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ROAD TO THE TOURNEY: 7 Games Left, Can the Hoyas Take 4?

With 4 upcoming games against ranked opponents, going 4-3 means having to beat at least one top-25 team...

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Villanova Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgetown Hoyas (14-10, 4-7) have 7 regular season games left and believe-it-or-not they are still very close to the NCAA Tournament Bubble. According to many esteemed bracketologists last week, the Hoyas (or any other contender) need to get to 11 wins in Quadrants 1 and 2 in order to boost their resume over the bubble.

With the home win against DePaul (Q2) on Saturday, Georgetown is 2-9 in Q1, 5-1 in Q2, and 7-0 in Q3/Q4. A total of 7 Q1/Q2 wins means that 4 more quality wins would very likely merit an at-large berth—and with four of those games are against top-25 ranked opponents, it will take a Q1A win.

As a reminder, Georgetown only has Q1 and Q2 games left (Q1: Home vs. #1-30 / Neutral vs. #1-50 / Road vs. #1-75; Q2: Home vs. #31-75 / Neutral vs. #51-100 / Road vs. #76-135) because even the BIG EAST’s cellar dwellers did some serious damage in the non-conference portions. Even a loss to DePaul won’t hurt them as long as the get the 4 wins elsewhere (i.e., two ranked wins).

Looking at the rest of Georgetown’s schedule, after the Hoyas’ much needed rest this week, they have:

  • 2/15 SAT at Butler NET #14 Q1
  • 2/19 WED Providence (Home) NET #56 Q2
  • 2/22 SAT at DePaul NET #64 Q1
  • 2/26 WED at Marquette NET #17 Q1
  • 3/1 SUN Xavier (Home) NET #44 Q2
  • 3/4 WED at Creighton NET #24 Q1
  • 3/7 SAT Villanova (Home) NET #18 Q1
  • 3/11-14 BIG EAST Tournament (Q1 and/or Q2 on neutral court)

As things sit right now, Georgetown will have to steal at least one win from a currently ranked team in #19 Butler (away), #18 Marquette (road), #23 Creighton (away), and/or #15 Villanova (home).

Multiple wins against ranked opponents would certainly help boost GU’s overall resume, but perhaps only one more top-25 win along with wins against DePaul (away), Providence (home), and Xavier (home) will still reach enough Q1 and Q2 wins to earn an NCAA invitation.

Here are the BIG EAST standings:

While one would hope the Hoyas aren’t focusing too much on the conference rankings, this week does offer some time for players (and fans) to catch up on some of their rivals. This Wednesday has four BIG EAST match-ups for your channel surfing pleasure, including back-to-back clashes of top-25 programs on FS1:

  • Xavier (5-6) at Butler (6-5) 6:30pm CBSSN
  • Providence (6-5) at St. John’s (2-9) 8:30pm CBSSN
  • Creighton (7-4) at Seton Hall (10-1) 6:30pm FS1
  • Marquette (7-4) at Villanova (7-4) 8:30pm FS1

While this might be a tough season to be a Georgetown fan (when isn’t?), rejoining the BIG EAST fandom this week might keep your mind off of what the Hoyas could have been (don’t go there). Watching some of these Wednesday games may remind you that Georgetown can compete with these teams on any given night, albeit with a little bit of luck on the field goal percentage competition.

Usurping Xavier, Providence, Butler, and others in the conference standings is potentially still within reach for the Hoyas if their hopes are to get out of the bottom four and avoid playing the first day of the BIG EAST tournament. The goal is likely to just win the games in front of you, but picking a horse in the race can make the conference games more interesting.

Most Hoyas fans will likely root for Butler to beat Xavier at home so the Bulldogs don’t get any extra motivation on Saturday. Burying Xavier at this point helps, too. Letting Seton Hall run away with the conference seems like the best way to ensure the middle of the pack has more room for movement. Likewise, who ever you support in Marquette-Villanova should be able to hand out some losses while cruising to second place. At this point, it probably doesn’t hurt to pull for DePaul and St. John’s to upset at every opportunity (and improve their NETs).

The Hoyas have an opportunity to get healthy and take each of seven quality games one at a time. Just as importantly, looking ahead with caution to ensure they win the most winnable battles is vital.

Fans would love a win at Butler, where Georgetown has had some decent luck, but if the Hoyas can take two of the next three against Butler, Providence and DePaul, they may get some attention from bracketologists. Also at that point, I say the “Allen Iverson Should Come to the Villanova Game” campaign would need to re-double their efforts!