After one of the craziest days in NCAA Tournament history, Georgetown closed the day with a comfortable ten-point win over Eastern Washington, led by D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s 25 points and 8 rebounds.
Recently, Georgetown has been known to be one of the biggest letdowns come tournament time. The Hoyas have not reached the Sweet 16 in their last five tournament appearances, even though they were a No. 2 seed twice and a No. 3 seed twice. The last time the Hoyas made it past the first weekend was in 2007, when they reached the Final Four with Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert, DaJuan Summers, and crew.
Georgetown was unable to reach the NCAA Tournament last season, posting a 17-14 record in the regular season. This year, coach John Thompson III returned with a deeper, more experienced squad. Although they lost Markel Starks, the Hoyas have found many ways to score, including more threats in their offense.
As the lowest picked No. 4 seed to advance in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, Georgetown looks to prove everyone wrong this year. As we saw Thursday, this team can share the ball, shoot, score, and gather rebounds. What really separates this Georgetown team from years past is their depth. An Amazing 45 of Georgetown’s 84 points came from the bench as they shot 64 percent from the field.
Delon Wright and Utah are set and ready for their game versus Georgetown Saturday afternoon. This game will be an interesting matchup, as Utah has relied heavily on starters like Wright, Loveridge, and Poetl recently. Their bench is not as deep as Georgetown’s offensively, so look for the Hoyas to add pressure and try to get Utah in foul trouble early.
How can Georgetown win and advance to next weekend? They will have to win the inside battle. Coaches who rely on fundamentals (JT3 being one) stress the importance of playing inside-out. That means you attack the inside (driving, feeding the bigs, creating chaos in the paint) at the beginning of the game. It will cause the opposing defense (Utah in this case) to collapse on defense, opening the outside shot. As Georgetown showed us on Thursday, the Hoyas can shoot the long ball as they shot 48 percent from 3-point land.
Georgetown is ready to silence the disbelievers. Without the pressure of a high seed, they use the hate as motivation. If the Hoyas can slow the Utah guards down defensively and shoot like they did on Thursday, Georgetown will likely have a nice meeting with Jahlil Okafor and Duke next week.