Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why You Should Be Very Excited for Tomorrow

Never thought I would live to see it in the regular season. Well that is actually a drastic overstatement. Would have probably happened right after Sweaty Williams gets fired and Maryland realizes that it is in their best interest to play the best local team since the ACC is full of bums. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts but for those who do not know the history, below is a completely biased and unfair account.

The last time Georgetown played Maryland was in Sweet Sixteen of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. Georgetown was a 10 seed that barely squeaked into the tournament. They faced off against 7-seeded Arkansas and pulled out a two point victory. They then faced Hampton in the round of 32. Yes Hampton. Georgetown was the biggest benefactor of the improbable 15-seeded Hampton victory over the 2 seed, Iowa State. They crushed the Pirates and were set to face off against the 3-seeded Twerps. And Maryland won. And that’s all I have to say about that.

But that was not a planned game and Maryland was obviously the better team and program at the time. They eventually moved on to the Final Four that year, losing to the eventual national champions, Duke. By the way, anytime Duke plays Maryland, it is your civic, moral, fiscal and paternal duty (let me know if I am missing any other types of duties) to cheer for a blackout so the game gets canceled and neither team gets to be labeled a winner. And for Georgetown, that was the last NCAA appearance for the program until JT3 took over the helms and led them back to the Sweet Sixteen in 2006.

The last time Georgetown played Maryland in a scheduled game was in 1993 when they lost in overtime to the Joe Smith led Twerps. The game was played at the USAir Arena (Capital Centre) in front of a split crowd. The game was a neutral game since tickets and revenues were evenly split between the Hoyas and Twerps. So when it came time for the rematch, Sweaty Williams demanded Georgetown come to Maryland to play, as a home game for the Twerps. Maryland would have the home crowd and keep the admissions revenue. Big John refused and the teams have not played since, despite local demand for the game.

What makes the bitterness even stronger is smugness of Sweaty Williams in regards to playing Georgetown. When asked in 2004 about playing more local teams (mainly Georgetown) he responded by saying that he would love to help out neighboring programs but he cannot let his strength of schedule suffer as a result, implying Georgetown was not worthy of Maryland’s presence on the court (I have tried finding the article but cannot, so you can take my word for it or just assume I am making it up).

Maryland is especially bitter since the resurgence of the Georgetown program has led to them losing out on local recruiting targets (Austin Freeman, Henry Simms, Jason Clark and Jeff Green to name a few). Twerp fans blame the losses of recruits on the easy admission standards of Georgetown, which makes sense if you lack intelligence. Maryland puts so much effort into making sure their players are in good academic standing when they enter the program that they have none left to spend on making sure players graduate. But it’s ok Sweaty, since three or four of them made it to the NBA it justifies the other thirty that left your program without a college degree. At least Lonnie Baxter is comfortable in his quiet dwelling.

Good talk.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Game 4 - Tennessee

Well if college basketball games were 31 minutes long, Georgetown would have played a heck of a game. Unfortunately for the Hoyas, games last 40 minutes and in those 9 extra minutes they were outscored 33-13. Interestingly, the critical moment of the game was a set of plays eerily similar to the plays I described in detail in the Wichita State posting. Amazingly enough, Georgetown made the same mistakes as they did previously and this, in my humble and often correct opinion (my modestly never ceases to amaze me), was the reason the Hoyas lost the game.

But first, let me give credit where credit is due.
- Omar Wattad - thank you for making me eat my words. You played a great game and and deserve to be the first off the bench.
- Chris Wright - way to bounce back. You had a good game at the point and kept the turnovers in check.
- DaJuan Summers - welcome back. You are slowly un-Bowmanizing yourself.
- We hit our free throws, again.
- Our three point shooting was finally decent.
- Henry Sims - I admire your perseverance. There are now three things that are certain in life. Death, taxes and you missing at least one three pointer a game.

