OK, let's recap: We are 7-3 with a loss to Oregon, a loss to a team from the Colonial Athletic Association (Northeastern), and a loss on the road to a college hoops blueblood in one of the hardest places to play in America. If this story doesn't sound familiar to you, it should. That's not only a recap of the Hoyas season thus far, it's the exact same position the 2006-2007 team found themselves in on December 16th, 2006 after losses to Oregon, Old Dominion, and @ Duke. Trust me, at that point the sky was falling too. Some Hoya Fans gave up on the team at that point, just like I'm sure many people are now. But guess the season wasn't over then, and it's not over now.
No, we did not play well against Kansas and yes, we have a lot things that need to be improved upon (mainly defense and rebounding). But that does not mean that we cannot have a successful season. Jay Bilas accurately noted that Georgetown was capable of playing much better than it showed. We were not supposed to win anyway, but we should have done better than we did. Foul trouble had a lot to do with that. And home court advantage had a lot to do with the fouls, but that doesn't excuse the poor performance.
However, there were several bright spots. Let's look at a few positives from the Kansas game.
First of all, Markel Starks appears to be back to where we expected him to be this season. Markel had been in a shooting slump prior to the last two games and Markel proved against a very good defense that the Elon game was not a fluke and that he is ready to lead this team: 19 points, 2/5 from 3, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
Second was Jabril Trawick's defense on presumptive #1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins. Jabril hounded the future lottery pick and did a great job on him. He forced Wiggins into 3/10 shooting and was able to stay in front of the athletic wing. It was a very impressive performance from Jabril.
Third, Aaron Bowen provided some great contributions. 9 points 3 rebounds 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block. He did a great job attacking the basket on missed shots and off the bounce.
Fourth, I'd like to give some praise to Mikael Hopkins and his improved rebounding. The team as a whole is terrible on the boards, but Hopkins has so dramatically improved his rebounding from last year I want to acknowledge it despite the team as a whole's limitations. As a sophomore, Hopkins had a defensive rebounding % of 11.7% This year he's grabbing defensive boards at a 24% clip more than double last year. His 24% is good for 77th in the nation.
Finally, I'd like to point out that despite this setback the Hoyas are still on pace for a good year and a tournament birth. By the mere virtue of playing Kansas at Kansas, our RPI jumped over 20 points to 52nd. As long as we take care of the games we are supposed to win we will be in the tournament easily. I fully expect the team to continue to improve, but even if they didn't we would make the tournament. The team is far from a finished product. There is no reason that Georgetown cannot compete for a Big East title this year. Villanova is the favorite, but after that the field is wide open.
Stay strong Hoyas. It's always darkest before the dawn. Plus there are worse things than getting blown out by a good team. We could have lost at home to Boston University like Maryland did to go along with their losses to GW, Oregon St, and UConn. So during this Christmas season, be thankful that at least we're not Maryland.