Games That Matter - March 9, 2013 (Georgetown v. Syracuse Preview: The Big East Apocalypse, Part Deux)
A Quick Word about that Villanova Game
It sucked. We had a chance to clinch a share of the Big East title. We had a chance to keep hope alive for an outright regular season championship. Instead, we lost a very winnable game.
Here's your silver lining. Villanova attempted 34 more free throws than we did (42-8), we committed a season-high 23 turnovers, Markel and Jabril missed half the game due to foul trouble, Otto missed ten shots, we were playing on the road, three of our guys fouled out, Greg Whittington is still not free, this was basically a play-in game for Nova, AND WE STILL ALMOST WON THE GAME. The question shouldn't be: how did we lose this game? The better question is: given how horrible we played, how the hell did we keep it so close?
This game, in all its virtually unwatchable foul-tastic and turnover-prone misery, was an anomaly. One final blip before Georgetown's season-ending ten-game winning streak to glory. In short, DEAL WITH IT and move on to the next game. Of all the games to lose in the last six weeks, this one should sting the least. All of our goals are still in front of us. Win one more game and win the regular season Big East title and get that #1 seed in the BET. Let's get to work, people.
It Has Come to This
The apocalypse is upon us. Even if Kim Jong-un doesn't carry out his preemptive nuclear strike against our nation's capital this weekend, the Big East basketball-equivalent will engulf Washington D.C. in a sea of flames, as the Orange and the Dear Old Blue and Gray go to war one final time.
With only a game left to go in the regular season, your Georgetown University Fighting Bulldogs are looking to put an emphatic exclamation point on one of the most improbable, exhilarating runs in their storied history. The Hoyas are one measly little win away from ending this conference the same way they started it: in a three-way tie for the crown (that's how we did it back in 1980 too). The only team standing in their way has a fruit as its mascot. (Seriously, you guys. A fruit. Their mascot is an anthropomorphized orange.
Given the magnitude of this final battle with the Bad Guys, a movie tribute is clearly in order. We need a movie that fully symbolizes the struggle of Good versus Evil, and that movie has to be Rocky IV. Because, just obviously. Special thanks again to Sword of Brunner for his contribution.
Georgetown v. Syracuse Preview: ROCKY IV EDITION
"Two worlds collide. Rival nations. It's a primitive clash. Venting years of frustrations. Bravely we hope against all hope. There is so much at stake. Seems our freedom's up against the ropes. Does the crowd understand? Is it East versus West? Or man against man? Can any nation stand alone?
I have been humming the words to "Burning Heart" for the last two days. Can't get the song out of my head. There are no lyrics that encapsulate my feelings better than these (okay, maybe the chorus to a certain Cee-lo song would also do the trick). On Saturday, two worlds will collide, rival nations, and we will totally be venting years of frustration. And there is so much at stake. The pride of the old Big East versus the greed and money of the defectors. The Big East's biggest rivalry and the last meeting between these storied foes, in the last go-round of the conference as we know it. Does the crowd understand? Is this game about Georgetown and Syracuse? Or is it basketball versus football? The small Catholic schools versus the money-grubbing others? Or is it just man against man? About Otto and that cheater James Southerland? Or Markel and that shoplifter Michael Carter-Williams? Or Jabril against that stupid Orange mascot? I CAN'T GET THIS SONG OUT OF MY HEAD, BUT I FREAKING LOVE IT.
"The bad blood between these two can be felt all over this arena."
Georgetown and Syracuse. We don't like them. They don't like us. Saturday's game is going to be an all-out war.
"Whatever he hits...he destroys."
Ooh, which way should we go here? Are we referring to Otto knocking down shots? Or Jabril punching people? How about Eric Devendorf hitting his girlfriends? Yup, that's the winner. Thanks for playing.
"Soon, the whole world will know my name."
This is reportedly what Otto the Orange Killer said to the press minutes before he led the Hoyas to victory at the Carrier Dome.
