"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Know Your Opponent: Georgetown Hoyas

OK folks, its time to get smarter on one the charter members of the Big East, the Georgetown Hoyas. Coach John Thompson III has rekindled Hoya Paranoia, and the editors at HoyaSaxa.com took the time to let us know what to expect on Thursday night. Many thanks for the effort, guys.

1) Georgetown is a remarkably balanced team, with six players averaging between 9 and 12ppg. Who is the Hoyas' go-to guy?

Georgetown's strength all year has been in turning to four or five different options for scoring, but the recent play of 6-8 forward Jeff Green has been at the forefront.

Green has led the team in scoring in three of the last five games, and for the season averages 12 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. Surprisingly, he is second on the team in assists and averages only two fouls a game despite playing inside. He is remarkably adaptive to slower or up-tempo play.

2) How would you characterize Georgetown's play?

Much has been made in the press about the "Princeton style" of play that coach John Thompson III learned under Pete Carril, but Thompson's play is not a slowdown game. In a different sense, it bears a resemblance to the motion offense seen in John Beilein's West Virginia team--a pass oriented offense which opens up opportunities both on the perimeter and down low. This was particularly effective in the Jan. 21 win over then-#1 Duke.

3) Which teams give the Hoyas the most trouble (in terms of style of play)? Which teams do the Hoyas have the most success against?

West Virginia posed a problem because the motion offense was so familiar to them. It's hard to say which types of teams the Hoyas have had the most success against, but teams that do not adjust to Georgetown's offensive sets can play to its favor.

4) The Hoyas have won seven of their last eight, and look to have turned the corner this year. What 'clicked' with this team?

Getting to understand Thompson's offensive game plan takes time and this season still remains a work in progress. The style of play is a considerable departure from the style employed by Thompson's father and by Craig Esherick, which focused a game plan built on defensive intensity. In 2000, for example, Georgetown shot only 39% from the field but collected upwards of 43 rebounds a game and worked to physically wear down opponents. In 2006, Georgetown's rebounds are down to only 32 a game but the shooting is up to 48%, which is substantially more efficient on a per possession basis.

5) Jeff Green is heating up, averaging nearly 17ppg in the last seven games. Has Green emerged as the Hoya's top threat?

As threats go, 7-2 Roy Hibbert is capable of the big game, and there aren't many Big East teams with centers matching his ability close to the basket. The style of play often dictates Hibbert's effectiveness, though, and his time was limited in the West Virginia game as a result.

6) Green and Bowman are two of the Big East's best. Which player on the Hoyas roster have we not heard about but could surprise on Thursday night?

Georgetown does not go deep on its bench but graduate student Darrel Owens is an effective three point shooter off the bench.

7) What was the reaction when the Big East expanded to include the five universities from Conference USA?

It's generally been well received. Much of the indigestion about expansion has come from I-A football fans that wanted teams like Memphis or East Carolina, but those schools didn't fit the Big East's needs. DePaul and Marquette will hold their own in the league.

Of the five schools, Georgetown had a long running series with DePaul in the 1980's and 1990, but little or no history with the other schools. The last time Georgetown and Marquette met date was in the 1971 Milwaukee Classic.

It will be interesting to see how Marquette grows over the next four years. While it would be great to see Marquette football rejoin Georgetown and Villanova on the Division I-AA gridiron, MU's present philosophy seems to dictate otherwise. With both the Bradley Center and the Al McGuire Center in place, the ability of the school to take additional steps to build the overall athletic program will prove interesting.

Thanks again, guys. For the latest and greatest on Georgetown basketball, please visit HoyaSaxa.

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