Q&A with CasualHoya

CasualHoya.com (if it is even up as SB Nation is having problems right now) and I exchanged questions this week about the upcoming matchup against Georgetown and Kansas. You can view the questions I answered on their website. CH answered my questions below:

Tell Kansas fans what they should expect from the Hoyas on Saturday.

My hope is that Georgetown doesn’t crap the bed and you get 40 minutes of competitive hoops that produces a game that could go either way in the final minutes.  Actually, I don’t want that at all as I’ll likely light myself on fire.  The Hoyas are going to try to dictate the tempo on offense and I would expect the Jayhawks will see a lot of zone on defense.  For Georgetown, if Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera can stay on the court and make baskets, this game is going to be tight.  For Kansas, I think this game ultimately comes down to whether you can make shots from the perimeter.  If Kansas is able to make shots from the outside it will force Georgetown to extend its zone and leave more room for Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis to roam in the paint and get good looks, which will likely in turn get Josh Smith into foul trouble and we’ll be doomed.  If the Jayhawks are off from the perimeter, however, it will allow Georgetown to collapse its zone.  Though (other than Josh Smith) Georgetown’s bigs aren’t great, they are big, each come with 5 fouls and they should be able to frustrate Embiid, Ellis and Tarik Black down low.

I’m curious why you think the Big East is now a bad conference. You certainly got the better end of the deal by not being in the American Athletic Conference. 

Dude, have you seen DePaul or Seton Hall play?  I don’t want to say it’s a bad conference, it just isn’t the same.  I agree that the new Big East is a much better place to be than the horrific AAC, but as a hoops guy it’s going to take awhile to get over not playing Syracuse, UConn, Pitt, Louisville and Cincinnati each year.  West Virginia I don’t really care about as frankly I was always more concerned that the players would actually leave that place alive with that oafish bearded mascot with a rifle running around their damn arena.

Which team do you miss most from the old Big East?

Other than the teams noted above, I miss St. John’s.  #boom

The Hoyas have started the season 7-2, have a good win against VCU and decent performance in a loss to Oregon… but have been in some tight games with team that you clearly should have blown out. I mean… you only beat a toothpaste company by six points. I didn’t even know Elon was a college team. 

Much has been said by the readers on CasualHoya.com regarding Georgetown’s start this season and how despite our 7-2 record the whole thing has been somewhat disheartening, and I think that has a lot to do with an ‘eye test’ evaluation of the closer-than-they-should-have-been games against the Noble Toothpaste Warriors and the Elon Dragon Phoenix’s or whatever they are calling themselves these days.  The thing is, if you asked me this very same question at this point last season, you might have gotten a similar answer and look what happened once the team gelled and started winning.  Do I think this team has 2-seed potential? Hells no.  But is this team going to be a Top 25 team when it’s all said and done? Probably.   I think.  I hope.

Tell me about your Big Three (Starks, Smith and one of the longest names I’ve ever seen D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera). 

Solid Big Three, actually.  Starks and Smith-Rivera (feel free to call him DSR like we do) are one of the better backcourts in the country and when they are both firing on all their available cylinders this Georgetown team can play with anyone.  Smith you are likely already familiar with from his UCLA days.  He has anchored the paint for the Hoyas and has been a big part of the offense from the get go.  He’s not as polished offensively right now as say a Michael Sweetney was, but if he gets the ball down low he’s going to get off a good look.  My guess is that he’ll get fed (pun intended) early and often to see if we can get Embiid in early foul trouble.

Has John Thompson III lost his luster? Going to a Final Four in his first year is obviously a great accomplishment and last year was still great despite the first round loss. 

Sort of.  It’s hard to argue with his successes building a program and reloading year after year.  We have been ranked in the top 10 at some point during the season every year since 2007.  That is very, very impressive.  We’ve produced some legitimate NBA stars during Thompson’s era, won three Big East Titles, et,c etc.  HAVING SAID THAT, the first weekend exits are inexcusable.  There have been so many times I’ve said “well it was Steph Curry” or “well it was VCU”.  But the thing is we’ve also exited to some nonsense teams.

The one that I continue to harp on nearly four years later is the loss to Ohio.  That Ohio team was terrible and I legitimately believe that when that Georgetown team was on, it was the best team in the country.  You know how I know that?  We wiped the floor with Duke and Butler, who happened to be the last two teams standing.  With the Big East shaking out how it has, it’s hard for me to envision us ever winning a national championship in my lifetime.  Feels like that should have been our chance. Yet, we lost in the first round to a guy named Armon or something.  I feel crazy.

Sorry for that extended tangent.  The first weekend losses are totally inexcusable.  We haven’t made a Sweet 16 since 2007.  What were our seeds in the subsequent tournaments?

