The Van Buren Boys

The Blogosphere's best source for the latest analysis and
commentary from the world of Georgetown Hoyas basketball.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Thanks to Stallion's post yesterday, there seems to be some renewed interest in a classic former Hoya: Brendan Gaughan. A quick Google search delivered this jem.'s Georgetown - St. John's Video Highlights

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

G'town / SJU Recap

Probably could describe this game in 2 words - complete domination! Not sure my fellow VBB were able to catch this one on TV or not, but in my opinion, it was sort of like watching the training clips of Ivan Drago's sparring sessions from Rocky IV. I just sort of felt bad for St. Johns. Mrs. Stallion opined that the Johnnies resemebled the high school JV team that she played on many years ago. Honestly, after the first timeout, I would have put Roy on a train back to DC to get some sleep. The G'town / St. John's matchup has definitely lost some of the luster since the Sweater Game.

Before going further, Johnny Shades and I discussed the 10 point spread pre-tipoff and Johnny predicted that the Hoyas were set to unload on somebody and that somebody would be St. Johns. Props to Johnny for his bold prediction; I wonder if he bet the spread.
Aside from the solid conference victory, apparently the worst in St. John's history, here are a few of my favorite moments / thoughts of the game -

1. The "Bronx" cheer that rippled through the Garden when the Johnnies hit their second shot of the game (with 4:40 to go in the first 1/2). Incidentally, I had a side bet going w/ Mrs. Stallion as to whether the Johnnies would end the first half with more fouls than points. It was a close one.
2. St. John's Dance team - they put on an effort that was quite nice & worthy of recognition
3. Witnessing Byron Jansen knock down a 3 at the buzzer. That sent the G'town bench up in the air cheering. JT3 even seemed to join the celebration. The Garden erupted for that as well. It sort of reminded me when we witnessed dough boy Brendan's high scoring game.

An honorable mention goes to the dude in The Aeropostale Half-time Shootout who narrowly missed the half-court toss.

Aside from the above which will stick with me for quite some time, I think overall it was clear that the Hoyas needed to blow off some frustration. They played with the most intensity I've seen them exhibit all season. Based on the showing against Rutgers, I was pleaseantly surprised by the intensity they showed. The Defense looked great although it always helps when your opponent shoots 21% from the floor. St. Johns was never permitted to look comfortable and the Hoyas kept them out of sync all night. Some the St. John's shots looked like Yates desparation tosses. But, nonetheless, the defense played solid all game long; however, we did commit a number of dumb fouls.

Those with Knicks affiliation played tough. Ewing Jr threw down a couple of nice dunks & given his pointing to the crowd, appeared to dedicate them to Papa Ewing. Despite only chipping in 5 points, Jeremiah was over the court and some of his 9 boards were nice grabs. On the flip side, Mason Jr had a box score line like his dad with 9 points & 7 boards; however, he didn't rack up enough fouls to bear enough resemblace to the 'Mace in yo face' attitude that his dad brought to the mid-90s Knicks.

Roy was efficient with 11 points in 19 minutes. Had 3 fouls, but I honestly think at times he was duped into playing at the level of the Johnnies. Kudos to JT3 for using him sparingly; he got enough work in to regain his comfort for the Garden but he got a nice night off. Also, his fro is coming in quite nicely.

One area that was interesting to watch was Macklin's play tonight. Based on the various combos on the floor, it looked as if JT3 sat him down during pre-game and told him to run with the game. He looked solid and had 2 very impressive looking dunks, the second of which seemed to elicit the only life out of St. Johns. On one of the next possessions, Mason Jr threw down one of his own dunks in retaliation. Overall, Macklin had a decent night, even went 40% from the line. However, JT3 did have to sit him down for a while in the 2nd half as he picked up his 4th foul with around 8 minutes to go in the game. That makes me a bit nervous - if you nearly foul out of the St. John's game, will he be able to stick around in a closer more meaningful game (especially given the unknown & tenuous nature of Summer's injury)? I'm willing to chalk it up to just being dragged down to the level of your opponent. But, while no doubt that he has the tools, he is still very raw & needs to play smarter.

