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Big East semis: Where's Syracuse? U-Conn.?

Echoing Eric's statement that no one at the ACC tournament expected Maryland to lose - everyone in the press room at MSG seemed pretty surprised too. "Maryland's losing??" was a continuous refrain throughout the afternoon, until it changed to "Maryland lost??"

Louisville's Edgar Sosa, a New York City point guard, was clearly the star of the day at the Big East. Notre Dame was a higher seed than Syracuse, but I think people were surprised the Irish won - after the first game, there was at least one Syracuse television crew in Georgetown's locker room, interviewing the Hoyas about a potential rematch with the Orange.

Patrick Ewing Jr., perhaps not surprisingly, was swarmed by reporters in the Georgetown locker room, following his four-rebound, three-assist, two-steal, two-blocked shot performance against Villanova. That led to this headline in the NY Post: "SOMETHING EW CAN COUNT ON: ANOTHER PAT-ENTED HOYA RUN." His famous father sat behind the Hoya bench, as did John Thompson Jr.; Doc Rivers was there as well.

I've been asking people around here if they think that the Hoyas can get a No. 1 seed if they win the Big East tournament, and the consensus is that's unlikely, because they need some of the teams ahead of them to falter. Also, the conference isn't considered to be as strong this year, so that won't help them. A win tonight and the Hoyas secure a No. 2 seed, though some think that they've already done that. So maybe we'll get a 2-5 regional final between Georgetown and Maryland?

Anyway, this is what we have on tap tonight inside Madison Square Garden: No. 1 Georgetown vs. No. 4 Notre Dame at 7 p.m., and then No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 3 Pittsburgh. It's the first time since 2003 that the top four seeds made it through to the semifinals, but for Big East traditionalists, it's not exactly a classic group of teams.

Georgetown, yes; the Hoyas, one of the founding members, have won six tournament titles (tied for most in the league with Connecticut). Pittsburgh, okay; the Panthers joined the conference in 1983 and have been one of its most successful teams over the past four seasons.

But Notre Dame? In their previous 11 seasons in the Big East, the Irish won exactly three tournament games. They've now won four. They've never made it past the semifinals. And Louisville? At least the Cardinals bring Rick Pitino back to the Garden for another night. Louisville, which entered the league last season, won its first-ever Big East tournament game last night.

Connecticut and Syracuse--who have combined to win 11 tournament titles--won't be playing tonight. This is the first time since 1997, and only the fourth time ever, that the semifinals will be played without at least one of those two teams (it also happened in 1982 and 1991).

By Camille Powell  |  March 9, 2007; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Can someone explain to me why Maryland losing is bigger news than Georgetown winning? Every local sportscast last night lead off with the Terps choke job. Can't the local talking heads get it thru their thick skulls that there's been a shift of power in this area? Hell, JT III is even out recruiting Gary Williams in his own state. Hoya Saxa!!

Posted by: Chico | March 9, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for that comment....

I saw the article and got sick...The post seems to think Maryland is the hottest team in the nation. For crying out loud i think Gtown has earned the right to be big news this time of the year. But you forget Comcast has a deal with Maryland(Comcast Center) so they have to please the big wigs in corporate....

Maryland's only hope would be for the women to win it all again....

And yes i went to gtown....

Posted by: BasketballLifeStyle | March 9, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Oh just shut up. I am getting so sick of this whining. An upset is bigger news a the #1 seed in a tournament beating the #9 seed, the unexpected always trumps the expected in news. Who cares about the coverage? The only thing coverage might affect is recruiting, and III is already beating the crap out Maryland in that department, so just let it go and enjoy the season.

Posted by: Chris | March 9, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Hoya fan here. Seems to me Maryland losing yesterday is more of a surprise than the Hoyas winning, thus it's bigger news.

Posted by: I know news | March 9, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Surprise? To who? Miami's had their number.

Posted by: Chico | March 9, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

It's only surprising if you think MD is any good. If MD is known for anything, it's inconcistency. I was not surprised they lost to Miami because they already lost to Miami (at home, no less) earlier in the season. I understand the Washington Post has a vested financial interest in discussing MD because it is a state school and has a larger fan base, but the suggestion that MD is better is ridiculous. Furthermore, anyone who follows the Hoyas (as any "local" sportswriter should) would know that beating Villanova was a big win for the Hoyas. Sure they are the #1 seed in the Bieg East, but Nova is the one team that has consistently been able to frustrate Roy Hibbert. The news is that Georgetown figured out how to get Roy involved to the tune of a 26-2 run to start the game. Georgetown almost gave it away at the end, but that seemed more a function of laziness with a big lead than anything. Maybe MD's loss is bigger news than the Hoyas' win yesterday, but the fact is that the Post is more interested in covering MD no matter how bad they are than reporting on the best team in the D.C. Metro area, the Georgetown Hoyas. I'll bet money that even if the Hoyas beat Notre Dame tonight, there will still be an article in the paper tomorrow about MD. I hope MD, Gary Williams and his lackey Feinstein enjoy looking up at the Hoyas for the years to come. Go Hoyas!!!!!!!!!!!! Beat the Irish.

