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Not Game Grades: Let’s Talk about Providence

This weekend, Georgetown heads to Rhode Island.

Butler v Georgetown Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Yeah, so that happened. And to be honest, I’m not analyzing it. After a few weeks of progress, albeit with no results, your Georgetown Hoyas put up a dud against Butler and loses by a lot to a little at home. We could go through the motions of trying to grade each player’s performance and what the numbers say, but let’s be honest, you don’t want to read that. I definitely don’t want to write that.

My grade for everything is F - SOFT.

Everyone was soft in that game. Everyone. The players, both offensively and defensively, the coaches, the refs, the fans, Hoya Twitter. All, soft as Charmin. Look, everyone throws up a dud every so often. And yes, what is so frustrating about this team is that the duds far outnumber the good performances for the past three years and counting. I didn’t think with Cooley at the helm, we would go dud-less. I also didn’t necessarily think we’d have as many soft-as-soft-can-be performances this year. That’s been disappointing…for everyone.

But it’s time to forget all that. All of the bickering about this coach vs. that coach, this player vs. that player, foot in bounds until he was pushed vs. foot so clearly out of bounds, and are you serious, Jamie Dixon, you slimy sleaze, you’re seriously going to say THAT… Sorry.

It’s time for all of that to be thrown out the window or, at the very least, put on hold. We as a program, university, city and global fanbase need to take all of the frustration and negativity and tsuris (look it up) and channel for what I think we can all agree is THE ONLY GAME THAT MATTERS THIS YEAR.

Is that hyperbolic? Yes. But, if ever a program needed something, it is this Georgetown program needing a win at Providence. In lieu of grades for this monstrosity of a game, I have a simple call for unity in delivering Providence the blow it most certainly deserves.

Providence and Georgetown certainly share a connection through Big John. But the Providence/Georgetown relationships did not only recently sour, thanks to Coach Cooley. Even dating back to 1983, the Friar Faithful have shown us who they are. As reported by the Washington Post, “At Providence… a fan under one basket raised a sign that read, “Ewing Can’t Read,” and Coach John Thompson pulled his Georgetown basketball team off the court until the sign was taken down.”

You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t considered Providence a hated rival. In JT3’s first 10 years at the helm, Georgetown went 8-1 against Providence while averaging a Kenpom rating of 23.7 to Providence’s 79.3. The two never met in the Big East Tournament. To put it simply, the programs were not in the same league.

Since then, Georgetown has gone 3-14 against Providence (the schedule changed with the restructuring of the Big East from playing Providence once a year at most to twice a year). In his final three seasons at Georgetown, JT3 went 0-6 against Providence. For some (certainly me), the inability to beat Providence signaled the necessary end of the JT3 era as much as anything because it was, you know…Providence.

Despite Providence’s undeniable dominance over Georgetown recently, the two programs are historically in entirely different weight classes.

Of course, Georgetown has a National Championship.

Georgetown also has 11 Big East regular season and conference tournament titles. That’s more BE titles than Providence has winning seasons (six in 32 years without Ed Cooley, 12 total)!

When the tea leaves indicated Cooley was moving to Georgetown last spring, Friar fans were understandably devastated. Here was Providence’s own, savior of the Friar program, Ed Cooley, giving up a statue-deserving legacy to move to a conference foe, if not rival. Almost all of us on the Georgetown side could feel for that fanbase. They deserved to be upset.

What they did, however, was lose their damn minds…

They argued vociferously that Providence was a better job than Georgetown despite the objective reality clear to everyone but them, it’s not.

They attacked Ed Cooley in basically every way imaginable, impugning more than just his basketball success (Providence’s basketball success) but his personal character.

They have attacked Georgetown fans on social media in some of the most unnecessary, racist, homophobic and heinous ways.

They aligned themselves with Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports before recently excommunicating him because he also chose a better engagement than being in Providence for a Friars game.

On top of all this, they have consistently sniped at Georgetown’s basketball team in ways that range from probably fair but mean to ridiculous and over-the-top while willfully ignoring that their team has taken a nosedive in offensive efficiency under their new coach. A coach who, oh, by the way, has, like his predecessor, expressed his admiration and desire for the Georgetown head coaching job.

There is plenty of documentation of each of these online and more if you care to look. I don’t particularly want to give these ghouls more attention, so won’t link to them. And it is worth mentioning that it may just be a loud minority of online Friar Fans who are responsible for the line-crossing behavior while others share these totally reasonable sentiments: The Providence Crier: A Thank You to Ed Cooley. Had this been the voice that Friardom spoke with, things would be different. But the vitriol that has been spewing from the Friar Faithful has turned this into the only game that matters this year.

This is not only the turning point in the Hoyas’ season, it is the turning point for the Hoyas Program. History has demonstrated that only one of Georgetown and Providence can be good simultaneously. Saturday marks the end of Providence’s era and a return to Georgetown’s dominance.

And yes, Georgetown has a realistic path to winning this game if they prepare for a fight. This is not going to be a fun environment to play in. It’s going to be emotional for Cooley and difficult for the players.

Despite the clear disparity between the 180th-ranked Hoyas and the 47th-ranked Friars, Georgetown has a better offense this year (93rd to 132nd). Providence’s defense has been their calling card all year. They are top 20 in Effective FG% and two-point percentage against. If Georgetown can bring some defensive intensity, make some threes and limit Providence inside, they can win.

They WILL win.

Drop your reasons to hate Providence and support Georgetown in the comments below.