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The Casual Awards: BRICK CITY BEATDOWN!

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Sandwiched in between the Grammys and the Oscars is an awards feature of a more casual variety. Back in action after the Hoyas bid adieu to the Garden State, the CASUAL AWARDS have returned.....

While you were mourning Jon Stewart’s retirement and rooting for Beck to punch Kanye in the face, we were enjoying a little fiesta of Trader Joe’s Indian food while drafting a pre-Valentine’s Day edition of the Casual Awards.  In advance of a much-needed week off and our first battle against the Johnnies, we once again celebrate and vilify all of those most deserving.  Away we go….

[SwordOfBrunner note: the Grammys once gave Lionel Richie Album of the Year over both Purple Rain and Born in the USA.  The Grammys are dumb.  Who cares what happened at a dumb awards show unless a guy takes his shirt off to reveal the word "Soy Bomb" and dances like an idiot while Bob Dylan plays?  And I say this as a huge fan of both Beck and Kanye West]

Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award:

Isaac Muthaf*cking Copeland.

Our main freshman squeeze poured in a career-high 20 points and matched his career-high with eight rebounds in his most riveting performance of the season.  And he did it all in just 24 minutes.  After contributing eight early points in our opening half blitzkrieg, General Ike stormed the swamps of north Jersey in the second half by scoring 12 consecutive points and putting to bed any thoughts of another Georgetown collapse.  Cope displayed the full range of his offensive arsenal on Tuesday night, as he hit a trio of threes, knocked down mid-range jumpers, and took the ball hard to the basket when he found openings.  Midway through the second half, when our bigs were saddled with foul trouble, he even platooned as our center.  The dude did it all.

DSR said it best in the post-game presser: "Isaac today played like a man.  You know that's how we need him to play for the remainder of the season."  Truer words have never been spoken.  Keep up the good work, young fella.    

Toyota Peak Performer Award:

Jabril Trawick.

Despite picking up the world’s fastest foul (a whistle after two seconds, really?), Broad Street Brilly finished with a very solid 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 30 minutes of action.  He did the little things and didn’t force the issue.  If he saw an opening after a Seton Hall turnover, he went straight to the basket; when Georgetown found itself in a bit of a funk, he settled things down.  

Sure, he had a couple of miscues, but on balance his aggressiveness led to more positives than negatives.  Most importantly, on a night in which our guys were getting called for fouls every five seconds, Jabril figured out a way to stay on the court.  His only two fouls were questionable whistles: the jump ball push and the offensive foul that was reviewed for some reason, despite the fact that Jabril was mauled while going to the basket.  When Jabril plays well, this team wins.  For Jabril to play well, he needs to be on the court.  He was certainly on the court on Tuesday night. 

The Alonzo Mourning Award for Thunderous Blocks Award:

Trey Mourning.  Like father, like son.  Trey’s game-ending, earth-shattering swat was a sign of things to come for the only freshman without a nickname.  Strike that.  He already has a nickname.  It’s Trey.  How many of you knew that Trey Mourning’s actual name was Alonzo Mourning III?  I didn’t until five seconds ago.  Love the fact that we have a JTIII and an AMIII on the squad.

And, by the way, can we talk about Trey’s sweet little backdoor pass to a streaking Reggie Cameron for a thunderous "welcome home" dunk from Reggie "The Situation" Cameron?  Trey can play.  I’m excited to see him these next few years.  And welcome back to north Jersey, Reggie.  Glad your folks got to see that little gem.

The Jay Wright Award for Dressing for Success:

JTIII.

I’ll take your three-piece suit and raise you a casual pair of beltless dress pants with pleats, says our fearless leader.  He looked way better than Jimmy McGill, and almost as good as Tyler Adams.

The DSR Award for Just Bringing it Every Damn Night:

DSR.

It’s silly how well DSR has been playing.  Suffice it to say that when he has an off night, we really struggle to put up points.  Against the Pirates, he led Georgetown with 23 points, four rebounds, two assists and an impressive five steals.  After a subpar performance at Nova in which he only scored two points, DSR rebounded in a big way by knocking down  a few threes, hitting some clutch shots and making all six of his free throws.  He has been our most consistent player, our team MVP and one of the most under-the-radar Hoya studs of the last decade.

We’re taking the dude for granted, but he doesn’t care.  He’ll just keep bringing it every night.

The Round Mound of Rebound Award:

Angel Delgado.

I’m sorry, but the guy had 15 rebounds and was a monster in the paint.  He’s going to be a tough matchup for the next few years.  Your runner-up is Mikael Hopkins, who skillfully managed to pull down seven boards in only 16 minutes.  Had Mikael avoided foul trouble, it would’ve been fun to see the Comrade lock horns with Angel Del-GOT IT.