"The booing crowd has absolutely no effect on the man."
And this is what the press was saying when Otto the Orange Killer was doing his thang up at the Dome.
"YOU CAN'T WIN!"
"No, maybe I can't win. Maybe the only thing I can do is just take everything he's got. But to beat me, he's going to have to kill me. And to kill me, he's gonna have to have the heart to stand in front of me. And to do that, he's got to be willing to die himself. I don't know if he's ready to do that. I don't know."
Stop being such a wench, Adrian. Saturday's game will have the largest crowd to ever watch a Georgetown basketball game. It's the epic conclusion to one of the greatest rivalries in the history of college sports. And it's all coming to an end, in part, because of Syracuse's greed. Tradition and history and competition and decent money and the interests of the fans weren't good enough. Syracuse prefers football and money and television and more money. And that's fine for them. But don't come into our gym in your last game in the Big East and expect us to sit back and take it. The kids wearing the blue and gray are playing for school, for conference, and for country. If the Cuse players aren't prepared to die on the court on Saturday, they might as well stay in Southern Canada.
"I win for me! FOR ME!"
This is what Syracuse players say during every practice. The guys in orange play for themselves. The guys in gray play for each other. I love this team.
"Now... you´re the one...Now you're gonna have to go through hell, worse than any nightmare that you ever dreamed. But in the end... I know you'll be the one standin´. You know what you gotta do. Do it. Do it."
No explanation necessary. Just do it, young Hoyas.
"I want you to promise me you're not gonna stop this fight, no matter what. No matter what!"
For real. Keep your whistles in your mouths, zebras. I want this game to be a brawl. If the benches clear and punches are thrown, FINE BY ME. If Markel and Brandon Triche start jawing and elbowing each other, let them play. If Jabril punches MCW in the face, let them play. If Cool Whitt walks over to James Southerland and says "at least I have integrity," and then spits in his face, let them play. If John Caprio kicks Trevor Cooney in the balls while doing a one-man Harlem Shake, let them play. If Josh Smith climbs on top of the backboard and then jumps on Rakeem Christmas's head while yelling "Cannonball!" let them play. If small Chinese soldiers run out onto the court and start smacking Air Bowen in the face with a chair, please call the game, because really, that's just dangerous.
"Ivan is naturally trained."
"Then how do you account for his freakish strength?"
" Like your Popeye, he ate his spinach every day."
Remember when Otto Porter had 33 points, eight rebounds, five steals, five threes, two assists and the greatest game of his life against Syracuse. It's not because he takes steroids. It's because OTTO PORTER EATS HIS MUTHAF*CKING SPINACH.
(Internal Monologue: Wait, is Otto now Ivan Drago? I thought Otto was Rocky, or the whole Georgetown team was Rocky, or the Big East and America are Rocky. I'm confused.) Please ignore that.
"I see three of him out there."
"Hit the one in the middle."
"Right! Hit the one in the middle."
For all you Georgetown fans (and other Latvians and chipmunks who read these previews), stop worrying about Louisville and Marquette. Syracuse is the only team that matters. Win this game and we get first place. Hit the one in the middle.
"He's not human. He's like a piece of iron."
Against Syracuse last month, Otto Porter was superhuman. It's true.
"You see? You see? He's not a machine, he's a man, he's a man."
Georgetown cannot rely on Otto Porter's heroics to win every game. It worked once against Syracuse, but I just don't think it will work again. In that last game at the Dome, Georgetown's players not named Otto Porter made seven baskets on 35 attempts for an impressive 20% from the field. We all know that Syracuse will focus on Otto in this game. And we all remember that, but for Otto's performance, we really struggled to score against Syracuse's zone. Against Nova, Otto finally had an off night and showed us that other guys need to step up if we're going to win these big games. We need a total team performance to win this one. Who will step up on Saturday?
"And this being the last game, I EXPECT, and I repeat, expect a win. Because first of all, Georgetown is not better than us. They never have been, and I don't see them ever being better than us..."
