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Game 17 - West Virginia

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When it rains, it pours. Unfortunately for fans, that adage applied to the Hoyas' performance last night against West Virginia. The Mountaineers handed Georgetown their worst loss of the season, defeating the sometimes hapless but mostly hopeless Hoyas by a 17 point margin. Might as well been a road game, the cheers of the inbred in yellow deafened the cries the home Hoyas.

How bad of a loss was it you ask? Well here are some tidbits to put it in perspective:
- Largest margin of defeat since losing at UConn by 19 points on March 2, 2005, 127 games ago. This was JT3's first year.
- Largest margin of defeat at home since losing to Temple by 18 points on November 22 2004, 73 home games ago. This was also in JT3's first year.
- Largest margin of defeat at home against a Big East opponent since losing to Notre Dame by 23 points on March 4, 2000, 61 home Big East games ago. This was in Craig Esherick's first full year as head coach.

How did Georgetown lose this game? Well, they couldn't shoot, couldn't pass, couldn't rebound, couldn't take care of the ball and couldn't play defense. Other than that it was a pretty good game. Since this game was a "blip" and not the "norm" as JT3 stated after the game, I too shall stray from the norm and present my thoughts in a few paragraphs as opposed to standard random statements.

Shooting
We went 2-16 from beyond the arc, resulting in a pitiful 12.5% three point percentage. I think it is important for all to recognize that Georgetown is a good shooting team not because they have good shooters, but because they take good shots. Subtle but incredibly important difference. There is no one on this team that is spot shooter. There is no one on this team that can consistently back an opponent down and hit a fadeaway. The success of this team and the program JT3 has built is dependent on ball movement, creating open looks and taking high percentage shots. Unfortunately this year's team has had a tendency to forget what made them successful. The players took shots with opponents in their face, threes after one pass and tried to make fancy SportsCenter Top Ten layups which ended up spinning off of the rim.

Passing
Georgetown had 8 assists in this game. That is the fewest amount of assists they have had all season. They had 20 field goals on those 8 assists, which is tied for the lowest ratio on the season. The last time the Hoyas had fewer assists than they did last night was on November 29, 2006 in a loss to Oregon where they managed only 7 dimes. The last time Georgetown had an assist to field goal ratio lower than last night was also during the Oregon loss, 82 games ago. So far this season, Georgetown is averaging fewer assists per field goal than in any other season under JT3.

Rebounding

The Hoyas were pitiful. The box score shows 25 rebounds, 9 of which were offensive but in reality the numbers are much lower. Six offensive rebounds came in the last two and half minutes, when West Virginia already had a double digit lead and was trying not to foul. The main reason the team doesn't rebound, other than not remembering the lyrics to the Box It Out song is they don't follow their shots. After every Georgetown three point shot the shooter ended up close to half court by the time the ball bounced off the rim. No one charges the basket on the offensive end when a shot goes up, and no one picks an opponent to push out of the lane. At this point, I would rather see every starter foul out of the game because of push-in-the-back or over-the-top fouls. At least it shows they are thinking about rebounding.

Turnovers
Most turnovers since the loss to Tennessee. After an impressive start to his Big East career, Jason Clark regressed with five turnovers and no assists last night. Adding to the pain was Julian Vaughn who managed to hand the ball over to the Mountaineers three times in four minutes. Georgetown currently has a woeful 1:1 turnover to assist ratio, its worst under JT3.

Defense
The poor defense is a result of all of the above. The Hoyas couldn't handle West Virginia's drive and pass offense. Da'Sean Butler crushed Georgetown, making twice as many threes as the entire Hoya squad. The turnovers led to quick buckets, the lack of rebounding led to easy put-backs and the inability to guard against drives led to open shots on the perimeter. I said West Virginia was not a good three point shooting team in the preview, and they are not, they have the worst three point percentage out of the top half of the Big East (by rankings, not standings) but when you let them attempt 23 threes, they are going to make a few.

So there you have it. One of the worst games ever under a John Thompson III coached team. We all knew the season was not going to be spectacular, but didn't think it would be ugly. Up against Seton Hall on Sunday, a team that has yet to win a conference game. Needlessness to say but this is a must win, Hoyas haven't lost three straight since '05-'06 season.


Good talk.