Happy Holidays, kids! As your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown get set to take on the Indiana Hoosiers at Madison Square Garden, as always we're bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent. Here to harp on all things Hoosiers is our bestest blog buddy Crimson Quarry. Let's do this!
Crimson Quarry! How are you? You excited to be playing Georgetown (the team with the World's Most Famous Blog) in the World's Most Famous Arena?
I'm doing well - I'm currently answering these questions on a flight from the Midwest to my parents' house on the East Coast. I am excited about this game, as are other IU fans. Last year's non-conference schedule was atrocious for the most part, so it's exciting to be playing more decent opponents before B1G play starts this season. We're off to a 10-2 start to the season, and while our team's defense is a work in progress, the offense has been clicking on all cylinders. The last time we played Georgetown two years ago, it was a hard-fought overtime victory, so we are hoping for more of the same this time around. And I'm guessing the team will enjoy getting back to MSG - we already lost to Louisville there during the Jimmy V Classic earlier this season, so coming out of the World's Most Famous Arena with a win would be huge for the Hoosiers.
Who are some of the guys that the Hoyas need to watch out for on Saturday?
First of all there is Yogi Ferrell. The junior point guard is our floor general and the key cog of the team. He has the ability to take over games - as he showed in the second half against Butler. James Blackmon Jr. is the heralded freshman on this team, and is a pure shooter with great form; however, his shot has been off in recent games. Sophomore Troy Williams has come back from an early-season suspension to play with a ton of energy, and he could be the x-factor on this team going forward. Hanner Mosquera-Perea has had to really step up this year to make up for this team's lack of height, and while the junior forward has been a project since he arrived in Bloomington, he's finally starting to show glimpses of coming into his own.
What are your thoughts on the Tom Crean era thus far? Does he deserve a couple more years in Bloomington? If you had the chance to pick Crean's successor, who would it be and why?
Tom Crean was given a long leash to rebuild IU men's basketball, and he was able to do so. Sustaining that level of success has become his top priority now though, and I think he deserves a couple more years in Bloomington, providing this season doesn't go off the rails. I am not the biggest Crean fan - his substitution and timeout patterns bug me and he comes off as a little too aggressive during games (a trait I assumed he learned from his Harbaugh brothers-in-law), but he seems like a good guy and cares deeply about this team, and I cannot entirely fault him for what his players have done outside of his supervision. And so far, he's gotten the team to come together despite the off-court distractions.
Win or lose on Saturday, I think the Hoosiers have a good chance to get 9-10 wins in the B1G, which should give them about 20 wins and put them in the tournament. I don't want to assume that Crean is gone until we've reached a point of no return, but I would guess that any blue-blood college hoops program would have Tony Bennett, Sean Miller, or Shaka Smart at the top of their coaching wish lists in case something goes awry (I'm not putting Brad Stevens on this list since he seems fully committed to his gig with the Celtics at this point).
Where do you see the Hoosiers finishing in the Big Ten this season? Related, outside of Wisconsin, do you see any team in the Big Ten making some noise in March?
Honestly, I could see the Hoosiers finishing anywhere between 2nd and 11thin the B1G (as it looks like Purdue, Northwestern, and Rutgers will be at the bottom of the conference). It really depends on how our young team handles the grind of conference play week in and week out.
Surprisingly enough, the only other B1G team besides Wisconsin that I could see making noise right now is Maryland. Their only loss has come to a really good UVA team, and they are playing at a high level right now even without Dez Wells. Mark Turgeon finally looks to be putting it all together in College Park... so when are you guys finally going to play the Terps?
Let's say you and I are hanging out, and we decide to go to a Mexican restaurant. Detail your order, from start to finish.
Well, if we are in DC, then I'm taking you out of Georgetown and to Columbia Heights, and to a place called El Rinconcito II that does excellent Mexican and Salvadorean food. I'll get chips and salsa to start, followed by a pupusa and chicken tamale combo. For the main platter, I'd get a steak chimichanga, making sure they put extra guacamole and pico de gallo in my order. To drink, I'd get a glass of horchata, and perhaps a Dos Equis while we argue over which of us has the Most Interesting Blog in the World. Finally, if I have any more room for dessert, I'll get a piece of flan.
This question took me longer to answer than all the other questions combined.
(Casual Note: As it should have. Well done.)
What are your thoughts on Butler now that it has joined the Big East? Potential competitor for Indiana recruits or more of the same?
More of the same. Butler has embraced its role as the loveable underdog and reliance on The Butler Way, and I don't expect the Bulldogs to change that much, but they'll always be a tough team, even with Brad Stevens gone. I generally like Butler because they have a small but strong fanbase that loves basketball and plays in one of the grand old arenas of the sport - and I even interviewed their mascot for a Q&A last week - but I was certainly glad to see us win by 9 on Saturday.
Did you expect Cody Zeller to be a better NBA player? Thoughts on Victor Oladipo thus far?
I knew that Zeller wouldn't be a star right away, but I have been happy with his progress on the Hornets. Playing alongside Al Jefferson and having Patrick Ewing (shameless Georgetown plug!) as his assistant really seems to have helped his development in the pros. While the Hornets' season has been disappointing so far on the whole, Zeller seems to be more comfortable every day.
Oladipo is part of a fun young core on the Magic, and I'm not surprised that he has come back strong from an early-season injury. The guy has always was putting in a ton of hard work to become better when he was in Bloomington, so seeing profiles like this one by SB Nation's Paul Flannerydoes not surprise me.
What are your thoughts on this Georgetown team?
First of all, I am surprised that Josh Smith is still playing college hoops - I know he was a UCLA transfer, but it seems like it was years ago when he played for the Bruins. But Georgetown has historically been known for its talent at center, and I'm worried about the potential size advantage against IU, since the Hoosiers usually play three guards on the court at any given time. We will have to be unafraid to crash the glass and get rebounds against a guy like Smith.
The only time I've been able to watch Georgetown this year was their loss to Kansas, and I liked what I saw in that close loss. One nice thing about Big East games now is that Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery, two of my all-time favorites, do the announcing, so that will make me more apt to tune in to your conference games. I see the Big East somewhat like the B1G in that there is one clear favorite (Villanova) and a host of other teams that could make noise. Obviously, we'd like you guys to do well in conference play, since it would strengthen our schedule regardless of the outcome.
Fun fact: when I lived in DC I got great seats ten rows from the court to a Georgetown game against South Florida for about 12 bucks each. The Hoyas lost. Sad trombone.
(Casual note: This may or may not have been the infamous Dominique Jones game)
What do you want to get/did you get for X-Mas (or whatever holiday you may celebrate)?
Well, I'd like Santa to get me a win over Georgetown on Saturday, first of all. But honestly, most of the presents I asked for were more practical household items, since I moved into a new apartment a few months ago, and it's stuff I'd rather not spend my own money on.
I also have a January birthday, and my excellent girlfriend got us IU-Ohio State basketball tickets at Assembly Hall on Jan. 10 as an early birthday gift.
Final score prediction?
I don't think Georgetown's size will be able to overcome Indiana's shooting. I like the Hoosiers to pull out an 83-77 victory in Madison Square Garden to end their non-conference schedule on a high note.