  • 2008: 2 seed (lost to a 10)
  • 2009: Didn’t make tournament
  • 2010: 3 seed (lost to a 14)
  • 2011: 6 seed (lost to an 11)
  • 2012: 3 seed (lost to an 11)
  • 2013: 2 seed (lost to a 15)

I mean, that is a staggering level of incompetency.  “But those teams were underseeded”.  Yeah, whatever.

How frustrating was it to lose to Dunk City last year? Did it help that FGCU went on to be such a beloved tournament team or did it make it worse?

It was bad.  Like I didn’t recover for 3 weeks and still haven’t really recovered bad.  Like it’s tough to watch any games this year and am reconsidering ever getting completely back into Georgetown basketball bad.  Also, I don’t give two *bleeps* about how beloved FGCU was.  I mean, it helped that they advanced to the Sweet 16 and stuff and I enjoyed the gratuitous shots of Andy Enfield’s wife all the time, but still.

Georgetown has put some great players into the NBA. I may be wrong but I believe KU, UCLA, Georgetown and Houston are the only colleges to produce two top 25 all-time scorers in the NBA. (KU with Pierce and Wilt and Georgetown with AI and Ewing).  What’s your all-time starting five for Georgetown? How do you think it would match up against KU’s starting five (Wilt, Paul Pierce, JoJo White, Clyde Lovellete and Danny Manning). 

I am perplexed by your lineup for KU.  Not mad, not sad, not happy, just perplexed. I had to google JoJo White and Clyde Lovellette to figure out what positions they played and who they were.  Turns out that Lovellette is a spry EIGHTY FOUR YEARS OLD.  With all of the talent that has come through KU in the last 20 years, you picked a guy who played at Kansas in NINETEEN FIFTY TWO.  Perplexing.

Anyways.

Given that you are starting what appears to be one guard (White), one small forward (Pierce), one other power forward (Manning), one 84-year-old (Lovellette) and one center (Wilt), I will counteract with a “big” Georgetown lineup.  Your choice of lineup vs. a smaller, quicker KU team actually benefits us greatly.  At guard, I am taking Allen Iverson.  Then I’ll go Jeff Green to guard Pierce, Alonzo Mourning to guard Manning, Greg Monroe to guard Lovellette and Patrick Ewing to match up with Wilt.

I know I am leaving out Sleepy Floyd, Reggie Williams, Dikembe Mutombo, Roy Hibbert and Otto Porter, but this lineup gives me the best chance to win.  AI can control the flow, Green and Monroe are comfortable playing around the top of the key and have great passing skills, and Mourning and Ewing can patrol down low.  Your lineup also allows Monroe to play despite his defensive difficulties given he’ll be guarding a dinosaur.  I assume for these purposes, we have all the players at their college playing levels, but I stand by my comment that Lovellette was a dinosaur then too.

I am still very perplexed.

Realignment has hurt both KU and Georgetown’s conferences. I think the NCAA needs to step in and make changes based on historical rivalries and geographical regions. What’s your take on realignment?

I can go on for hours about this but I’ll [try to] keep it short.  It sucks to see the old Big East fall apart but Georgetown ended up in a fine spot considering it doesn’t play BCS football.  It has natural rivals, both historic and geographic, and is positioned with similarly-situated and like-minded schools.  As for the rest, I have no doubt that we haven’t seen the last of realignment, I think next you see the power teams in the power conferences turn on the lesser teams, the ones that take from the conference pot rather than contribute.  The NCAA is powerless in this situation, it has no control over the conferences, the commissioners, or the university presidents.  The breaking point will be when the portion of the country that doesn’t give a damn about college athletics gets fed up with having another college conference TV network jammed down their throats and decides to give up live pay-TV.  It is already happening.  Or a distributor realizes they can cater to a very large population that would rather go without ESPN, FS1, Longhorn Network, etc and offer a sports-less bundle.  Subscribers leave, advertisers leave, TV money dries up, conference realignment stops, myopic schools hanging on the coat-tails of profitable institutions get left in the mud.  We start over again.

In the meantime, I hope Kansas and Georgetown continue to play each other.

 If you could take one of the top 5 freshmen (Wiggins, Embiid, Parker, Randle and Gordon), which one would benefit G’Town the most right now?

Randle.

I mean I’d take any of them obviously, but Randle fills a significant hole from my perspective. I think Nate Lubick is Georgetown’s weakest link in its starting 5, and Randle is an enormous upgrade, particularly on defense and rebounding and awesomeness. Between Starks and Smith-Rivera, we have guards that can fill it up and Embiid is too raw compared to the rest to be all that helpful with Josh Smith down low. I totally understand the appeal of Wiggins, and I’d take him #1 tomorrow, but as currently constructed, he’s not the best player of the bunch. I feel similar about Gordon as I do Embiid.So it really comes down to Randle or Jabari Parker and I’d never willingly take anything from Duke. Randle it is.
  • Ole Yeller

    very very VERY perplexed