The graduating class of 2017 may be seeing one of the worst four-year spans of Georgetown basketball in a long time. I like to think that viewing the cumulative records of the teams each graduating class saw gives us a snapshot of an era of Georgetown basketball. For some perspective, the two "least fortunate" graduating classes in terms of basketball success in the last 40 years were the classes of 2000 and 2005. Here are the records they saw the Hoyas post over a four year span.
Class of 2000: 70-56 (.556) (1996-97 – 1999-2000)
Class of 2005: 70-55 (.560) (2001-02 – 2004-05)
As you’d expect, the two worst four-year spans of Hoya basketball coincide with the tenure of former coach Craig Esherick at least in part. The class of 2000 saw one NCAA Tournament appearance in their freshman year followed by three consecutive NIT appearances. The class of ’05 saw only two NIT appearances, without any appearances in the “big dance.” Both classes saw the Hoyas go through coaching changes. The class of ‘00 saw the 1999 resignation of John Thompson Jr., and the class of ‘05 saw Georgetown dismiss Esherick in favor of current coach John Thompson III.
The current cumulative record of the teams the class of 2017 has seen is 64-52 (.551), and current seniors like me have seen one NCAA Tournament appearance and one NIT appearance. The Hoyas would need to go 9-5 over their last 14 games to avoid the worst four-year span of Georgetown basketball since the 1970s.
The last students to see Georgetown do this badly over their four years got to the Hilltop before either Thompson did, as the class of 1975 saw coach John Magee lead the Hoyas to a 3-23 season back in the 1971-72 season. Still, there is no sign of any coaching change coming in the foreseeable future. I will leave the debate as to whether a change is necessary to the comments section.
Now, to be fair, out of conference scheduling may have been a lot easier back then, and to his credit, JTIII has scheduled some of the toughest out-of-conference schedules Georgetown has ever played. According to KenPom, Georgetown currently ranks 16th in strength of schedule, and has ranked 33rd, 5th, and 27th in 2014-16 respectively. The class of 2005-era teams ranked 71st, 58th, 106th, and 42nd in the same metric, and KenPom does not have data for the class of 2000 era.
That allows for some high-profile wins (Michigan State and Indiana at MSG, Florida in Atlantis, Oregon in Maui) and for some of the losses to be written off due to high-quality competition (two losses each to Kansas, Maryland, and Wisconsin over the last four years is not all that bad.) Nevertheless, even the supposedly easy win “buy games” have become challenges for the Hoyas. The last three-and-a-half years have included losses to Radford, UNC-Asheville, and Arkansas State at home as well as a loss to Northeastern on a neutral court.
Add in the data from within Big East play and the picture looks similarly grim. Commenter Yayaowinje put together this data in a comment on the recap of Saturday’s loss to Butler, and I have reproduced some key details from it here.
Hoyas record vs. Big East teams since the start of the 2013-14 season: 30-35 (.461)
Vs. Big East teams other than DePaul and St. John’s: 18-32 (.360)
In "close games" in the Big East (margin within 5 points, plus all OT games): 7-14 (.333)
Aggregate record Vs. Villanova, Xavier and Providence: 4-18 (.182)
Cumulative Big East record since the beginning of last season: 9-16 (.360) [record is 3-16 (.158) if you exclude games vs. DePaul and St. John’s]
Record in Previous 10 Regular Season NBE games before Monday’s win vs. St. John’s: 0-10 (.000)
Record in last 16 games in conference play: 3-14 (.176) [Of those three wins, two have come against St. John’s, and one has come against DePaul. Georgetown has no wins against any of the other eight teams in the Big East in that span]
There are very few ways to spin it other than to say that Georgetown’s graduating class of 2017 has seen one of the least successful four-year eras of Hoyas’ men’s basketball in the last four decades. Thanks to a combination of underwhelming play and overwhelming schedules, Georgetown is well on pace to post its worst four-year record in nearly a half-century.