Keep talking, MCW.
"You have this belief that you are better than us. You have this belief that this country is so very good and we are so very bad. You have this belief that you are so fair and we are so very cruel."
You're not better than us, Syracuse. You stink, and you smell. And collectively, you have a whorish mouth.
"What's happening out there?"
(Please, please, please, let us experience this moment on Saturday....)
"I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change."
Ok fine. Big East, Schmig East. I'm over it. If these football schools wanna leave, good riddance. We've got a bunch of basketball-only schools that are happy to join us, we've got the Big East name, and we'll likely keep that contract with MSG.
Two gripes. What's with all of these news outlets saying that "the Big East is changing its name to the ‘America 12'"? The Big East isn't dead, folks. We paid for the name. It's ours. The remnants of the old Big East may be teaming up with other football schools and creating some monstrosity of a conference, but the Big East, friends, is still here. So get your facts right, people.
Also, "America 12"? Seriously? Are we just acknowledging that Conference USA has morphed into a new nationwide conference? And why the hell would you put a number in the conference's name? Have you idiots learned nothing from the experiences of the Big 10 and the Big 12? Or are you so naïve to think that conference expansion is over? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???
"You will lose."
Just a quick message to James Southerland. You won't just lose Saturday's game. You'll also lose at life.
"What makes the last two weeks so much more painful is the backdrop of the Big East falling apart. This is the last shebang. And if we're only going to be playing these cats one last time, we don't want to lose at home by 30 to Pittsburgh. We're clearly not winning the title this year, but dammit, let's at least be respectable and put up a frigging fight."
This is what I wrote after we lost to South Florida. Six weeks later, we have a chance to do more than put up a fight. We have a chance to win it all. Can't ask for anything more. Let's go.
"If he dies, he dies."
I don't want anyone to die on Saturday. Let me just make that clear for the record. But honestly, win or lose, someone's going to have a heart attack. There's just too much on the line.
"Well, I've been with the best, and I've BEAT the best! I've retired more men than Social Security!"
In an imaginary pre-game press conference, this is what Big John Thompson would declare to Jim Boeheim and each and every one of those biased Syracuse Newhouse reporters.
"He's worried! You cut him! You hurt him! You see? You see? He's not a machine, he's a man!"
"All your strength, all your power, all your love. Everything you've got. Right now!"
This is what we did to Syracuse when we beat them at the Dome. We took their heart. After that game, they lost two more. They're on the mat, reeling, but this thing isn't over yet. Young Hoyas (it's worth repeating that this is one of the four youngest teams in the country): you need to give it everything you've got. All your strength, all your power, all your love. Beating Cuse once was damn impressive. Beating them twice will be that much more difficult. Stay focused, stay hungry.
"We can't change anything, Adrian. All we can do is just go with what we are."
For all of you people still complaining about our youth or our lack of a quality big man or our turnovers or the continued absence of Greg Whittington or (insert bad thing), get over yourselves. The Villanova loss made us think twice about this team because losses tend to have that effect. Losses magnify deficiencies. But this team is no different than it was before. This is still the same team that lost to South Florida, but also the same team that improbably marched through the best of the best in this conference and now has a chance to finish on top. We can't change anything. All we can do is go with what we are.
"Yo, can you turn your robot down, please?"
Yup, there was a super cool, do-everything robot in the movie. Happy birthday, Paulie. In completely unrelated news, FREE GREG WHITTINGTON. Bring the kid back. If he dresses for Saturday's game, I legitimately might pee my pants.
"There's no easy way out, there's no shortcut home."
Exactly. This is the greatest montage in the history of montages. And here's a quick little fun fact: did you know that the creators of "Rocky" almost decided to use the "You're the Best" song that eventually became famous in the original "Karate Kid"? Apparently, "Eye of the Tiger" won the day. Ralph Macchio's crane kick just wouldn't have been the same.
