best players are now horrendous?), I would say the development of Henry Sims has been a bright spot and Nate Lubick has been providing some excellent minutes off the bench and plays more assertively than most freshmen do.

7)  Why do you think David Cox didn't bring many recruits to Georgetown?  Why do you think he's having success at Rutgers?

There are a lot of stories, theories and rumors out there why Cox could not get it done at Georgetown so here is mine (impossible to prove and all based on hearsay): Georgetown and DC Assault, David Cox's former employer, do not get along.  It stems from Jeff Green choosing agent David Falk, who has represented every Georgetown coach and player since the late 1970's except for DaJuan Summers, over the agent recommended by DC Assault.  If you know college basketball, you know AAU, agents, and kickbacks are all part of a seedy underbelly that everyone knows is there but refuses to acknowledge.  Because of this perceived slight, Georgetown and Cox were not able to land another DC Assault player until Jordan Goodman verballed in February.  Then Rutgers offered Cox more money and a better title and all of a sudden the Scarlett Knights land three DC Assault players in three months.  The separation was a win-win situation for both parties.  Georgetown hired an assistant who could do more in the position and Cox went to a school where he could use his connections.  Aren’t collegiate athletics great?

8) How far can Georgetown go in the NCAA tournament?

I think Georgetown can probably win a game or two in the CBI tournament depending on whether or not the first game is at home and against a Division II girl's team.  We might win a road game against a men's team if it they are from a school for the blind.

9)  Does last year's loss at the RAC keep you up at night? 

Between the unsettling yellow lighting in the RAC and memories of Mike Rosario dancing on the scorer's table, yes, it has been hard to erase from my memory.  I had great seats because it was a birthday gift.  So now I associate my birthday with salsa dancing and being in a cloud of urine.  Feels appropriate.  I am so sad right now. 

10)  What kind of defense does Georgetown play?  If you were creating a game plan to beat them, what would it be?

Generally man but this season has seen them break into zone a few times but most interestingly, they've thrown an impressive 3/4 court press.

Defeating Georgetown hasn't been difficult recently but is contingent on shutting down the backcourt, with the Pitt game being a perfect example. Making it difficult to attack the basket prevented the guards from being able to kick back out for open 3s. Although Sims and Vaughn have shown some decent post moves this year, they don't get the ball in the low post as often as probably should (and in fairness, they don't always attack when they do get the ball) and the bigs clearly aren't going to be the ones to win the game.

Get to the backcourt and make sure that one of Wright, Freeman, and Clark have a bad night and if recent history serves, you're on your way to a win.

11)  What is your prediction for the Rutgers game this year?  Final score?

If it is NOT 68-57 Georgetown then this blog might as well be BURNED TO THE GROUND.  This is it for us.  IT.  We can't take another loss. Because if we lose to freaking Rutgers then we are going to drive up the turnpike and go ahead and lose to Seton Hall and then drive right back down the turnpike and lose to St. John's.  AGAIN.  So Georgetown will win this game, because the alternative is pretty much the end of the universe.  And even though you live in Jersey, you can't want the universe to end.