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STANDING PAT: Georgetown Left Behind While BIG EAST Makes Moves

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The rest of the conference looks to improve, with Xavier and Seton Hall shedding their coaches

Seton Hall v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

With Providence and Villanova in the Sweet 16, the BIG EAST schools are still making headlines. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, other conference foes are actively looking to improve their positions for next year. Namely, Xavier has hired a new coach and Seton Hall has been linked with a popular former alumnus. Georgetown is standing pat.

Over the weekend, news broke of Xavier re-hiring Sean Miller after firing Travis Steele. At first, the bizarre firing, after an NIT win, signified that the failure to make the NCAA Tournament, and losing 10 of the last 14 BIG EAST games, was not up to Xavier’s high standards. In retrospect, perhaps the firing of Steele was to clear room for Miller before another program tapped him. Such a bold, proactive move for a program looking to get back to success may be what it takes to succeed in this conference and beyond.

With the announcement of Seton Hall losing Kevin Willard to the Maryland job, the rumors of alumnus and former assistant Shaheen Holloway returning to the Pirates seems to be written in stone. Holloway. Willard even advocated for Holloway to take over SHU during his post-loss press conference. AD Brian Felt seems to have an easy decision.

The timetable of a Seton Hall announcement, of course, may depend upon the Peacocks ongoing success in the Tournament. Teams in the BIG EAST will likely have to face another formidable defense if Holloway does indeed move from St. Peter’s to the Hall.

Other programs outside the BIG EAST are filling coaching vacancies, and some of the names had been mentioned as potential candidates should the head coaching job at Georgetown open. Louisville hired Kenny Payne, formerly with the Knicks and was John Calipari’s former assistant. Georgia hired Mike White away Florida as its next coach and Florida hired San Francisco’s Todd Golden to be its men’s basketball coach on a six-year deal worth $18 million. Mississippi State hired New Mexico State coach Chris Jans on Sunday.

Jerome Tang is heading to Kansas State after 19 years as an assistant coach to Scott Drew at Baylor. Of course Kevin Willard is accepting the job at Maryland for $22 million over five years and Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates is linked to Missouri.

The question is, of course: how will Georgetown improve its program for next year and beyond? The rest of the conference has made moves fairly recently, yet Georgetown is standing pat.

At this point, it does not seem like Patrick Ewing will be vacating the head coaching position. No one on the roster has yet entered the transfer portal or declared eligible for the NBA Draft. The recruits have not signaled anything but a strong intent to come to the Hilltop in June. There are allegedly two open assistant coaching jobs, but without any buzz about filling the positions, one or the worst case scenarios seems to be confirmed. Filling the assistant slots is not going to be quick or easy.

Perhaps the assistant shuffle will resume with some official announcements of new head coaching hires across the nation, as well as the conclusions of the seasons for some more successful teams earning NCAA bids.

But the Hoyas cannot afford to be reactionary in this situation. Georgetown cannot wait until X, Y, and/or Z enter the transfer portal to change direction or ... pull the plug.

Georgetown has been recruiting 2022 athletes and contacting players in the transfer portal, but all signs point to a full 2022-23 roster already. It seems obvious that any infusion of talent and experience from the portal will require shedding a few guys who the fans have grown to love and root for. The Hoya faithful is not even sure of which student athletes they might need to root for to return, should a portal defection begin. Daily checking to see which current GU players’ might have removed “Georgetown Basketball” from their social media bios seems almost rational and stable.

Obviously everyone wants Aminu Mohammed to stay, but there’s bound to be some testing of the waters, if not more. No one wants anyone in the highly ranked freshmen class to walk away, but the reality is that someone might. Georgetown can’t afford to lose “veterans” like Dante Harris and Collin Holloway. It'll be a tough pill to swallow if someone leaves, but Georgetown fans are looking at a situation where the Hoyas are likely running it back with nearly the same coaches and the same roster of an 0-19 team who lost the last 21 straight. That’s inconceivable.

The conference is making moves. Providence, with their team of 25-year olds, is headed to the Sweet Sixteen. Villanova and their 2018 clones are marching on their course. Marquette is licking their wounds after overachieving in Shaka Smart’s first year. Creighton has a younger team that scared Kansas in the second round. UConn dropped the ball against the Aggies but exhibited a decent model of athleticism and strategy for them. Seton Hall may actually be upgrading their coach. Xavier definitely is. St. John’s convinced Mike Anderson to stay, albeit with an illegible statement issued. DePaul even has some momentum after a 15-16 year and winning 6 conference games. Butler may have lost their way for now, with their own coaching issues.

But all is quiet on the Georgetown front.