Now on to the fun stuff! Let's revisit that turning point in the game. 9 minutes left in the game Georgetown up 8. Greg Monroe stupidly fouls Josh Tabb as he hits an open layup. Tabb misses the free throw and Emmanuel Negedu collects an offensive rebound. He misses the layup and collects another offensive rebound. He again misses the layup but is fouled by Omar Wattad. Negedu hits the first and misses the second and surprise surprise J.P. Prince gets the offensive rebound and Tennessee resets the offense. Pass around the perimeter for a little bit and Bobby Maze nails a three pointer from the corner. In 30 seconds Tennessee cuts a 8 point lead into a 2 point lead. Game was lost right there. I am a big believer in momentum and from that point on, Tennessee had all the confidence and swagger. Georgetown had the wind knocked out of them and never recovered. Tennessee collected six offensive rebounds in the first 30 minutes of the game, and six in the last ten.

What is the reason behind this, why are we giving up so many second chance points? Well against Wichita State it was poor fundamentals. It does not matter how high you can jump if there is someone closer to the ball. Against Tennessee it was stamina. We just played 70 minutes of hard-nosed basketball in 26 hours and our starting five were tired. Tennessee played a total of eleven players, Georgetown played nine. Tennessee played two players for more than 30 minutes, Georgetown played four. The Tennessee starting five averaged 24 minutes of playing time, the Georgetown starting five averaged 33 minutes. Nine players on Tennessee saw ten or more minutes of playing time, only six Georgetown players saw that much time on the court. I can keep going but I think the point has been made. And unfortunately, lack of depth on the bench is something we are stuck with until next season.

Last year we the Heart Attack Hoyas, winning six games by three points or less. Hate to say it but this year we will be the Heart Break Hoyas, losing games in the closing minutes of the game. It's not going to be our season, but we will be better for it come next year.

Something to keep an eye on: If Maryland loses to Gonzaga tonight, we play them on Sunday. Huge game for DC bragging rights. No love loss between the Twerps and Hoyas. We have been stealing headlines, recruits and the love of the locals from them for the past five years. More to come about the non-rival rivalry should it happen.

Good talk.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Game 3 - Wichita State

I originally started this post with a nice little introduction about what I am thankful for and how I am such a happy person and how much I love puppies and cotton candy but after witnessing Georgetown completely embarrass itself on national television, I have nothing positive to say. So let's get into it.

Everyone talks about the Georgetown defense, and how they held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in the nation last year. This stat alone means nothing. Simple multiplication tells us that if you multiply a low number by a high number, you could very well end up with the same result as multiplying two middle numbers. Example: 2 x 10 is the same as 4 x 5. So how does this relate to basketball? Wichita State shot an incredible 29% for the game. Yet they ended up with same amount of field goals as Georgetown, who shot 42%. Why? Because they took 18 more shots than Georgetown. And those 18 extra shots translate to roughly 6 more field goals which conservatively equates to 12 extra points. In the travesty known as the Davidson incident, Georgetown shot 63% vs. Davidson's 39% yet only ended up with only 4 more field goals. And we all know the end result of that game.

But gee whiz B^2, what is a better metric of success on the hardwood (I'm assuming that is what you are thinking)? Well reader, I'll tell ya. REBOUNDS. Obviously this alone doesn't determine a good team (turnovers, FT percentage and 3 pt percentage are important too) but the reason why this game against Wichita State was so close is because of rebounds, mainly offensive rebounds. Let's review a set of plays that happened at the 15 minute mark of the second half. The Shockers brought the ball upcourt and the swarming Georgetown prevented them from getting the ball into the paint. They passed around the perimeter until the shot clock ran down to 4 seconds and Reggie Chamberlain attempted a hail mary 30 foot shot which bounced off the back of the rim. Great defense. But no Georgetown player attacked the boards and A.J. Hawkins picked up an offensive rebound in the paint. On the way to the basket Hawkins was fouled by Greg Monroe and awarded two free throws. Hawkins remarkably missed both free throws, yet picked up another offensive rebound and put in an easy layup. How does this show up in the box score? Shockers are 1-2 in FG, 0-1 in three pointers and 0-2 in FT. Georgetown picks up a foul. What does it really mean? Georgetown gave the Shockers two extra opportunities to score, played hard-nosed defense for 40 seconds and ended up in the same situation as if they didn't even run back to play defense. This is particularly critical for a team that lacks depth like Georgetown because playing defense tires out players more than running the offense.

