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Qasual Questions: Media Roundup

With the Hoyas set to begin Big East play tonight, we asked the four main dudes covering the team to step into the QQs ring.  If you aren't yet following these guys on twitter, do it and do it now.

The QQs:

Heading into the Big East schedule, what are your expectations for the team this season? What were they before the season?

Other than DSR or Josh Smith, which player do you see being the key to Georgetown's success in Big East play?

Predict Georgetown's record in the Big East and tell me which games they are losing.

What is the best part about covering Georgetown basketball? What is the most frustrating part about covering Georgetown basketball?

Is there free food for media members at Verizon? If so, please detail the available options.

Bonus Q: If you had a ticket to see Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Taylor Swift and Jay Z and they were all on the same night, which are you going to and justify.

Michael Bohlin, @Hoyas247:

1) Not much has changed in terms of my expectations for the Georgetown Hoyas with conference play set to begin on Wednesday night, this is a team that is very capable of finishing near the top of the Big East. If anything, the outlook is a bit more clear now than it was heading into the season as we've seen what the freshman class is capable of through their first 11 games as Hoyas.

2) I am going to have to go with Aaron Bowen on this one. We have seen the senior impact the game in a number of ways throughout the season with Bowen putting up some impressive stat lines off of the bench when receiving regular minutes. Bowen consistently brings energy to the lineup when he's inserted into the game by John Thompson III and lately that energy has been translating into positives for both Bowen and the Hoyas as we head into league play.

3) Since anything can happen over the course of the next three months, I am going with 15-3 in the Big East with losses at Villanova and at St. John's. I think that Xavier could give the Hoyas trouble with their ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter so losing one of the two games to the Musketeers wouldn't shock me.

4) Outside of being asked to do fantastic Q&A's like this? I would say the best thing about covering the Georgetown Hoyas is that the fan base lives and breathes basketball. While basketball can sometimes play second fiddle to football in other conferences throughout the country, basketball is king in the Big East and there's nothing better than that in my opinion.

Most frustrating thing would be not being allowed to speak with the freshman class until the second semester when so much of the team's rotation is currently made up of the Hoyas newcomers. However, now that we're heading into the New Year that isn't an issue anymore so I am just complaining for the sake of complaining at this point.

5) There is free food for media members at the Verizon Center. It varies on a game by game basis as the start time has something to do with what people are interested in eating. Personally, I have been a fan of the breakfast sandwiches for noon tipoff's as the sausage and egg english muffin is pretty delicious. There's usually some cookies available as well and we have a fully functional soda fountain, it's basically everything you could ever dream of.

BONUS Q: I doubt it is the popular opinion on this one but I am going to the Jay-Z concert 100 times out of 100 in the scenario you've created here. I know the mega hits for Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel but doubt my knowledge of their respective catalogs is great enough for me to truly enjoy taking in one of their concerts when seeing the Jigga man is an option. I'm not sure why anyone would pay good money to see Taylor Swift sing about all of her failed relationships in person but maybe I am the weird one here, I guess that Shake It Off song is catchy?

Ben Standig, @BenStandig

1) I'm not focused on the Big East title, which isn't to say the Hoyas can't win it. Villanova looks strong and the conference appears much deeper than expected based on early results. Heck, Georgetown's first road game comes on the last night of 2014. Let's see how the kids and vets perform in hostile settings. That said, how can anyone not like the blend of experience and upside? D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is all kinds of craft offensively, Joshua Smith is a true difference maker, Mikael Hopkins is taking a page out of Henry Sims' senior season playbook, Jabril Trawick is making shots and finally, finally, FINALLY Aaron Bowen's role is appropriate for his highlight-creating skill set. Playing in John Thompson III's system, can take some adjusting, but the freshmen, specifically L.J. Peak and Paul White, have adjusted quickly. The roster is deep and athletic, has size, speed and shooters. Still wish the plan involved dictating terms more offensively rather than taking what the defense gives - these guys should run, run, and then run some more -, but there's reason to believe an NCAA Tournament appearance is in the offing. Beyond that, well, I'll get back to you.

Before the season tipped, my largest questions centered on Smith. Part his physical conditioning, but mostly his effort level. I realized how little he gave last season when I noticed him jumping for rebounds this season an thinking, "Hey, he's jumping for rebounds." So while the freshman plus the returning upperclassmen provided reason for hope, so much could go wrong if Smith wasn't right. So far, so good, so very good.

2) JTIII likes mentioning that with so many interesting pieces on the roster, he can adjust his lineups depending on the plan. That means this answer could be different depending on the matchup, but you want a specific name so here you go. Paul White. Separating Smith and Mikael Hopkins is the way to go so another player with size must be out there. The best way to maximize Smith inside and DSR everywhere is with another spread-the-court shooter defenses can't slack off. Right now White is the best bet for that role.

