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Six Games To Go: Enough Gas in the Tank?

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NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Butler Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Hoyas monumental and impressive win against Butler on Saturday, fans (like me) are likely scouring the Internet for a solid picture of the team’s NCAA Tournament chances.

The Butler game felt big, and the Hoyas received plenty of positive press for their heroic efforts. However, it appears that most experts still have Georgetown on the outside looking in.

At 15-10 and 5-7 in the Big East, Georgetown would still be outside the field if the selection were made today. The win against the Bulldogs, however, gives the Hoyas a chance to approach upcoming games at Marquette and at Creighton as well as senior night against Villanova with a renewed sense of possibility. — John Gasaway at ESPN.com.

Jerry Palm at CBS.com and Dave Ommen at NBC Sports both have Georgetown as the second team out of The Dance. Neither provided a projection regarding what the Hoyas need (or don’t need) to do the rest of the way out. The Athletic’s Brian Bennett had Georgetown as the sixth team out of the field on February 14th, but that was before the Butler win. We’ll have to wait to see how they update their brackets in the coming days.

Some Hoya fans may have been hoping for a bigger bump. After all, a team that has been decimated by injuries and transfers now has three Quad 1 wins and a solid NET rating of 43 – yet is still being asked to boost its resume in the final three weeks.

For players like Jagan Mosely, Terrell Allen, and Jahvon Blair who have now each logged 40-minute games this season – it has to be a bit frustrating. But if one thing seems to be certain at this juncture, it’s that Coach Ewing seems to be capable of extracting heroic efforts out of his players on a nightly basis.

For that, Coach Ewing is beginning to reap rewards. Rob Dauster at NBC Sports wrote that PATRICK EWING IS THE BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR AND IT’S NOT CLOSE. Tristan Freeman, a site expert at Busting Brackets (FanSided) also threw in a similar two cents.

“And with no truly bad losses on the resume, this team has a real shot at dancing despite the obstacles they’ve faced. With six games left, the Hoyas simply need to go 3-3, as long as one of those wins comes against DePaul on the road. Win that and snag a couple others and you’d be having a case that Ewing should be Big East Coach of the Year.”

Eamon Brennan at The Athletic seems impressed by the Hoyas’ resume but is also unwilling to go into specific projections. [Also, is anyone else highly impressed that the Hoyas’ have a top-five strength of schedule? I am.]

It’s totally ludicrous, but it [the Butler win] totally happened, and Georgetown is totally 5-9 against Q1 with just one non-Q1 loss (at home to UNCG, in Q2) and a top-five strength of schedule. All of a sudden, despite weeks of seeming decline and injury devastation, this looks more and more like a tournament team. Go figure.

For fans (and Coach Ewing), this is a nice piece of recognition. However, it won’t feel quite as good if these players don’t receive the same due by the end of this season. Turning in gritty performance after gritty performance – even in losses – will endear you to your home/local fanbase. But at some point, there has to be more national recognition of what this team has done and how they’ve responded to adversity. A tournament berth would place a truly rewarding stamp on what otherwise could have been a depressing season all around.

Hoya fans likely walked a bit taller around the house on Sunday knowing their alma mater had pocketed another gritty Quad 1 win, but they also know how quickly things can turn. An off night here or there could dash Tournament hopes as quickly as they have been drawn up.

So, in an effort to remain in the moment, perhaps we should all stop and smell the roses; even if it is just for – you guessed it — one moment.