I have said it before and will say it again. We will get absolutely destroyed in the Big East if we give teams 2 or 3 extra chances to score on each possession. Here are some more thoughts on the game.

- Jesse Sapp and Chris Wright: No look passes are awesome when they work and idiotic when they don't. I would suggest focusing on completing the pass before making it look pretty.
- Henry Sims: You haven't made a three pointer this season, so please stop taking them. We need your 6'10'' frame down low for... wait for it... rebounding.
- DaJuan Summers: Thanks for showing up in the second half.
- DaJuan Summers: Where were you in the first half, especially during that ten and half minute stretch were we didn't make a field goal.
- Chris Wright: Maybe I was a little too high on you in the previous posts, you looked lost today.
- Greg Monroe: Your defense was phenomenal in the first half, don't worry about fouling out, you got hosed on fouls 3 and 4.
- Jason Clark: 4 turnovers and 3 fouls in 11 minutes. I hope this will be the only time I am happy to see Omar Wattad come in over you.
- G'town team: Thanks for hitting your FT at the end of the game, the only reason we squeaked this one out today.
- Gregg Marshall: Kudos to you for showing every other team how to beat us - play zone. We are a poor outside shooting team as it is, when you pressed us on the inbound and ran the 2-3 zone on our half court sets we looked like an intramural team. Good job doing your homework, those "moral" victories will turn into real ones soon enough.

As you can probably tell by previous posts, I am pretty down on the team when we play well. But I am also semi-optimistic when we play poorly. We made a lot of mistakes today that can be attributed to our youth and easily fixed. Tomorrow's matchup against Tennessee will not be as bad as people think. I think we match up with them pretty well. The determining factor will be us staying out of foul trouble.

Good talk.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Big BEast Conference?

Time for some numbers (as of Wednesday morning):

Overall Conference Records

ACC: 43-5 / .896 pct
Big East: 60-5 / .923 pct
Big 10: 39-4 / .907 pct
Big 12: 42-5 / .894 pct
Pac 10: 27-12 / .692 pct
SEC: 38-10 / .792 pct

This obviously means nothing since the Big East has the most teams and everyone plays crappy teams to begin the season. So obviously the conference with the most teams will have the best overall record in November, obviously. So next category:

Conference Records Against Ranked Opponents
ACC: 0-1
Big East: 6-1
Big 10: 1-1
Big 12: 1-2
Pac 10: 0-3
SEC: 0-1

The conclusion is obvious. OH HOT DAMN

Good talk.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Game 2 - Drexel

What kind of name is Drexel? It sounds like one of those made up words you use in Scrabble that you hope no one calls you out on. I am sure everyone left the Verizon Center exclaiming "I'm the King of the World," like Jack from Titanic but let me remind everyone, Jack died at the end of that movie. That being said, lets discuss the game.

I have been getting comments about my lack of enthusiasm regarding Greg Monroe. Let me very clear where I stand. Monroe is not, and will never be Roy Hibbert. He is the next Jeff Green. And he is much better at this point in his college career than Jeff was. It's not the 20 point, 8 rebound, 4 assist, 3 steal and 3 block effort he put up against Drexel (It took Jeff till game 5 of his freshman season to break the 20 point barrier and lead his team in points). It's what he does when he does not have the ball. I'm pretty sure everyone knows the deal: moves without the ball, high basketball IQ, blah blah blah, yada yada yada. He is good, and will get better, and is probably not going to leave after one year, which is why DaShonte Riley dropped his commitment for '09. DaShonte saw the writing on the wall, knew he would be playing behind Monroe for at least one year and decided to venture for greener pastures. Michigan is going to make a hard push for DaShonte, especially after Beilein got his marquee victory against UCLA this week. I will laugh very hard if he commits to a Big Ten school. That conference will be irrelevant in college basketball for awhile.

