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Great Expectations? Hoyas On a Roll Heading Into March

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Right about now everything is going pretty darn good in Hoya land.  Well, other than the whole week off thing where all we can do is watch other teams such as Providence getting crushed at Villanova.  By the way, shout-out to Jay Wright and Co. on that Friars mauling at the Pavilion.  It really helps to set up a rubber match at MSG in the finals on Saturday night but we've got a few weeks until that crucial third game becomes a reality.  We can talk about JT3 being 2-0 against Jay Wright in the BET some other time.

OK so back to the issue at hand, Georgetown has won three straight and eight of their last 11 games to hold down sole possession of second place in the BIG EAST at 18-8, 10-5.  This has the Hoyas as the unofficial No. 26 team in the country in both polls.  Even better, though, are those computer numbers as Georgetown checks in with the No. 4 SOS (strength of schedule) and the No. 23 RPI.  Even a constant worrier like myself can't find a reason to place these Hoyas on the bubble.  They are lock city.

That being said, lets dive in a bit deeper into some of these numbers and how they got there.

SOS - Having the fourth best strength of schedule is an incredible place to be in late February.  It was actually hanging strong at No. 3 until NC State went with the leapfrog tonight after playing at Chapel Hill.  So how did the Hoyas do it?  Well for one, the conference is having a good showing in the second year of the reconfigured version of the BIG EAST.  You get to play everybody twice and the worst team - DePaul - currently sits at No. 159 in the RPI.  Compare that to the worst team in the ACC - Virginia Tech (222).  Shoot the Hoyas only played two teams worse than that in the OOC schedule - Towson (267) and TAMUCC (227).   The Hoyas were actually just 2-0 against teams with a 200 plus RPI.  They don't have any RPI killers like most teams.  Compare that mark to our old friends at Syracuse - who of course laughably banned themselves from the postseason.  Jim Boeheim's bunch of rulebreakers are 8-0 vs teams with a 200 plus RPI.  That's how you get yourself a SOS that does you no favors at No. 60.

Believe it or not, but that rout over Radford way back on Dec. 13 was actually a pretty decent win.  The Highlanders currently have a better RPI (131) than both Marquette (141) and, surprise, surprise, DePaul.

If Florida had been any good this season you'd have to think that the Hoyas would be challenging for the Top SOS in the country.  Florida is having a very un-Florida type season at 13-15, RPI 90.  We at CasualHoya won't cry for Billy Donovan since we still remember both 1987 (Providence) and JT3's first Sweet 16 in 2006 in Minneapolis and that Darrel Owens 3-pointer that just wouldn't go down.

RPI - Well a lot of the same stuff from the SOS goes into this category.  For starters, Georgetown hasn't played any true dogs.  The strength of the conference also helps.  Thank god the Hoyas didn't pair with some of the dregs that were in play with the conference split.  A quick check into the American shows some really bad teams, namely Tulane (RPI 186), Central Florida (210), East Carolina (234), South Florida (252), and Houston (268).  Have fun with that league UConn.

Georgetown has also played 12 games against teams in the Top 50.  That's good.  What could be better is their 4-8 record.  With three regular season games remaining the Hoyas can improve on that mark since both St. John's and Butler reside in the Top 50.

So what is going to constitute a good season for everybody?  Well for me it's already been far more enjoyable that what we all went through last season.  But since this is college basketball everything seems to be judged by what you do in March.  Since going to the Final Four in 2007, JT3 hasn't won consecutive games in either the NCAA or the NIT but he has done it twice in the BIG EAST Tournament both in 2008 and 2010 - each time losing in the final.

Since I'll just assume that every non senior player that gets significant minutes will be coming back in the fall, I honestly think winning at least two games at MSG during the annual conference get together plus getting out of the first round of the NCAA's would have to be viewed as a good season.  Yes I know that this team has a much higher ceiling but when you go back to that 4-8 record vs the Top 50, you can't exactly expect to find yourself in the Sweet 16.  With the Hoyas poised to be anywhere between a 4-8 seed, you are going to have to beat good teams to make the second weekend.

I'd also say that, winning nothing at MSG and then getting to at least the Sweet 16 would be viewed as a successful season.  With the emergence of Copeland to go alongside DSR as a dependable player night in and night out plus JT3's decision to basically only play Smith and Hopkins at different times, the trajectory of this team is on the up.

This is the best part of the season.  Everybody enjoy all the time we have with this group, even this second week long break.  We can all be talked into dreaming of the Elite 8.

So what's your definition of a successful season?