Posted by: Donald | March 9, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Who suggested that Maryland was better than Georgetown. Almost every media outlet believed that Maryland's loss was a bigger story, not just the Post, what is the big deal?

Posted by: Chris | March 9, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Hoya fans sure have a huge Maryland complex these days...

Posted by: J | March 9, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

To expand on my comment. I have nothing against the Hoyas. I hope they win any game they play, unless they play Maryland. Yes I am an alum, but I am not going around whining about being disrespected.

I hope both teams play well in NCAA tourney, as it is good for DC area basketball.

Good luck vs. Notre Dame today.

Posted by: J | March 9, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Maryland fans are just paranoid. Nothing wrong with a little Hoya Paranoia.

Posted by: Chico | March 9, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Paranoid? Nope. You(Chico) were the one who started off with the whining I believe.

I think both teams should get equal coverage in a paper. Obviously on a tv broadcast one game has to go before the other.

The simple fact is that right now there is a lot of interest in Maryland in this area. The team has had the same coach for a very long time and the team has had some success in the last 10 years in the NCAA Tourney, including back to back final fours and a national championship.

I'm glad to see Georgetown doing well again after a sort of down period. I'm sure getting past the Sweet 16 at some point, which should happen this year if not in the future, will increase the popularity of the program.

There are definitely enough basketball players in this area to go around to have both programs be successful.

Posted by: J | March 9, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't whining, I was asking a question. And I think a legitimate one at that. All the local sports in this area are skewed towards Maryland and they're not even ranked. If you want to talk about equal coverage then throw GW in the mix too. They get almost nothing compared to the Terps. But at the end of the day it doesn't add up to a hill of beans. As long as JT III keeps outrecruiting all the area schools and the Hoyas program comes back to national prominence, it's all good to me. Like it says on the back of the tshirts....Respect is Back, Fear is Next"

Posted by: Chico | March 9, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Gotta go with Chico on this one. Steinberg's bias for Maryland in this blog is legendary and the POst's overall bias for Maryland is not far behind.

Maryland had their time at the top, but let's face it: it's over. They had one of their most bizarre, inconsistent seasons, they're getting out-recruited, etc. So losing last night is not all that big a deal. Did anyone really think that MD playing well was really going to last? But everyone seems to love falling all over themselves talking about Maryland.

So start giving the Hoyas the same respect. That's all we're asking.

Posted by: Thin Man | March 9, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Can't respect be given without trying to take it away from somebody else? Apparently not Thin Man.

I'm not trying to be rude or disrespectful...but both teams have had bad losses during the season, such as ODU for Georgetown or either loss to Miami. Maryland won 7 games in a row, including 3 over traditional powerhouse programs Duke and UNC. Georgetown has done well this year, but the overall impression of the Big East in terms of the power conferences is not helping them...and I'm not just making that up. Pitt has been rated high at times but they aren't UNC.

I'm trying to learn more about GU for when I pick my bracket...besides a game vs. Pitt and their "big man", has G-town faced any other teams with good big men this year? I see they can handle the quick guard teams such as Marquette and Oregon...

Posted by: J | March 9, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Very nice first line J, but you did not just equate a very bad Miami team with a decent ODU side did you? As for good big men, it really depends on how you define it, is David Padgett a good big man? Luke Hangardy (sp?) of Notre Dame? Also why did you put quotation marks around big man for when discussing Aaron Gray?

Posted by: Chris | March 9, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I am just trying to get a read on how Georgetown has played vs. different styles of teams. I thin Aaron Gray is a decent player but not amazing. That is my impression from watching him.

Posted by: J | March 9, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

That's the bizarre thing with Gray he never looks remotely impressive but he always produces, I don't understand it. As for strong frontcourts, Green and Hibbert did fairly well against Noah and Horford last year.

Posted by: Chris | March 9, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Can respect be given without it being taken away from someone else? Not in these parts, I'm afraid. The problem, I believe, is not with Hoya fans -- al we want is some recognition that our program is on the ascendancy.

But Terp fans like to talk a lot of smack about how much better the ACC is than the Big East. I simply don't agree and I think that feeling with be born out on Sunday. And when that fails them, they like to talk about how the Hoyas are afraid to play Maryland and how when they did match up one time in the NCAAs that Maryland won.

I'm happy Maryland ended the season strongly, but there is an overwhelming bias in favor of Maryland in the media, especially in this newspaper and definately in the blog. I'm tired of it. Having suffered through the Esherick years, I'm thrilled with JTIII, and I think it's about time some props were shown. But instead, all we get are the latest reports from Tampa.

In terms of who Hibbert has matched up well with, put Aaron Gray in that category, the Florida game last year, and so on. You may think ODU was a bad loss. I'm inclined to agree. But then you also have to take notice when beating Georgetown is counted as among Duke's quality wins this year. So if ESPN can give us respect, it should be an after-thought that we get respect from our hometown newspaper, and its bloggers.