Other than Monroe, here are my thoughts on the game:

- Good free throw shooting continued, especially from starting five
- Took care of ball, assist to turnover ratio over 1.5 for first time since semi-final of BET
- Double digits in steals for first time since last February
- Sharing the ball very well, four out of five starting players ended with double digit points for first time since last February
- Leading scores were Monroe, Wright and Freeman – all underclassman, bodes well for future
- Three point percentage was still not very impressive, although starting lineup fared much better than Game 1
- We have no one coming off of the bench. Going to be particularly important come Big East time and when Monroe starts getting in foul trouble
- Piss-poor rebounding, will be Achilles’ heel of this team
- Vaughn – injured? We desperately need him coming off the bench
- The only explicable reason for Wattad getting in the game again is that JTIII is writing his playing time off as a charitable donation for tax purposes

The Summers – Bowman comparison grows stronger. This is Summers’ junior year, supposed to be team leader and impress NBA scouts. New freshman comes in and steals the show. To compensate, Summer shoots the ball every time he get its and commits stupid, head scratching fouls. Remind anyone of ’04-’05?

Still feel the same about this season’s prospects as I did after Jacksonville. We just looked better against a team we were supposed to look good against. The only thing I have to add is that while Monroe looks spectacular, it was what most opposing coaches expected. I made the Jeff Green comparison earlier but the major difference between Monroe and Green is that Green came out of no where and took opposing coaches by surprise. That will not be the case for Monroe.

Side Note: Good job recruiting Boehiem, grade-A program you are running over there. Stay classy Syracuse.

Special shout out to the Hutchinsons of Annapolis, MD. Way to host your wedding reception at the Green Turtle, the dive bar on the corner of F and 6th. Where was the wedding, Chuck E Cheese?

Big test this weekend, lets see how the team does against its first real competition.

Have a good Thanksgiving.

Good talk.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gottlieb: This One's For You

If you haven't realized by now, I like to look at the downside of everything. I think basketball analysts are stupid, commentators are idiots, fans are annoying and people that blog about college basketball are sad and pathetic losers. But last year something funny happened. All those over-paid, over-hyped, over-zealous, comb-over sportswriters got it right. The four teams picked atop the preseason AP poll were the four number one seeds come March, and also the four teams to advance to the Final Four. It was the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament that all four number one seeds made it to the Final Four. I don't know if it was the first time that the preseason favorites advanced to the Final Four but let's just say it was unless proven otherwise (I follow the Fox News standard of journalistic integrity). Even more uncanny was the fact that the top four teams ended the season ranked in the same order as they began, with roughly the same percentage of votes. Isn’t that veeeerd (said in a Dutch accent)?

So what was the reason behind this phenomenon?

Was it blatantly obvious that the top four teams were just so much better than everyone else? Not the case, the top four ended with nine total losses between them. And of those nine losses, five were to unranked teams at the time. And there were four other teams that were voted into the top quartet during the course of the season, the same amount of new entrants as the previous year when the sportswriters only predicted one out of four top teams correctly.

Did they simply just pick the top teams from the previous year? Nope, only one team from the '06-'07 Final Four made it into the top four the following year, UCLA.

Are the sportswriters just that smart? Did they travel to the future and get a hold of a sports almanac like Biff did in Back to the Future Part Deux (dork alert)? Nope and nope.

I'll tell ya the reason behind this odd occurrence. The sportswriters got lucky. Those boneheaded ninnies that get paid to do nothing but talk sports with blatant predisposition and bias got handed the greatest gift since I got a remote control monster truck on my 20th birthday. And unfortunately for the rest of us that fortuitousness has led them to come back with even more annoying vigor, presumptuousness and overall douchebag-ness than ever before.

Here's to another season of listening to and reading their crap.

Good talk.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Game 1 - Jacksonville

Have you ever choked on Cheerios? Your initial reaction is Oh no, I am choking but then you realize that it's not that bad since you can still breathe and eventually the discomfort will go away. That is how I felt after last night's game.

