Monday Night Musings

By - February 13, 2007

Monday night I took in the Georgetown-West Virginia game from the back room of the Village Pourhouse on 11th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan, a Lower East Side watering hole where members of the Hoya Hoop Club set up camp for most games. It’s a great atmosphere for any Georgetown alums living in the NYC area (like my roommate Danny) who want to catch the games with some fellow D.C. expats.

Three or four dozen Georgetown faithful filled the back room of the tavern, enjoying the ritual slaughter of the Mountaineers basket by basket. Some thoughts on the game, which lifted the No. 14-ranked Hoyas (19-5, 9-2) into sole possession of second place in the Big East:

  • Heating Up: Georgetown is a team getting hot at the right time after enduring a somewhat lackluster start to their season — losing three of their first seven games while seeming to struggle with the departure of Brandon Bowman. But since a Dec. 2 loss to Duke dropped the Hoyas from the AP Top 25, the D.C. school has scored victories in 15 of its last 17 contests.

  • The Perfect Half-Game?: The Hoyas connected on 79 percent of their attempts from the floor in staking a 37-20 halftime lead. They would finish the game connecting on close to 60 percent of their field goals. In eight of their last nine games, Georgetown has shot better than 50 percent from the floor.

  • Making Up Ground: The already jubilant back room erupted in cheers Monday night when ESPN flashed the Louisville-Pittsburgh final across the screen during the second half: Cardinals 66, Panthers 53. Once the Georgetown decision became official, the Hoyas (9-2) found themselves sitting a half-game behind the seventh-ranked Panthers (10-2) in the Big East standings. If Georgetown can hold its own down the stretch and maintain a place among the top four teams in the super-conference, the Hoyas will be positioned to take home their first Big East Tournament title since 1989 — when their current coach’s dad roamed the sidelines.

  • Pocket Full of Kryptonite: Along with North Carolina, I can’t think of a team better equipped to take down top-ranked Florida than the Hoyas. Few ballclubs besides the Tar Heels and the Hoyas have the frontcourt personnel to match Al Horford and Joakim Noah. Blossoming pivotman Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green have been brilliant in the frontcourt for John Thompson III, while fellow starter DaJuan Summers and servicable reserve Patrick Ewing, Jr., have made steady improvement. Also worth remembering: Georgetown took the Gators to the limit in their Sweet 16 meeting 11 months ago. Only a Darrel Owens missed three-pointer with 6.6 seconds remaining allowed the Gators to secure a 57-53 decision and advance to their Elite Eight date with Villanova.

  • Improving Offense...: Thompson's celebrated Princeton-style offense has never been more effective during his two-and-a-half-year tenure with the Hoyas. His team is putting down 126.2 points per hundred possessions, the best adjusted offensive efficiency in Division I (edging Florida, Arizona and Ohio State).

  • ...But Just As Methodical: The Hoyas are the epitome of the slow-and-steady approach. Georgetown is averaging just 59.2 possessions in its games — the fifth-slowest tempo in Division I. Only Northwestern (56.0), Delaware State (55.3), Samford (54.7) and Princeton (53.1) have been more deliberate than the Hoyas.

Thanks to the magic of DVR, I was able to catch up on the rest of Monday night’s action later in the evening. Some quick thoughts:

  • ‘Cat Power: Davidson all but secured the SoCon South Division title with a 73-63 victory at the College of Charleston. Stephen Curry, son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, led the way with a game-high 24 points. With their victory over the second-place Cougars, the Wildcats (22-4, 13-1) opened a three-game lead in the division standings with five games remaining in league play. Bob McKillop’s charges, which have won 18 of their last 19 games, are the prohibitive favorites to repeat as SoCon champs and would be a trendy first-round upset pick (as they always are) should they advance to the NCAAs.

  • The Harder They Fall: Gonzaga had won 50 consecutive home games entering Monday night’s showdown with Santa Clara for first place in the West Coast Conference. But still smarting from the indefinite suspensions to Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis, the Zags (18-9, 8-3) dropped their first-ever decision in 39 tries at the McCarthey Athletic Center with an 84-73 setback against the Broncos. The second-place Bulldogs (which just sounds weird) hadn’t lost a contest in Spokane since a defeat at the hands of Portland on Feb. 19, 2003.

  • New Britain Beasts: With an 80-66 victory at Sacred Heart that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate, Central Connecticut State (16-10, 13-1) clinched at least a tie for the Northeast Conference regular-season title. Barring an almost-inconceivable collapse, the Blue Devils should have home-court advantage throughout the NEC tournament which gets underway on Mar. 1.

  • Road-Weary: No. 17-ranked Oklahoma State’s road woes continued Monday night in a major way, as the Pokes (19-6, 5-5) found themselves on the wrong end of an 83-54 laugher against Texas in Austin. Sean Sutton’s side is 15-0 on their home court and 4-0 at neutral sites but a listless 0-6 on the road — the last remaining team in Division I with an undefeated home record and a winless road mark.

Posted by at 11:00 AM on February 13, 2007

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