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Games That Matter - Likes/Dislikes and Georgetown v. Seton Hall Preview

NYHoya drops his preview ahead of Hoyas - Priates


ESPN / USA Today: N/A


RPI: 38

Georgetown 53, Louisville 51 -- Quick Post-Game Observations; Likes/Dislikes

I thought about doing another movie tribute, but it was a little too soon. Bringing back the likes/dislikes for Saturday's big-time victory, which resulted in the Hoyas basically telling the rest of the conference: "Yup, we can beat really good teams....even without Greg Whittington."

Like: Markel Starks. Obviously. It wasn't just the 17 points or the terrific ball handling against Louisville's pressure defense, or even his defense against Siva and Smith. It was the way he made his shots, and the timing of his makes. Think about it for a second. You probably remember all of his baskets. The opening three at the start of the game. The razzle-dazzle drive to the basket, in which he palmed the ball behind his back before laying it in. The floater in the lane, as the shot clock was winding down in the second half. The ridiculous crossover in front of Russ Smith, which ignited the crowd. The kid had one of the best games of his career, on a day when we absolutely needed him to have one of his best games of the year.

Dislike: We gave up too many free throws again. Louisville had 22 foul shots. We had 12. Our opponents tend to go to the line more than we do, and it's a disturbing trend. South Florida only beat us at the end because we kept committing bad fouls. We need to be a little more prudent, particularly in the second half.

Like: The wins against Notre Dame and Louisville seem to confirm that we're pretty good. Not only did we save the season and turn a corner, but we did it all without our second-best player.

Dislike: We really need Greg Whittington to come back. This isn't sustainable. I'm still waiting impatiently for that "Daniel Larusso is gonna fight" moment. It can't come soon enough. If the Whitt-less Hoyas can beat ND (on the road) and Louisville in consecutive games, just imagine how far we can go when/if His Royal Coolness returns (cue the delusion). Seriously, just tell us already. Either he's out for the season, or the teacher will let him take a make-up exam. Shouldn't be that hard to figure out.

Like: We defeated a solid team, and only two of Georgetown's players scored more than six points.

Dislike: We need more balance. Our offense is still woefully stagnant at times and it's hard for me to remember the last time we had a successful back door pass. Yeah, we beat Louisville, but the result - and the euphoria that resulted - could easily have been different. Think about it. Markel and DSR missed a bunch of layups. Only two guys scored more than six points apiece. DSR went 1 of 10 from the floor. We only made one basket in the last four minutes of the game. We looked confused on offense again during end-of-game possessions. Hopkins had three turnovers in a mere 13 minutes of action. We committed 16 turnovers. Otto had seven turnovers all by himself. (And yet somehow, we beat one of the best teams in the country....)

Like: Peyton Siva was limited to zero points, three turnovers and four fouls. It was his worst offensive performance since his freshman year.

Dislike: Peyton Siva's facial hair. It just doesn't do it for me.

Like: Did Saturday's big win remind anyone of another big Georgetown win against Louisville? I immediately thought back to a special senior day at the Phone Booth, during the epic 2007-08 season, in which the Hoyas clinched the Big East regular season title with a gritty win against Louisville, 55-52. The games were similar in many key areas. The scores were roughly the same. In the 2008 game, the Hoyas committed 17 turnovers, shot 80% from the free throw line, and held Louisville's streaky point guard (Edgar Sosa) to zero points. On Saturday, the 2012-13 Hoyas committed 16 turnovers, shot 83% from the line, and held Louisville's streaky point guard (Peyton Siva) to zero points.

Dislike: Let's not overemphasize the comparisons between the two teams. While both teams were strong defensively, the 2007-08 team's half-court offense was significantly better. More assists, more cuts, more composure. It helps when you have players like Wallace and Hibbert. (But Starks and Porter aren't too shabby.)

Like: Aaron Bowen's acrobatic, whirling dervish tip-in to seal the deal. You've all seen it. You all love it. The #1 play on Sportscenter. Welcome to the show, AB. By the way, during his senior year of high school, this is what ESPN's recruiting gurus said about Bowen: "Bowen is a long and lean wing that played well at the Kreul Classic in December. He has great length and can score over smaller defenders with ease. Bowen sprinted the wing in transition where he hit spot up jumpers from behind the arc or finished above the rim when ahead of the pack. He can hit the open three when set in the half court by spacing to the open area or coming off screens. He also displayed good touch and body control along the baseline when he received drop off passes created by dribble penetration. Bowen also had a presence on the offensive glass where he had a couple nice tip ins. Bowen is capable of defending both wing positions as well. He must add strength and be more consistent to take his game to the next level but he has the size and skill to be an excellent college wing." I think it's fair to say that this assessment is spot-on.