I like numbers so I will begin with some numbers to get my points across -

Number of offensive rebounds for Georgetown: 7
Number of offensive rebounds for Jacksonville: 19

Number of players on Georgetown over 6'6'' that played at least 10 minutes: 3
Number of players on Jacksonville over 6'6'' that played at least 10 minutes: 1

Number of players on Georgetown under 6'0'' that played at least 10 minutes: 0
Number of players on Jacksonville under 6'0''' that played at least 10 minutes: 2

It is the same problem we had last year and it continues into this season despite a new collection of big men. We just can't rebound. Other than that frightening stat, things seemed in order. Although I was annoyed/nervous/disappointed last night, this morning I feel a little bit better.

- We actually hit our free throws at the end of the game
- We did a reasonable job handling the ball
- Stifling defense was back
- Greg Monroe had an impressive game (people say it, but I do not think he is leaving early, he's not that good)
- The missed three pointers aren't too concerning, will take time to get used to new line
- I am hoping the Omar Wattad experiment is over (five shots - all threes in twelve minutes, and missed all of them)

Prediction for the season:
(18-11, 10-8) 8 Seed come March
Key Wins: Syracuse (H), West Virginia, Marquette (H), Villanova
Key Losses: Memphis, Duke, 2nd Game of Old Spice, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Marquette (A), Syracuse (A), Louisville

Strength of schedule/conference gets us in. We drop out of top 25 by end of January back in by end of season. Rough January BE schedule will put us below .500 in the league for the first time in JTIII's tenure (excluding 1-2 start to '06-'07 season)

Starting Five
Sapp - Solid Senior season, 2nd team all Big East
Wright - Phenomenal season, put on national radar for next season, 1st team all Big East
Freeman - Decent season as a role player
Summers - Horrendous season, no accolades at end of year
Monroe - Great against crappy teams, not to be found against top Big East teams, unanimous Big East All-Rookie team selection

Jason Clark makes his case to be a starter next year
Vaughn is solid off bench but plays no more than 10 minutes a game (i.e. he can't replace Ewing, which means we won't have as many Technical fouls)

Good talk.

"Where Your Job's Your Credit" Sounds Like a Stupid Idea in Hindsight

A new season of high hopes and big disappoints lie ahead of us as we enter the 2008-09 Georgetown Men's College Basketball season. The fate of the season lies on the broad shoulders of one Greg Monroe, who dropped precipitously in the rankings since being crowned the best high school basketball player in the country just over a year ago. Interestingly, the drop in the rankings coincided with his commitment to Georgetown and subsequent dismissal of Duke's valiant, and most certainly illegal, courtship of the young lad. And they say there is no media bias... The drop in rankings also has to do with Mr. Monroe having an atrocious senior season, but let's just overlook that fact.

This introductory posting will have the normal cynical, chicken-little rants as you have come to expect from anyone forced to endure the Esherick Era, so let me start off with some good news. Billy Packer is no longer employed by CBS. Hip Hip Hooray (or is it Hip Hop Hooray? Damn Naughty by Nature messing with my mind).

Now on to the fun stuff! The last time Georgetown played a game without Jonathan Wallace as a starter, the team, under the helms of the aforementioned Esherick, lost to Boston College by 11 points in the First Round of the Big East Tournament. That also happened to be the first time since 1974 that Georgetown was not invited to a post season tournament. Tis a shame those two sentences were never mentioned to Mr. D. Pierce Nixon before he penned this masterpiece.

So what does this mean for this young, inexperienced Georgetown team? Well folks, expect a lot of scratching your head, throwing your hands up in the air and violently yelling "Why the F is Jeremiah in the game," only to be reminded that young Jerry is no longer on the team. Speaking of which, Rivers went to the now completely irrelevant Indiana Hoosiers. That is the equivalent me going to working for the Treasury Department (oh snap what now Paulson?).