"You might not be looking for the promised land,
but you might find it anyway
Under one of those old familiar names
Like New Orleans (New Orleans),
Detroit City (Detroit City), Dallas (Dallas)
Pittsburg P.A. (Pittsburg P.A.),
New York City (New York City)
Kansas City (Kansas City),
Atlanta (Atlanta), Chicago and L.A."
James Brown - livin in america ROCKY (via kenshiroseifu)
After this game, your Georgetown Hoyas march right on to New York City, and then some other cities, and finally, back to Atlanta. We miss you, James Brown. Hope you're enjoying that Celebrity Hot Tub Party in the sky.
"You ain't as young as springtime no more."
No, no you're not. You young Hoyas may still be young, but given the improvement over the course of the season, and big time wins against teams like Louisville and ND and Syracuse, you're no longer babies. Even if you're a freshman, you gotta step up. DSR, play like we all know you can.
"That's my dad."
"We know, what do you think we are, nerds?"
This happened a few weeks ago. JTIII pointed out his dad to a bunch of players and fans, and they responded appropriately. Seriously, JTIII, we know who your dad is. Stop being such a show-off. What do you think we are, nerds?
P.S. Tip of the cap to Sword of Brunner who smartly pointed out that during the big fight between Rocky and Ivan Drago, Rocky's kid was having a sleepover party with no adult supervision. Rocky and Adrian and Paulie were all in Russia. WHO THE HELL WAS LOOKING AFTER THE KIDS? THE ROBOT? And also, why would smarmy little Rocky Jr. announce to his friends that his dad was on TV? Wasn't that the reason why his friends came over to his house? To watch his dad in a boxing match? Who the hell is he talking to?
[SwordOfBrunner followup - THE FIGHT WAS ON CHRISTMAS! THEY LEFT THEIR SON HOME ALONE. WITH A ROBOT. ON CHRISTMAS. WHAT IF THE WET BANDITS SHOWED UP? Speaking of Home Alone, this is terrific
"You know what's amazing? After all these years...everything still seems kind of new."
Seriously. Every year there's a new storyline, a new battle against the Orange, and different things on the line. We've played these guys dozens and dozens of times, and yet somehow, this all seems like a new experience. Everything's different, but the same. It's computers. San Dimas High School Football rules. Dammit, wrong movie.
"We fight in Soviet Union or we fight nowhere."
When Syracuse leaves the conference for good, and pressure begins to mount for a Georgetown/Syracuse game during the non-conference part of the season, I basically expect Jim Boeheim to say "we play in Syracuse or we play nowhere." Because Syracuse never travels outside of New York until January of each year, and because Jimmy B is a stubborn, arrogant jerk. Our response to Boeheim should be: go to hell.
(If he proposes that we play Cuse in the Soviet Union, I'm fine with that. Any other country is better than Canada. Seriously, can you imagine an entire arena of people pulling for Comrade Hopkins? It would be amazing.)
"Forget technique. Forget strategy. This is just a street fight. It's a question of who wants it most."
This goes without saying. No matter what defense we play (2-3 zone, obviously), or how many threes James Southerland attempts (at least 30), this game will be a street fight. Show some heart, get after it, and make us freaking proud. Get on the floor. Dive after loose balls. Play this game like it's the most important game of your lives. Because, well, it is.
"We always have to be in the middle of the action 'cause we're the warriors. And without some challenge, without some damn war to fight then the warriors might as well be dead, Stallion. Now I'm asking you - as a friend - stand by my side this one last time."
This is it, fellas. After 33 years of doing battle, we have one last tussle. We didn't cause the end of this hate-filled marriage, but if we're getting a divorce, then let's at least go out with a bang and get our money's worth.
To Hoya fans everywhere, players and students and Washingtonians alike, let's stand together one last time.
"Maybe you don't know what I'm talking about now, but believe me you will when it's over. You will when it's over."