The Inaugural Dean Edwards Smith Award for Exceptional Coaching:

JTIII.

We applaud the decision to insert Isaac Copeland into the starting lineup and have Comrade Hopkins come off the bench.  It took you perhaps a little longer to make this change than we would have liked, but whatever, better late than never.  (And making this change a few weeks earlier may have been premature anyway, as Copeland had not yet played up to his potential.)

This is not meant to be a knock on Hop at all.  From a spacing perspective, our team is just better when Josh and Mikael are not on the floor together.  Maybe we were able to get away with smaller lineups against Seton Hall because Seton Hall doesn’t boast the frontcourt size that we faced against Providence and Xavier.  Or maybe the smaller lineups led to better spacing, more transition and more fluid passing.  Either way, kudos on making the adjustment.  It was the right thing to do.

JTIII also deserves some praise for sticking with Copeland as our center when Smith and Hopkins went out with foul trouble in the second half.  The smaller lineup made sense.  Thanks for not trying to force the Bradley Hayes square peg into the Georgetown offense round hole.  And while we’re saying nice things, mazel tov on finally getting those in-bounds plays to work.  Two baskets off of inbounds plays!  We used to get at least one per game with Nate at the helm, but these beauties had been missing in recent weeks.    

The Perspectives Award:

Putting things into perspective is overrated.  I’m still bitter about both of those Providence losses.  We should’ve won both games, especially the second one.  Beating Seton Hall doesn’t really make me feel better.  The win on Tuesday night gave me a sense of relief more than anything else.

The More You Know Award:

Ok.  Let’s talk about the fouls.  We’ve all come up with lots of theories about why our Hoyas have flamed out early in the NCAA Tourney.  There are lots of reasons – poor matchups, key injuries, subpar defense, our "system", etc.  The list goes on and on.  To the extent that one of these reasons has been the leading cause of our postseason misery, I think it has to be the fouls.  Between 2008 and 2014, whenever we left the rigors and physicality of Big East play, we would consistently get whistled for more fouls than our opponents, we would receive comparatively fewer free throws and at least one of our key contributors was in foul trouble.

Some examples:

In 2008, we committed 27 fouls and attempted seven free throws. Davidson committed 20 fouls and shot 30 free throws.

In 2009, we committed 15 fouls and attempted ten free throws.  Baylor committed 12 fouls and attempted 14 free throws.

In 2010, we committed 21 fouls and attempted 19 free throws.  Ohio committed 18 fouls and attempted 26 free throws.

In 2011, we committed 26 fouls and attempted 13 free throws.  VCU committed 16 fouls and attempted 39 free throws.

In 2012, we committed 23 fouls and attempted 17 free throws.  NC State committed 14 fouls and attempted 31 free throws.

In 2013, we committed 33 fouls and attempted 20 free throws.  Florida Gulf Coast committed 18 fouls and attempted 44 free throws.

In 2014, we committed 30 fouls and attempted 31 free throws.  Florida State committed 21 fouls and attempted 38 free throws.

This is an eye-opening trend.  It’s near-impossible to win basketball games with such massive disparities in the number of fouls committed and the number of free throws attempted.  There are of course several explanations for these numbers (bad matchups; losing teams tend to foul more, etc.), but the pattern in post-season tournaments is unmistakable.  I’ll do a bit more research into this, but for now, I’m pretty curious.  Does it have something to do with the way we play defense?  Are games outside of Big East play whistled more tightly?  Is this why Pitt also tends to flame out early?  Will the increased emphasis on touch fouls help us (because we will be more used to quick whistles in the postseason)?  Or hurt us (because even more fouls will be called)?  

I’ll leave you with this.  On Tuesday night, we committed 27 fouls and attempted 18 free throws.  Seton Hall committed 18 fouls and attempted 31 free throws.  And our two best frontcourt players were saddled with fouls all night.  This is the type of game we tend to lose in postseason play.  But we didn’t.  Was this a blip, or does this victory speak to our newfound depth and versatility?  I have no idea.  I miss college.

The Cheshire Cat Award:

Josh Smith.

Listen, I know Josh gets called for a lot of ticky-tack fouls.  And I also know he gets shoved and hacked in the paint and rarely gets the benefit of a whistle.  But too often Josh just does something stupid.  He hedges out on the perimeter and gives a little love tap to a guard, or he puts his hands straight up on defense while allowing his girth to knock a player down.  And every time he gets whistled, he gives us that same cute little Cheshire Cat smirk, as if to say "gimme a damn break, ref, I’m a freaking monument."  Sometimes I sympathize with him, but most of the time I don’t.  He needs to play smarter.  He can’t keep committing fouls thirty or eighty feet from the basket.  I’m getting a little tired of the Joshington smirk.  We need him on the court.