3) I'll go 12-6 with a 10-8 downside hedge. As for the games, I'll predict a home rout over St. John's, a split with Villanova and a sweep over DePaul. Other than that, hit me up on Twitter @benstandig before each game and I'll tell you what I thinking that day. Cool? Cool.

4) You mean other hanging with Bobby Bancroft? Hey, I grew up watching Sleepy Floyd, Patrick Ewing and Reggie Williams, witnessed Allen Iverson battle Ray Allen and recall every crushing moment at Syracuse's expense. Having the opportunity to cover, write and discuss the program, the 13-year-old version of me would be so giddy. Also the courtside seats aren't bad (understatement), though I actually prefer analyzing a game on TV rather in person..

What is the most frustrating part about covering Georgetown basketball? You mean other hanging with Bobby Bancroft? Access isn't always a breeze during the season - JTIII has been good to me during the summer - and I'm still waiting to catch a glimpse of my first practice. Every program has a different plan and you roll accordingly.

5) Free food indeed. Since free is good and I'm cool with sandwiches and whatnot, I won't knock, though there's typically not much worth documenting either.

Bonus Q:  All the sportswriters over 40 will head down Thunder Road for Bruce. I've got 99 problems and not being cool enough for a Jay-Z show is one of them. I'm a believer in Taylor Swift's game, but I could not Shake it Off, regret that is, if I chose her over the Piano Man. When it comes to being part of Billy Joel's fan base, I'm never Movin' Out.

Gene Wang, @Gene_Wang

1. Top four finish in Big East with chance to win conference tournament, which was what I had envisioned for Hoyas at start of season.

2. Mikael Hopkins is on the court because of his defensive contributions, but he's improved his low post moves enough to be a viable offensive threat at times. If he stays out of foul trouble and continues to develop, his presence could be huge in the rugged Big East.

3. 12-6: Nova x2, at Xavier, at SJU, at Butler, at Creighton.

4. Best: Road trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse. Worst: Road trip to Newark, NJ.

5. Free food options have included Dunkin' Donuts breakfast sandwiches, Panera lunch sandwiches, Dominos and best of all Hill Country BBQ for BB&T Classic.

Bonus: Springsteen, but since I've seen him a dozen times, I might be inclined to go Jay-Z, especially if Beyonce is performing too.

Bobby Bancroft, @BobbyBancroft:

1) Heading in the BIG EAST schedule, I expect Georgetown, at times, to show us enough to believe that they can make a run to the second weekend in the tournament. They should pick up between 10 and 12 wins in the league.

Before the season my expectations were that the Hoyas would have good parts but the lack of a proven point guard would keep Hoya fans everywhere on the edge of their seat come Selection Sunday. In other words I had them on the bubble.

2) Part of me says Paul White but I'm going with Jabril Trawick here.

Even with all of the problems Georgetown had last season, a healthy Jabril likely puts them in the NCAA Tournament. Just in the last few games we've seen what an kind of an impact Trawick makes. He struggled against Kansas but he's been huge since with his first double-double against Charlotte, a career-high seven assists against Radford, and another overall good game against Indiana.

A healthy and smart - ie no early foul trouble - Trawick provides so much for the Hoyas. He can guard a various positions, he can fill up a box score, and he can provide help as the lead guard which allows DSR to play off the ball at times.

3) 12-6
Losses - at Villanova, at Seton Hall, Villanova, at Marquette, at St. John's, at Creighton

4) In my fourth full season of covering the Hoyas the best part is that I'm covering the Hoyas. Georgetown was my favorite team growing up - in any sport - and right now if I were in a lineup somewhere JT3 might recognize me.

I'd say the most frustrating part is not being able to talk to the freshmen until after the first semester is complete. In today's college basketball, freshman are a big deal and ignore them for the entire non conference portion of the season is not so great.

5) Yes, there is free pre game food. For weeknight games it's usually either chicken parm or Domino's Pizza. I favor the pizza. For the weekend noon tips we usually have a choice of a bacon or sausage breakfast sandwich. I also go sausage while Ben Standig complains that there is too much sausage and not enough egg. There's also some fresh fruit and yogurt available. I'm a big fan of the breakfast spread.

Bonus Q:

Taylor Swift. Her 1989 World Tour would remind me of a freshman Alonzo Mourning and senior Charles Smith leading the Hoyas to a BIG EAST Championship and Elite 8 appearance. Oh, and the crowd would probably be pretty easy on the eyes.


Thanks, gents!