Some of you are too young to remember when Sleepy Floyd and the Hoyas closed down Manley Field House in 1980. And some of you never knew that Michael Graham punched Andre Hawkins in the face prior to Georgetown winning the 1984 BET. Some of you remember when a guy threw an orange at the backboard while Patrick Ewing was shooting free throws at the Carrier Dome. Some of you never saw the epic battles between Pearl Washington and Michael Jackson. And some of you are wondering whether I'm referring to Michael Jackson the singer (I'm not).
Some of you get really angry whenever you see pictures of Derrick Coleman and Rony Seikaly. And some of you don't remember 1987 as the year Syracuse played in the NCAA championship game, but as the year Reggie and the Miracles beat Syracuse in the BET. Some of you still get excited by the thought of Charles Smith racing the length of the court to hit a game-winning layup in 1988. And some of you think Sherman Douglass was tough to defend in the late 80s. Some of you recall fondly when Big John Thompson drew three technical fouls in ten seconds in a loss at the Dome in 1990. And some of you still hate Billy Owens for making those free throws.
Some of you forget that before a guy named Jonathan Wallace led Georgetown to the Final Four, a different John Wallace did the same for Syracuse. Some of you wish Allen Iverson could've stayed two more years, just so he could keep making the Orangemen look silly. And some of you think that Craig Forth can't possibly make the Orangemen look any sillier.
Some of you remember that time when Lee Scruggs and the Hoyas shocked #1 seeded Syracuse in the BET quarterfinals. And some of you still get mad that Brandon Bowman's foot was on the line when he hit that three at the Dome. Some of you remember storming the court when Kevin Braswell and Mike Sweetney led the Hoyas to victory over Cuse in 2002. And some of you still cringe every time you see Gerry McNamara hitting that desperation heave in 2005. Some of you still wonder how Georgetown could've blown a fifteen-point halftime lead to Syracuse in 2006, while others only care about Roy Hibbert stomping all over the Orange in 2008.
Some of you recall vividly the day when Greg Monroe and the Hoyas stunned Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the 2010 BET. And some of you will never forgive the Orange for ruining Austin Freeman's and Chris Wright's senior day, on an afternoon when #4 sat on the bench in a cast. Some of you still think Henry Sims and Jason Clark did enough to win that game at the Dome in 2011. All of you remember when Otto and the Hoyas closed down the Carrier Dome for good.
There have been good memories and bad ones, shared by Georgetown and Syracuse fans alike for over a generation. No matter your age or your gender or your political affiliation, I can promise you one thing: win or lose, you will never forget the game that was played on March 9, 2013.
The Yell of all the Yells
For the Hilltoppers, this game is the icing on the cake. Georgetown hopes to conclude its captivating regular season run with a victory against its biggest rival, and in the process, finish in first place in the last year of the old Big East. We all have our fair share of horrible Syracuse moments. And we want nothing more than to avenge those defeats once and for all. We sent a powerful message up at the Dome two weeks ago, and now it's time to finish the job.
In a way, it's fitting that there are no seniors on this team. The last home game of the season is typically our last chance to celebrate our senior heroes one last time. But this game is about more than graduating seniors. All of the focus will be on these two teams, all of these players, and this storied rivalry, as it should be. And if it turns out to be Otto Porter's swan song too, so be it. Let's just make sure he goes out on top.
On Saturday afternoon, two worlds collide, rival nations. Hoya fans young and old, from all over the country, will come home to our nation's capital to root like hell for the good guys. Whether you're taking the bus or the train, or flying or driving, or just taking a quick trip on the Metro, come early, be loud, and root like hell for the Bulldogs. Because this is Georgetown and Syracuse. For one last time. It doesn't get any bigger than this.
It's been a helluva ride this year. All of this team's goals are still right in front of their faces. Win one more game, win the Big East yet again. Hearts on fire, strong desire. The Big East basketball apocalypse is finally upon us. It's time to take care of business and win another muthaf*cking championship for the dear old blue and gray. I want it, you want, America wants it. Hoya Freaking Saxa.
Let's go Hoyas. BEAT SYRACUSE.