Dislike: Mike Brey.

Like: Shortly after Bowen's go-ahead basket, there was a timeout, followed by an ESPN promo for the Winter X Games. Mike Patrick said something like, "Aaron Bowen isn't the only won with superhuman leaping ability." It's not a direct quote, but you get the point. At the time, I loved it.

Dislike: The Winter X Games. Seriously, just end this nonsense, ESPN. Stop pretending like anyone gives a crap. If ESPN spent as much time promoting college basketball as it does promoting extreme winter sports, the Big East conference wouldn't need to disband.

Like: Greg Whittington's reaction after Markel broke Russ Smith's ankles with that step-back deep two in the second half. Whitt stood up immediately and shouted "OH SH*T. OH SH*T." It was awesome.

Dislike: The white uniforms. I'm sorry. I know we've now defeated Texas and Louisville with the white unis, but I just want them to go away. They remind me too much of the Esherick years. Bring back the grays. I would even consider the baby blues (early 1980s-style).

Like: Pandora radio. The commercials don't bother me. It's consistent and reliable.

Dislike: Pandora frequently thinks I want to hear Disney tunes. (Pandora happens to be right.) My list of preferred artists includes Boyz II Men, Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Mariah Carey, Usher, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, Jay-Z and a few others. Not sure why "Hakuna Matata" keeps showing up on my personal radio station. (Actually, "Hakuna matata" happens to be a wonderful phrase. And it ain't no passing craze.) So yeah, I guess I love Disney tunes.

Like: Jabril had eight big rebounds against Louisville. Obviously, I love his aggressive style of play, his attitude, and his hustle. The guy probably can't wake up in the morning without punching three people in the balls. Love Jabril.

Dislike: Mike Brey.

Like: How hilarious is it that West Virginia is having an awful, awful season? I laugh every time I see that team lose. Enjoy the Big 12, jerks!

Dislike: The Big 12 now has ten teams. We've known this for months, but it still bothers me. Just one of 10,000 negative things that have happened ever since big money and college football ruined America.

Like: Russ Smith isn't only a volume shooter; he's also a volume tweeter...until Pitino banned him from tweeting. "When I was on Twitter as a freshman, I was ridiculous. I was using profanity, just being all-out reckless. I would tweet at such a high rate, and so recklessly, that it was just like, 'Russ has to stop.' I got in trouble from Coach P so many times. ... I was injured, not playing, so it didn't even feel like I was part of the team yet -- I didn't think it would matter what I said. But the [coaches] printed out all my Tweets and showed me how bad they were, and after that it was no Twitter allowed."

"Was there a specific Tweet that was a problem, I asked?"

"No, not a specific one, it was just more the volume of them. But I guess I did once tweet something like, 'Alright, I'm about to take a sh--.'"

Dislike: Apparently, "Russdiculous" isn't Russ Smith's only nickname. According to Luke Winn, his father still calls him "tuna fish". "When Russ was really little, he did a dance where he shook his behind like a tuna fish. So that's where it came from. I still use it, like, I'll say, 'Get your little tuna fish behind outta here.' My mom actually used that nickname on me, too, so it got passed down. It's like a family tradition." This comment falls into the "dislike" category because the nickname is terrible: tuna fish is way more consistent than Russ Smith.

Like: In 590 minutes of action, Otto Porter has committed only 33 turnovers.

Dislike: In 358 minutes of action, Mikael Hopkins has committed 36 turnovers.

Like: Nate Lubick is shooting 63.5% from the field.

Dislike: DSR is shooting 35.7% from the field.

Like: Henry Sims scored 30 points in his last NBDL game. With Rasheed Wallace hurting, the Knicks are giving Big Hank a serious look. Chris Wright has also been killing it. With Rajon Rondo out for the season, the Celtics are reportedly considering adding Wright to the roster. And DaJuan Summers poured in 29 points for the Maine Red Claws a couple of weeks ago.

Dislike: How the hell did Georgetown not make the Tournament in the 2008-09 season? Jeez.

Like: John Cahill is a lawyer. Hooray for lawyers.

Dislike: John Cahill is the worst. I still can't get over that terrible jump ball call at the end of Saturday's game. If Siva's shot went in, our fans may have thrown batteries onto the court. Wait, never mind. This isn't Morgantown. We would have thrown patriotic lapel pins and Casual headbands.

