ESPN / USA Today: 12
Analyzing Post-Game Quotes
Here's a quick look at some of the gems that followed the Hoyas 18-point thrashing of the (Barely) Fighting Irish.
Honesty: "Our guys were good today, there's no other way around it, they were good." -JTIII
Modesty: "He forgot that we still need him to rebound. You look at this stat sheet here, Whittington, one rebound. He fell in love with his shooting today and forgot to do everything else." -JTIII, providing a tongue-in-cheek response to a question about Cool Whitt's career night
Humility: "My performance is based on my teammates. Like you said, I passed the ball, they have to catch it and finish, so my performance is based on them." -Henry Sims, on his five-assist performance
Candor: "That is by far his worst effort. For him to play 25 minutes and not get a rebound is staggering." -Mike Brey, practically speechless after Henry Sims and the Georgetown frontcourt finally gave Jack Cooley a reason to cry
Hyperbole: "Everyone was good, but Sims -- who has to be the best passing big man in the country -- was magnificent, scoring easy buckets on the low block but just as often slipping gorgeous bounce passes to Hoyas cutters prettier than anything any coach could ever hope to draw up. God, it was fun to watch." -Eamonn Brennan, on how awesome Henry and the Hoyas are (Henry may very well be the best passing big man in the country...it's the rest of the quote that seems a little over-the-top...in a positively awesome way)
Denial: "Martin's got a little bit of a tweaked ankle. I didn't even know if he was going to play." -Mike Brey, making excuses as to why his team was completely outclassed
More GTM after the jump...
Making the Cut: One Man’s Predictions for All-Big East Honors
With only one game left to go, ballots for All-Big East honors are currently being considered by Big East coaching staffs. Most are likely to turn in their ballots in advance of this weekend’s games, so don’t expect any last-minute heroics from Tyler Adams to land him a spot on the All-Freshmen Team.
Here are my predictions:
Player of the Year
Coach of the Year
JTIII (Realistically, I think Boeheim will win, but JTIII deserves this award.)
Most Improved Player
Defensive Player of the Year
Sixth Man of the Year
Moe Harkless (Freshman of the Year)
Preview of Saturday’s Game:
In a contest that may be more daunting for the Hoyas than stealing a game at the Carrier Dome, your Georgetown Fighting Bulldogs will head up to Milwaukee on Saturday to face a very tough Marquette squad that (a) is playing its first game since getting blown out at Cincy; (b) will be seeking revenge against the Hoyas for the “game that got away” from Marquette in January; and (c) will be celebrating Senior Day by sending off its two biggest stars: Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. When you consider that the Hoyas traditionally struggle at Marquette (no wins since the magical OT triumph in 2008) and also that Marquette is a really good team, Saturday could be the toughest game of the year for the Hoyas.
The Last Time These Teams Met
The last time these teams met – on January 4 at the Verizon Center – the Hoyas overcame a sluggish start, as well as a 17-point second half deficit, to stun Marquette. Jason Clark led the way for the Hoyas with 26 points, including 18 in the second half. Hollis Thompson also hit four three-pointers and scored eight key points in the final few minutes to give Georgetown the winning margin. The Hoyas were atrocious from the free throw line (13 for 23), while Marquette was solid (16 for 20). DJO and Crowder led Marquette in scoring, with 18 and 17 respectively, while Todd Mayo chipped in with 16. Notably, Henry Sims and Markel Starks combined for eight turnovers (and Markel was held scoreless), as Marquette used its pressure defense to keep the Hoyas off balance. Crowder himself had five steals. Notably, Davante Gardner had 11 points in 31 minutes. (Gardner has missed the last several games with a knee injury, and it’s still unclear whether he will play on Saturday.)