The Inaugural Jerry Tarkanian Award for Sticking it to the NCAA Award:

Syracuse University.

Named after the legendary UNLV coach who took the NCAA all the way to the Supreme Court (and lost),  this award goes to those scalawags at Southern Ontario Community College, for turning the NCAA’s seven-year investigation into a complete farce.  For those of you who have been buried in sand for the last two weeks, you may have missed that our former Big East mega-rival announced a self-imposed tourney ban this season as a way to stave off more damning NCAA sanctions.  Allegations of drugs, ineligible student-athletes, poor oversight, incest, poorly-dressed coaches, and stealing money from vending machines, among others, will now likely be swept under the rug because of Syracuse’s genius tactical move to suspend itself from competing in a tournament for which it isn’t even good enough to be selected.  That’s Syracuse basketball.  New York’s college team (whatever that means).

Syracuse says the allegations ONLY stem from conduct between 2007 and 2012.  Oh, is that all?  As far as I’m concerned, choosing to play an academically ineligible James Southerland in the 2013 BET and NCAA Tourney is probably an offense that goes beyond 2012.  And on that note, I want those damn games back.  We lost Greg Whittington.  You cheated and went to the Final Four.  Congrats on sticking it to the NCAA, ‘Cuse.  Everyone hates you.

RIP Jerry Tarkanian.

Those dancing sharks on the stage during the Super Bowl halftime show pale in comparison to the real Shark on the sidelines at UNLV games, chomping away on that towel and beating the crap out of Duke.   

The Worldwide Leader in Crappiness Award:

ESPN.  Thanks for all of your really helpful NFL mock drafts in early February.  They are informative, timely and meaningful.  Football season is over.  Find something better to do with your time.

And Bill Simmons, thanks for your super cool retro blog diary of the Super Bowl.  It’s not even a live blog.  It’s you telling the world what you think you were thinking at certain times throughout the game.  I’m sure you were super excited at the end.  I hope your retro diary live blog masterpiece includes some footnotes to make it seem like your usual stream-of-consciousness Boston love fest is actually some long-form narrative work of genius.  The end.

The Hmmm Award:

We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but don’t you get the feeling that this team is well-built for March?  This isn’t your older brother’s Hoyas.  Forget that plodding little offense featuring no more than six players that you saw in the mid-2000s.  We have a bunch of athletes on this squad who can take the ball hard to the basket on every damn play.  Sure, we give up big leads, but we can also overcome large deficits because we can score in bunches.  We used to have one or two guys that we’d trust to drive to the basket on a fast break.  Now we have like eight of those guys.

And we’re deep.  So, so deep.  In years past, if one guy picked up two quick fouls, we were doomed.  This year, we can lose our two best frontcourt players and still dominate.  We’re inconsistent, yes.  And we’re kind of young too.  But we’ll come at these pesky little po-dunk schools in waves and waves.  And unlike those Hoya squads in the last decade who could beat anyone or lose to anyone, this year’s iteration, while sometimes frustrating as hell to watch, still hasn’t lost to a team outside of the RPI top 50.

Will we lose to St. John’s and DePaul next week?  Yes, obviously.  Excuse me while I press my face repeatedly against a Foreman grill.  

The "Aaron Bowen is a F*cking Pterodactyl" Award:

Aaron Bowen.  He’s a f*cking pterodactyl.

My man scored a pretty casual seven points and had three rebounds, two assists, two steals, one foul and ZERO turnovers in just 15 minutes of action.  That’s exactly the kind of effort and performance we need from him every damn night.  A little dose of Air Bow will light a fire and give the Hoyas that extra little spark to get things going.  Kind of an under-the-radar but all around solid outing by AB.

[SwordOfBrunner note:  speaking of pterodactyls, how terrible is Jurassic World gonna be?  And how early in advance am I going to buy my tickets to see it in IMAX despite knowing that?  It looks like Deep Blue Sea, only it can't hope to match the greatest on screen death of all time.]

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The STATS! Award for Lots of STATS!:

Here are a few fun stats, courtesy of teamrankings.com, my go-to source for all things statistical:

Steals: The Hoyas are 32nd in the country with 7.8 steals per game.

Blocks: The Hoyas are 33rd in the country with 4.9 blocks per game.

Fouls: The Hoyas are 292nd in the country (out of 351 teams) with 20.2 fouls per game.  West Virginia, DePaul and Auburn are the only major-conference schools with worse numbers.

Free Throw Defense: The Hoyas are 342nd in the country in opponents' free throw percentage.  Teams are hitting 73.7% of free throws against us.  This is the lowest ranking of any major-conference school.  My jaw is still dropping.

