Georgetown defeated Providence last night, 83-71, at the Verizon Center – and now the Hoyas are back in the NCAA Tournament conversation.
But do they deserve to be?
About two weeks ago, Georgetown was coming off a 5-game losing streak and were losers of 6 out of 7 overall. John Thompson III’s team was being exposed for its weak offense, unable to score 70 points in 5 of those losses (eclipsing 70 only in an overtime loss at home to Marquette). The loss of Josh Smith to academic ineligibility was evident more than ever, as the team’s minutes were distributed between just 7 or 8 players.
But then they beat Michigan State on a neutral court at Madison Square Garden – and took that momentum to DePaul and then back to the Verizon Center against Butler and Providence for a quick 4-game winning streak.
So what happened?
Markel Starks has been the senior leader this team needed him to be, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera has been the go-to scorer we all thought he’d be following a stellar freshman campaign last year.
Jabril Trawick came back from his jaw injury, giving the Hoyas a threat to score off the bench.
Nate Lubick has finally stepped into a role behind D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks, scoring from the post and leading the team in rebounds. Mikael Hopkins, too, has had some success (8 points, 11 rebounds last night).
And Reggie Cameron, the promising freshman, has made himself more of a consistent scoring threat, posting 11 points in the win over Providence.
So… yes, this Georgetown team is definitely improved since it was just 3-6 in the Big East.
Yes, this Georgetown team will be thrown into the bubble conversations from ESPN to CBS Sports to Rush the Court.
And yes, the Hoyas deserve the praise they are receiving for fighting through some adversity and giving themselves a chance.
But it is not time to expect a tournament berth from them. The jury is still out.
4 of Georgetown’s 6 remaining games are on the road, and Ken Pomeroy’s projections expect Georgetown to finish 8-10 in the conference.
Could they prove the computers wrong and string together a couple tough wins on the road? Sure – but they are going to need to take care of business at Seton Hall and at home versus Xavier in addition to winning at least one tough game on the road at St. John’s, Marquette, Creighton, or Villanova.
Georgetown still has a long way to go before Selection Sunday – and John Thompson III will probably end up bringing his team to New York the second week of March needing at least one victory at the Big East Tournament.
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