How Marquette Has Looked Since January 4th
In the last six weeks, Marquette has had to re-invent itself a bit. Without Davante Gardner, Marquette’s tallest player is 6’7’’ sophomore forward Jamil Wilson. What this means is that Marquette is almost always the shorter team, as well as the team that lacks depth. With the exception of St. John’s, Marquette probably has the thinnest roster in the conference, as the Golden Eagles essentially use only six players.
Marquette has always prided itself on its scrappy play and willingness to get out in transition, and this season has been no different, as Marquette’s squad resembles Missouri’s. Without Gardner in the lineup, Marquette has had to be even more aggressive on both ends of the floor. Guys like Johnson-Odom and Junior Cadougan aren’t afraid to penetrate and draw contact; on defense, Marquette uses its speed and tenacity to create turnovers and push the tempo.
It’s no secret that Marquette likes to run. The Golden Eagles average over 75 points per game, largely by creating opportunities after penetration (i.e. finding open shooters on the wings or getting to the free throw line). Marquette is second in the Big East in free throw shooting (72.3%). Not surprisingly, Marquette is also first in the conference in assists per game (17.2) and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.341). With a lineup full of ball handlers, Marquette is smart with the basketball and isn’t afraid to shoot or penetrate. What they lack in size on the defensive end, they make up with athleticism.
Keys to the Game:
1. Limit Transition Baskets: Marquette’s players will try to push the tempo as often as possible. Georgetown can’t make things easy for Crowder and Co. by failing to get back on defense, particularly after long misses or turnovers. This needs to remain a halfcourt-style game for the Hoyas to prevail.
2. Limit Turnovers: The easiest way to limit fast break points it to protect the basketball. Marquette does an excellent job of using its undersized players to create havoc. Crowder, Johnson-Odom, Blue and Cadougan will swipe and grab and attempt to draw charges (including the Crowder-preferred flops). The Hoyas need to be patient and smart with the basketball.
3. Get the Ball Inside: We will have a significant size advantage in this game. Henry and Nate and Otto and Whitt are all taller than every single active player on Marquette’s roster. We need to exploit Marquette’s soft underbelly by scoring in the paint early and often.
4. Win the Free Throw War: Marquette’s guards do a nice job of getting to the rim and drawing contact, but our bigs should be able to muscle their way to the basket as well. If we want to win on the road in front of a raucous crowd, we need to silence the crowd by getting easy points from the charity stripe.
5. Force Perimeter Shots: Marquette’s offense has struggled recently against active 2-3 zones, including in its most recent loss to Cincy. Georgetown’s zone has been successful against most teams in the conference. Against Marquette, I expect us to force Crowder and others to take contested perimeter shots, while keeping them away from the basket. We should make them beat us over the top. Remember that we are still undefeated when holding opponents under 64 points. Let’s try to keep this game in the 50s.
Why This Game Matters
It’s obvious. It’s our last conference game of the season and a win clinches a second place finish. A loss will likely prevent us from getting a much-coveted double bye, and we may drop all the way to sixth in the standings. A win would be the icing on the cake in what has already been an improbable run through Big East competition this season. A win would also likely solidify the Hoyas as a 3 seed in the NCAA Tourney, regardless of what happens next week.
This obviously won’t be easy. Marquette will be angry and hungry and motivated. And it’s always difficult to win at their place. Without question, it will be one of our toughest road challenges of the season, rivaling our games at Louisville and Syracuse.
But here’s the thing. I know it’s Senior Day and Marquette is coming off a loss and will want to avenge its earlier defeat, but at the end of the day, I think we have the better team. Convincing wins against Nova and Notre Dame have caused some folks to start paying attention again. Maybe this isn’t the same old Georgetown team that fades down the stretch. Maybe this team is different.
A loss at Marquette shouldn’t cause anyone to walk closer to the ledge and begin to panic. But a win at Marquette? A win at Marquette means that this team is a legitimate contender. And heading into the conference tournament, it would feel pretty good to be a legitimate contender.
It’s March, people. Get serious.
Let's go Hoyas. Beat Marquette.