Like: After the game, some reporter commented that the Hoyas are now 4-1 without Greg Whittington in the lineup. The reporter asked whether team chemistry had improved. He wanted JTIII to talk about the meaning of that 4-1 record without GW. JTIII's response: with Greg in the lineup, we'd probably be 5-0. Loved that answer.

Dislike: Theology. We need Whitt to come back. We really, really do. Am I happy with the improved minutes and play of DSR and Bowen and Jabril? Absolutely. Am I surprised that our defense has been consistently strong, even without Greg? Yup. But the reality is this: there's no way we give up those seven threes to South Florida if Greg is on the court. His wingspan makes up for defensive lapses.

Like: Still upset about that loss to South Florida? Think about this. Last year, Louisville finished 10-8 in the conference, but got hot at the end of the season and won the Big East Tournament and marched all the way to the Final Four. Prior to Louisville's glorious run, the Cardinals lost to Providence in mid-January by 31 points. So don't lose hope just yet.

Dislike: (Still upset about that South Florida loss....)

Like: Syracuse losing.

Dislike: Syracuse.

Preview of Wednesday's Game: Georgetown v. Seton Hall (7pm)

Congratulations, 2012-13 Hoyas. Just when we thought you were finished, you fought out of a hole and picked up two solid wins. Now comes the fun part. It's one thing to be competitive against good teams. Now you just need to demonstrate a little consistency against a not-so-very-good team. Think it will be easy? What happened against South Florida? Actually, want a better example? What the hell happened the last time the mighty Hoyas faced the lowly Pirates?

The Last Time These Teams Met

It was a disaster. Behind the hot shooting of Jordan Theodore (29 points), Seton Hall trounced the Hoyas by 18 points. JTIII called the performance "atrocious," as no Georgetown player scored in double figures. Ironically, it was Greg Whittington who led the Hoyas with a cool nine points. Markel Starks had his worst game of the season (two points on 1 of 9 shooting). Starks would then be suspended for the next game for his behavior after the loss (fortunately, it had nothing to do with theology). The loss was arguably Georgetown's worst of the season.

What to Expect on Wednesday

Seton Hall has a young, athletic team that has had to overcome a number of injuries to key players over the course of the season. Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope are gone, but Fuquan Edwin (17.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 spg) and Eugene Teague (12.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) provide the Pirates with good balance. Seton Hall shoots a ton of threes (four players have attempted at least 70 threes), so Georgetown will (gulp) need to guard the perimeter well. Aaron Cosby (11.8 ppg, 3.1 apg) and Brian Oliver (8.3 ppg) aren't afraid to launch it. Brandon Mobley (9.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg), a 6'9'' sophomore, has given the Pirates a spark in the paint, but has also demonstrated a willingness to fire from long-range (he has connected on 18 of 34 threes).

Fun Fact: Seton Hall's roster includes players from Israel, the Czech Republic, Manchester and Compton. Newark is apparently a much more appealing destination for international students than Washington, DC. Mazel tov, Cory Booker.

Keys to the Game:

1. Defend the Perimeter: Remember when South Florida hit seven of nine threes at the start of the second half last week? Yeah, that can't happen again. Seton Hall averages 21.6 three-point attempts per game (#2 in the conference) and leads the conference in three-pointers made per game (8.2). Need to lock down Edwin and Cosby, in particular.

2. The Press: Seton Hall commits a ton of turnovers. They rank #312 out of 347 teams in the country in terms of turnovers per possession. We need to get after it. Eugene Teague averages 3.1 turnovers per game, while Cosby averages 2.4 and Tom Maayan (the Israeli) averages 3.0. Go get the ball, Jabril.

3. Free Throws: We should be able to get to the foul line in this game. And we need to take advantage in the paint. Seton Hall likes to launch a lot of deep shots. There's no way they should get to the line more than we do. I want Otto, Nate and Mikael to shoot free throws early and often. I also want them to make said free throws.

This is a game that scares me a little. Georgetown has a history of being maddeningly inconsistent. Lose to USF, then beat ND and Louisville. If we're a contender, we can't lay another egg. The time for underachieving is over. Let's stop feeling good about ourselves and get back to work. We've seen the Hoyas beat the good teams, but can they beat the bad teams too?

We'll find out on Wednesday. (And if Daniel Larusso is gonna fight, that's fine with me too.)

Let's go Hoyas. Beat Seton Hall.