But then again, I've always felt that blogs were not even worth the paper they're printed on.

Posted by: Thin Man | March 9, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

If you problem is more frequent updates from Tampa than New York, then your real problem is with Camille not posting enough and the guys in Tampa posting more often, that has nothing to do with Steinberg or this blog. I'm sure you blame him for Georgetown not rising in the local poll as quickly as it should have too.
And if that is your opinion of blogs, why are you wasting time whining on them?
As far as ESPN giving respect, there was certainly much more time on Sportscenter discussing the Maryland loss than the Georgetown win, are you on the boards complaining about that too?

Posted by: Chris | March 9, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

My problem is that over the course of this entire season, all we ever hear out of Steinberg is Maryland this, Gary Williams that. This is his blog, his name at the top, etc. Carping at who is posting on it is a red herring.

Do I blame him for the Hoyas not rising in the local poll as fast as I'd like? Yes. Because his poll is bullsh*t. The so-called voters only consist of his drinking buddies, whose combined basketball intelligence wouldn't fill a thimble on a rainy day.

Do I take issue with ESPN? Absolutely. Talk about a pro-ACC bias!

But it doesn't change one fundamental fact: Hoyas are on the rise, Maryland on their way down.

Posted by: Thin Man | March 9, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Offensively, Georgetown struggles against teams that use a hard full court press or a half court trap (like Villanova). On the defensive end, the Hoyas have trouble with good shooting teams (like ODU @ McDonough). If a team plays the 2-3 or 1-3-1 effectively, Georgetown relies heavily on outside shooting for better (vs. WVU) or worse (@ Syracuse, last season vs. WVU).

The teams that have the greatest success against the Hoyas this year have effectively denied Hibbert and Green the entry pass, forced the Hoyas to rush their offense and take poorly advised deep 2s and 3s, and created turnovers.

Georgetown's biggest problem is "disappearing" for long stretches of games. By that I mean running a tepid offense, lots of throwing the ball around the perimeter, few cuts, lackluster rebounding, not taking care of the ball.

The Hoyas haven't really struggled with big men of the Aaron Gray variety. G'town has a harder time with guys like Gray's backup, Sam Young, who are smaller but more athletic and can get around Big Roy more easily, shoot the long ball, post up, etc.

Hope that's helpful.

Posted by: coast2coast | March 9, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks coast2coast. Nice to talk to a Georgetown fan who can discuss things respectfully.

Good luck tonight vs. Notre Dame.

Posted by: J | March 9, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

And for the record, the number of teams in the tourney does not is the percentage of your conference in.

For those simple minded folks, 8 Big East Teams in the NCAAs = 6 ACC teams = 50% of the conference. Anyone wanting to argue that with me is wasting their time.

Posted by: J | March 9, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

That has to be the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

Posted by: Thin Man | March 9, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

How is what he said stupid. When you don't have equal numbers (of teams) you have to go by percentages, it's the only way to accurately account for the success of the whole (league). So when people say the big east has 8 teams in BUT its a 16 team conference they don't take into account that 50% of the teams that play in that conference got in.

To illustrate the point with an example: If this year the ACC gets 5 schools in (42%) and the Big East gets 7 schools in (48%) then by mathemaatical fact the big east is better. Now if the ACC gets 7 schools in (58&) and the Big East gets 7 schools in (48%) The ACC is better by Mathematical fact. This year the ACC SHOULD get 6 teams in, and the Big East SHOULD get 7 (don't know about WV) but either way the ACC would be better because 6 of 12 (50%) is a better rate of success than 7 of 16 (48%). It's an empiracl argument but one that is absolutely valid from premise to conclusion.

Just a little help since it didn't quite register. GU '01

Posted by: Huh? | March 10, 2007 1:32 AM | Report abuse

The dominance by numbers argument fails because you use the wrong numbers. Percentage of temas into the NCAAs based on the number of teams in a conference is irrelevant. That's why the selection committee uses RPI, strength of schedule etc. That way the temas, regardless of how many are in a particular conference, with the best over all performance get in. Again, I believe this will be born out on Sunday when more Big East teams get in vs. ACC teams.

Your arguement seems dangerously close to those pathetic Democrats who, in 2004, argued that since states with bigger populations elected Dems then they should be in the majority, even though they didn't win enough races to secure the majority.

It is based on performace, pure and simple.

Posted by: Thin Man | March 10, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

"But then again, I've always felt that blogs were not even worth the paper they're printed on."

if you don't like blogs, why are you consistently returning to this one to continue your online verbal assualt from the veil of an alias?

ps - blogs aren't printed on paper, just FYI

Posted by: littles | March 10, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Not only is your arguement the dumbest thing I've heard, but the ACC has both more teams(7 to 6) and a higher perecentage of teams (58% to 38%) in the tournament.

The Big East has 16 teams, ie 4 more then any other conference, so using only total numbers of teams in the tourney would inherintly give the Big East an advantage no matter the quality of the teams in the conference.

I'm not here to equate things to politics..this is sports.

ACC 7, Big East 6.

Posted by: J | March 12, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

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