Hopefully G'town continues the level of play over the remainder of the year. It'd be quite nice to lock down the regular season Big East title.

St. John's Point Spread

Georgetown is a solid 10 point favorite in the Garden tonight against St. John's, with an over/under of 123. After a couple close calls, I think it's time for the Hoyas to flex on a St. John's squad that has lost its last five in a row. As an aside, tonight's game should present a nice opportunity for Austin Freeman to get acclimated to MSG before returning for the Big East tournament run.

Point spreads/odds provided for recreational purposes only

Summes Has Not Practiced And Is Day-To-Day

Camille Powell has an article in today's Washington Post about Patrick Ewing Jr. and what he brings to the team (and to life). It is definitely worth a read.

Powell also notes that DaJuan Summers did not practice yesterday and, according to JTIII, is day-to-day. Summers' injury is very worrisome to the Hoyas' prospects going forward. He is the team's second-leading scorer and the effects of a sprained ankle can often linger for months. Due to the importance of this story, The VBBs are trying to get a little more info for our loyal readers. Stay tuned (Oooooooooooooh, mysterious).

UPDATE: Barker Davis adds additional information about Summers' status in his piece for today's Washington Times.
"But the prognosis on DaJuan is much better than we initially expected. It
looks like minor sprain. There's nothing broken or torn, no ligament damage.
We'll make a game-time decision on him tomorrow, but he's been moving around
pretty well, and I'm pretty sure he's going to play."

The Obligatory J-Wall Grew Up On A Farm Story

In preparation for tonight's game against the Johnnies, The New York times has the obligatory Jonathan-Wallace-Grew-Up-On-A-Farm-In-Alabama-And-Was-A-Walk-On-Story. It doesn't provide anything that is particularly earth-shattering, but it does have a little more detail than these stories normally do. Plus, I will admit that this has one of the better lines that I've read in a Hoyas' story in quite a while:

But Wallace, who averaged 16.5 points a game as a senior at Sparkman High School, was a bit more Old McDonald than McDonald’s all-American

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hoyas vs. Nats

This is just plain awesome. CSTV reported today that the Georgetown baseball team will be playing an exhibition match against MBL's Washington Nationals on February 28 at the National's Spring Training home, Space Coast Park.

Washington, D.C. - For the first time in its 132-season history, the Georgetown University baseball team will take on a Major League Baseball franchise. On Thursday, February 28, the Hoyas will travel to the Washington Nationals Spring Training home, Space Coast Park, in Viera, Fla. for an exhibition contest, with first pitch slated for 11:30 a.m.

"Playing a professional team is something that we have been looking forward to for a few years now," senior Matt Harrigan said. "Not only is it a great training opportunity for our team, but it is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of us. We can't wait until February 28th."

It will be the first home game of the spring season for the Nationals. They will begin major league competition on February 29 when they host the Florida Marlins.
Sounds like a good road trip to me.

The Big East Rules

The Big East is the best basketball conference in the country; we all know that. But now we have another reason to celebrate this alliance of institutions of higher education. Miss America. Yes, this year's Miss America is a Big East student. So, she goes to Cincinnati and not to Georgetown. The Van Buren Boys are big enough to give accoldades where accoldades are deserved.

So, what if the University of Cincinnati has never had a Rhodes Scholar (at least not that I have been able to find)? Who cares if Georgetown has had 23 Rhodes Scholars (including one who went on to be Leader of the Free World)? I don't think a Hoya has ever reigned as Miss America.
Congratulations, Bearcats. Congratulations, indeed.

Roy's 'Fro

I don't know how we could have missed this.'s D.C. Sports Bog reported yesterday that Roy Hibbert told reporters Friday that he would not cut his hair the rest of the season. Hibbert explained that he's trying to grow an afro "like Josh Childress."

Are you seroius? That is fantastic! I can see it now.

P.S. - Coincidently, the Sports Bog gave The VBB a shout out in this post. Thanks for the love, Dan.