The Diabetes Award for Weekend Gluttony:

Check out Egg Shop NYC on Elizabeth Street.

I’m about to head there this weekend.  It’s delicious, if you like eggs and biscuits and stuff.  Now that doctors have said that consuming eggs does not lead to higher cholesterol, you’re good to go.  Eat as many eggs as you want.  Just stay away from those nasty saturated fats.  And don’t wear Nikes.  They will destroy your shins and knees.

[SwordOfBrunner note for NYHoya - grab a cocktail at The Daily after brunch.  Or scrap your ridiculous Egg Shop, remember who you are, and go to the Great Jones Cafe like a non-sellout.]

[NYHoya note for SwordofBrunner - or maybe I should just move to London and shove my face in a plate of bangers and mash and then light myself on fire.  That town could use some Gatorade and cheese balls.  For real.]

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The "Just Saying’" Award:

I’m just saying.  We lost both of our bigs to foul trouble.  We were playing on the road, against a team that has given us fits in the last few years.  Seton Hall was even more desperate for a win than we were.  They clawed back from a 20 point deficit and hit nearly fifty percent of their threes.  Hopkins and Smith combined for only seven points.  And somehow, we figured out a way to win the damn game.  And we never even trailed.  I’m just saying.

The I'mma Let You Finish Award

Mikael Hopkins

Comrade dunked the ball in the second half after initiating some nice ball movement and receiving a nifty dish from Jabril Trawick.  Admit it, you were saying "Here comes a missed lay-"...but ol' Hop didn't let you finish before throwing it down with two hands.  FINISH IT, COMRADE.

Brian Williams Award for In-Game Commentary and Hyperbole:

Here are a few casual nuggets from the last game thread.  Upset that your witty posts didn’t make the cut?  Write something funny or insightful next time, jerks.  And when all else fails, just make some sh*t up.

JT3 Rocking The No Belt Look

And who says he isnt a risk taker.

by Iwillpaytheway!! on Feb 10, 2015 | 6:08 PM

Cope gets the nod!

Hop sits!

by preEwingHoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 6:59 PM

Trawick just outdid himself

Bravo

by Hoya Annoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:02 PM

more 3s than against Villanova

less than 2 minutes into the game

by LeftyHookerintheLane on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:05 PM

no one at the damn game

hoyas must feel right at home

by CasualHoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:11 PM

I was dressed up as a shark during a Katy Perry show.

Actually, I misremembered.  I watched someone else dress up as a shark during a Katy Perry show.

by BrianWilliamsHoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:11 PM

FYI with LJ's last missed jumper, he's now 7/40 on jump-shots dating back to Jan 9

17.5%

by Hoya Annoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:13 PM

BRILLDOZER COMING THROUGH

by Vegas Hoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:13 PM

JT3 has clearly found the winning combination

Brown tie, no belt, and pleats.

by Hoya Annoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:17 PM

aaaaaand here comes the shitshow

by CasualHoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:30 PM

amazing how much fouls have hurt this team this season

so many free points

by CasualHoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:45 PM

this game just turned into a horrible pickup game at Yates

by SwordOfBrunner on Feb 10, 2015 | 7:53 PM

One of Hayes shots

looked like he was trying to bounce the ball as hard as he could off the backboard.

by beatcuse on Feb 10, 2015 | 8:14 PM

Technically

Coach K has as many losses to double digit seeds as JT3 does. But of course he’s been coaching since 1981 ( but to be fair 3 of those have come in the last 8 years)

Also more relevant Bill Self at Kansas In only 1 year longer than JT3 has the same amount of losses to double digits seeds plus 2 loses to 9 seeds and a loss to an 8 seed.

by hoyasincebirth on Feb 10, 2015 | 11:45 PM

Do the big men watch tape?

They know these are going to get called, right?

by coloradohoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 8:20 PM

Seton Hall may be our BE kindred spirit this year

Look unstoppable at times, horrid at others.

by MrAwkward'sStepson on Feb 10, 2015 | 8:28 PM

I swear to god whenever FS1 changes to a nonstandard camera angle, every time opposing team cashes an easy corner 3.

by sabrmattrics on Feb 10, 2015 | 8:41 PM

i think we can beat kentucky

by CasualHoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 8:52 PM

did not comment, hoyas win going away

i’ll be taking one for the team and sitting out the rest of the season.

by talkin bout practice on Feb 10, 2015 | 9:04 PM

Same here, only came to the thread after the game

I think my absence will be much more celebrated than yours

by TexaHoya on Feb 10, 2015 | 10:12 PM

Kate Upton Award for Doing Kate Upton Things:

Kate Upton

Let’s go Hoyas.  Beat St. John’s.