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Inside Edition: How Georgetown Will Beat Syracuse

Former John Thompson Jr. player "Bashful" strikes again:

(via Creative Commons License)

This Wednesday the Hoyas return to the Carrier Dome for an important game with Syracuse. The conventional wisdom and likelihood is that the Hoyas will lose this game for a variety of reasons:

  1. The Dome is a pretty serious home court advantage. This usually manifests itself in adverse officiating.
  2. Both teams are roughly equivalent in the rankings. While GU has a better offense, Syracuse has a very good defense. So the tie goes to the home team.
  3. JT III has never won in the Carrier Dome.

(How Georgetown Will Win After the Jump)

Obviously, I want Georgetown to win and will watch ESPN rooting for them to do so. If that is to happen, we need to focus on one thing intensively. Play defense like we did against St. John's (in the Jan.26 game), Villanova and Louisville. The defensive intensity which was on display against Providence will not cut it. We need to hold the Orange to about 40% shooting from the floor. This is not that an impossible task. As I watched Seton Hall and Villanova beat Syracuse, it became pretty clear that the Orange lack a real "go to" offensive player to create shots and score other than Kris Joseph. Jardine and Triche are very streaky and volatile shooters who have a tough time creating their own shot against good defensive pressure. Jackson is a big body who may score off offensive rebounds but he is not creating anything. If the Georgetown team comes out focused on leaving every ounce of effort on the defensive floor, they can win. After all, this team beat Syracuse in the last six quarters of their three games last year. As much as we miss Greg Monroe, Syracuse is much weaker without Johnson, Onawaku and Rautins.

To emphasize how important the commitment to defense is let's borrow some analysis from our friends at Hoya Prospectus.


Defensive Performance = Expected points allowed - points allowed

Georgetown is 12-2 when the defense out performs expectations and only 6-3 when it doesn't.

The defensive effort in the three games between Jan. 26 and 31 is absolutely necessary to win games against quality Big East opponents. Our offense is something that comes naturally to this team and, as we saw in the end of January games, it can flow off a good defense.

Now with respect to our offense, it is important to attack the Syracuse zone at its seams rather than rely too heavily on shooting over the top of the zone. Austin, Jason and Chris are just too short to shoot over those guys. Attack the seams as effectively as we did in the second half of the Verizon game against Syracuse last year and our BET victory over them. Also the guards on Nova and Theodore from the Hall did it very well. So, JT III, please show the team those tapes this week.

Other thoughts on the team so far:

In order for us to have a successful run to the end of the season, we need to continue to work on and improve our season to date performance on defense and turnovers.  We also need to improve our efficiencies in individual spots.

  • Austin Freeman and Jason Clark: look to create more 12 foot jumpers or drives if they are playing up on the threes. And please appreciate the value of getting to the line. Not only do you put points on the board as you are both good foul shooters you are limiting the time on the court or intensity of the defense by your opponents. We, as a team, need to get to the line more often-look at how beneficial it was against Villanova.
  • Julian Vaughn, Nate Lubick and Henry Sims: establish a routine for your foul shots and go through it every time. Also bend your knees on your foul shots. Against Providence all three of you looked stiff.
  • Henry Sims:  you need to spend 30 minutes after every practice working with a coach on your defensive and offensive footwork. Please develop a drop step move in the post..
  • Nate Lubick: avoid unnecessary fouls --we are so much better when you are in the game. Also work with Henry on a drop step post move.
  • Jerrelle Benimon: I know the Benimonster has taken unbelievable and not unwarranted heat on this site for some charges and fouls that have really broken momentum in recent games.  But let's understand something about what he brings to the table. He is a physical defensive presence with size that can counter other teams' similar players. He is tall and strong where our starting team was small and not physical until we began starting Lubick. Nate and Vaughn are better in this area than Jerrelle and Henry but fouls and pace are going to require that these two get minutes. I would reference the St. John's game when Justin Burrell saw Henry come in the game and just went right at him-physically backing him down in the paint. Jerrelle switched up on him and that stopped immediately. You need that at times and he is one of our enforcers. He really needs just to keep himself under control when going to the basket and to never take a three point shot. If he has his head in the game, Benimon could be the guy with the size and ability to shut down Kris Joseph on Wednesday.

Let's go get 'em.