What Happened to Georgetown?
I remember a scene in the excellent BBC show Blackadder where someone asks Rowan Atkinson's character why he talks to himself. "Because it's the only way to get intelligent conversation around here," was his answer. Anyway, there are so many questions about Georgetown missing the NCAA tournament that I thought we should use a format that our WaPo sports editor is fond of: A sort of Q&A where we ask the questions and then answer them. It's not really talking to ourselves, since hopefully some of these are your questions, too. And for all we know it isn't even intelligent.
Is Georgetown One of the Top 16 Teams in the Country?
Consider this: It is very possible the NCAA title game will pit a team Georgetown defeated (Duke) against a team to which it lost in double overtime on the road (Syracuse).
So What Happened?
Georgetown came up desperately short on its strength of schedule. Its SOS was in the 20s, out of 57 teams. The reason is that Georgetown's conference, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, had a dismal year. Loyola, the conference champion, defeated one team with a winning record (Georgetown). As Jon Brand points out at Inside Lacrosse, the true measure of the ECAC was that Loyola is playing in the 1-16 game. Some of that clearly is logistics, but not all of it.
So Georgetown Finished Second in a One-Bid League?
Essentially. The same happened in the Ivy League to Brown and junior goalie Jordan Burke, a Bullis grad and possible first-team all-American. (He gets my vote. If I had a vote. Which I don't.)
When Did Georgetown Sense It Was in Trouble?
I started hearing the talk about 10 days ago. And frankly, I didn't believe it, and perhaps could be faulted for that. I thought the win over Duke was worth 500 RPI points or somesuch. It wasn't. It was worth the same as a victory over ND, which was ranked No. 5.
Georgetown will truly have known it was in trouble when the selection show last night included in its intro a veiled reference to teams that lost on Saturday and thus missed their shot at the tournament.
But What About the Wins Over Navy and Duke?
Those were Georgetown's two victories over teams in the field. Navy had three such wins--Colgate, Ohio State and Maryland. Denver had two wins over teams in the field--Colgate and Notre Dame.
On the surface, Denver would be the one that bothers me more if I were a Georgetown fan. But the Pioneers's SOS was very high. They played a conference tournament for an extra game (against NCAA team Ohio State) and out-of-conference games against NCAA participants UMBC, North Carolina, Colgate and Cornell, plus a win over bubble team Brown.
If and when the Big East happens, it likely will come with a conference tournament. And that's good news for Georgetown: It's one more game against a top opponent. Something tells me that one day we will look back and be amazed that at one time, not every conference had a tournament. (Except the Ivys.)
What Can Georgetown Do Different?
The out of conference schedule already includes Maryland, Syracuse, Duke, Navy and Delaware. So they can't be faulted for an easy out of conference sked. It sounds odd, given that lineup, but Georgetown may need one more difficult game. Especially if Hopkins is dropping someone, Georgetown should be on the phone immediately to get that team.
The problem is that by doing so, the Hoyas run the risk of overscheduling. After all, UMass and Penn State will not be in a down cycle forever. Maybe the problem is the selection criteria. But unless or until that changes, Gtown has to do something to avoid a repeat of this year.
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