The last time I wrote to you all I ended with a warning to the 2007-08 Hoyas that if they did not rebound, take care of the ball and hit free throws, they could be looking at a very early exit from the NCAA Tournament. Tis a shame they did not listen. Not to be a downer but I am a firm believer that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. So let's recap the highlights of that game. Senior captain Roy "How the Hell is he in the NBA" Hibbert scored 6 points, had 1 rebound, 1 assist, and attempted 1 free throw (which he missed). Doesn't sound like the line of a leader but hold your horses sports fans, he did lead the team in fouls and turnovers. Patrick "Soon to be on Dancing with the Stars" Ewing Jr. had an equally impressive game scoring 2 points, grabbing 2 rebounds and missing 2 free throws. Remarkably, the team was not out rebounded by the smaller and weaker Davidson squad (about even on the boards), but they did turn the ball over five times as much. And Davidson did get to the line nearly twice as much and made three times as many free throws. You know you are in trouble when Vernon "Return of the Mack" Macklin had the second highest free throw percentage on the team (by the way, Vernon shot an astonishing 25% from the line that year - have fun with that Billy Donovan). Just to clarify, they are called free throws because they are free points. If you were supposed to be any harder than that, they would be called "Take Your Best Shot" throws, or "You're a Winner as Long as you Play Hard" throws.

Enough of that, let's talk this season.

(1) We have the toughest OOC schedule we have ever had under JT3.
Home against Memphis, away at Cameron and neutral site games against Wichita State and two of the following: Tennessee, Siena, Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma State or Gonzaga. We also play Savannah State, coached by Georgetown alum and member of the 1984 championship team, Horace Broadnax. I threw that in there as a feel good story. We have a chance to play Maryland, something Hoya and Turd, I mean Terp fans have been whining about for 15 years. Special shout out to Gary Williams, the only coach to EVER increase his team's graduation rate by an indeterminable percentage. That's right; it is so high that it is mathematically impossible to calculate it! No men's basketball player on scholarship enrolled at Maryland between 1997 and 2000 graduated in six years. Between the years of 1998 and 2001, a whopping 10% graduated! Way to go Gary, maybe you can stop sweating so much now.

(2) We have the youngest team we have ever had under JT3.
1 senior on scholarship - Jesse "[I have a nickname but I think it is too mean]" Sapp (Bryon "Everyone Thinks My Name is Byron" Jansen does not count).
1 junior - Dajuan "No Ones Knows What You Did Last Summer" Summers.
1 sophomore who played in more than half the games last year - Austin "Arms of Oli, Height of Pardo" Freeman.
7 other sophomore and freshman players.

(3) We have the toughest stretch of games to start a Big East season we have ever had under JT3.
We start out the season against with UConn, Pitt, ND, Prov, Cuse and WV. All six of those teams can make the NCAA Tournament this year (yup, Providence has a shot). But don't worry; we have an OOC game scheduled in between Cuse and WV. It is just a small game against Duke, at Cameron.

There is a lot that can be said about these three things but general consensus is that when you have a hard OOC schedule, you should have a relatively light conference schedule (see Memphis). When you have a young team, you should have a challenging but not discouraging overall schedule. Looks like all things are working against us this season.

What to expect on the court: We are quick. Don't expect us to pass around the perimeter for 30 seconds and throw up a Hail Mary three pointer. That being said, also expect a LOT more turnovers, especially from the back court. I said the season depends on Monroe but in reality it depends on Chris Wright. He is the wild card in this equation; teams will put pressure on Sapp knowing he cannot create his own shot and double down on Summers. If JT3 spreads the offense and encourages penetration and kick outs we have a fighting chance. We know how to spread the court, but we don't know how to beat people off the dribble. A huge thing working against us is the fact that the three point line has been moved back this season. Creates more spacing inside for big bruiser teams (UConn and Pitt), a greater competitive advantage for sharp shooting teams (ND) but it just moves our "pass around the perimeter" offense even further away from the basket than in previous years.

The conference is just too big, too quick, too talented and too good to say we have a chance to finish better than what Big East coaches predicted us to finish, 7th. Just take a look at the preseason Coaches' Poll. Two Big East teams in top 5, four in top 10, seven in top 25 and a total of nine receiving votes. That is the most any conference has ever gotten.

On another note, now that I am here in DC, and shall be attending games, look for me to fight Doug Gottlieb.

It's alright if you disagree with anything I have said above. I will just laugh at you for being stupid.

Welcome back to the best time of year folks.

Good talk.