Since we declared the State of the Hoya Union strong many months before the President decided to weigh in, it feels like time to do a little bit past mid-season review.
The State of the Union is strong. Put the Pitt and USF debacles aside and this is the most consistent team we've seen in years. They are not exciting on the offensive end but they are good enough to win - they score more points than the other team more often than not.
The State of the Union is egalitarian. They may score more points than the other team - but not a lot more. The 2013 Hoyas play as if everyone should have a chance, and many second chances, regardless of their ability or how hard they were recruited. We consistently raise our game to meet more talented teams and lower them for the less talented in the finest Jesuit tradition of fairness and justice.
The State of the Union is tough. Let's be honest, a few years back we had some very talented players who were soft. While they were fun to watch, when the going got tough they sometimes go going in the wrong direction. The tone for this year's team is set by one player - Jabril Trawick. When your opponent thinks he has a clear lane to the basket, who better to put him on his ass than Jabril. Impossible to believe his attitude isn't wearing off on the rest of the team. Markel Starks even looks sort of mean from time to time.
The State of the Union is secure. Defense wins championships and our defense keeps us in every game. The defense has been consistent in effort and effectiveness. Whatever your preferred metric, nobody really wants to play us.
The State of the Union is offensive. Yes, our offense is hard to watch sometimes. But given our personnel, JTIII puts the best group out there every game. This is a play defense, rebound and hustle team above being a pretty offense. While it sometimes looks ugly, I come back to the earlier point about scoring more points than the opponent. That's something Calipari and his blue chip boys don't seem to get this year.
The State of the Union is resilient. How many teams can lose their second best scorer and best defender and go on a glorious winning streak. How many teams are thoroughly embarrassed on their home court by Pitt and use that as motivation for turning things around rather than giving up. This team could have put those two things together and packed it in for the year. They did not.
The State of the Union is principled. What a contrast between a school like Georgetown and an institution like Syracuse. Greg Whittington makes an academic mistake and he's gone, no questions asked. At Syracuse you have to sit out -- that is until the team starts losing actual games. Then you get a "hearing" and magically are back in uniform. If you manage to get caught shoplifting on the way to the game, that's a bonus.
The State of the Union is delusional. Beating the rush and booking flights to Atlanta now.