Monday, January 28, 2008

You Make The Call: The Block Heard Round The World

Here are the ESPN highlights from the Georgetown - West Virginia game. They have some good slow-motion shots of Patrick Ewing Jr.'s block as time expired. I don't care which team you were cheering for, that's just a good atheletic play. Was the ball at it's apex? Had it made a slight dip down toward's the basket? I think it's impossible to tell. I don't see how an official could call goal tending in that instance. It's literally too close to call.

Update On Summers' Injury

The Washington Post is reporting that DaJuan Summers suffered a high ankle sprain. JTIII told The Post that it is not broken.

The mere fact that there was no break doesn't set my mind at ease. All sports fans know that the infamous "high ankle sprain" can affect players for a long time. Let's hope that DaJuan heals quickly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Huge Win!

The win over West Virginia is a big big win. That may be the most intense atmosphere the Hoyas will face this season. Surely, we played poorly--way way too many unforced errors. In fact, there were more inexplicable errors in that game than in any this year. Clearly, the team was somewhat rattled by the atmosphere. I wasn't pleased with DaJaun (but I hope he's okay!) or Jonathan, whose shot looks terrible. Once again, it was the gritty triumvirate of Jessie Sapp, Pat Ewing Jr., and Baby Doc, who pulled the Hoyas across the finish line. The final plays by Sapp and Ewing were just incredible. (Sapp has some stones!!!)Flipping between replays of Ewing's (clean) block and Obama's victory oratory was pure joy for me and the IPB. It turns out we were not the only ones. The Washington Post's Chris Cilliza discussed the game in his "Winners and Losers" column for The Fix regarding South Carolina:

The Fix's Heart: Already overtaxed by the stresses of serving as fan-in-chief for Catholic University's field hockey team and the ups and downs of Election 2008, The Fix's ticker can't take the sort of games Georgetown's basketball team has been playing of late. Last night's heart-attack inducing one-point win at West Virginia is just the latest example. And just for the record, that was a legitimate block -- and one heck of an athletic play -- by Patrick Ewing Jr. HOYA SAXA!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

West Virginia Point Spread

Las Vegas is predicting a pretty tight game tonight. The Hoyas are a 3 point favorite, and the over/under is 129 (though these might move around a little bit by gametime). I have a feeling this game will play out right around the number.

Point spreads/odds provided for recreational purposes only

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Digression

This post is only tangentially related to Georgetown basketball, but I cannot resist the opportunity to share this story about something that has long been a dream of mine: legalized sports betting in Atlantic City. It will probably never happen, but perhaps the advent of slots in Pennsylvania will spur some action.

Wow. Chris and Nikita Done for the Season

The Post is reporting that both Chris Wright and Nikita Mescheriakov will not play again this year. Nikita, you may have noticed, has yet to play. It appears that Nikita may be redshirted. But Wright has already played too many games to qualify for a medical redshit. That is really bad news. We could use Wright's dribble penetration and shooting. Oh well.

Hoyas' Wright Is Likely Out for Season

Wright, a three-time All-Met from St. John's, broke his right foot while playing pickup basketball in late September and had surgery, but he was cleared to play by the start of the season. He then rolled his right ankle at practice on Jan. 4, an injury that Thompson initially described as "nothing major." A week later, Wright felt discomfort in the foot. He has not been practicing, though he was dribbling and shooting the ball yesterday, which Thompson was quick to point out that Wright shouldn't be doing. The 6-foot-1 guard was averaging 6.2 points and 2.3 assists in 17.9 minutes as a reserve for the ninth-ranked Hoyas (15-2, 5-1). He is ineligible for a medical redshirt because he played in 11 games, which is more than 30 percent of Georgetown's scheduled contests.
. . . .

Thompson also said the Hoyas might redshirt freshman forward Nikita Mescheriakov. Mescheriakov, who played at St. John's-Prospect Hall, was ruled ineligible for the first 10 games of the season because he briefly played for, but was not compensated by, a professional team in his native Belarus. He has yet to play this season.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Musing From Wilbon & Mr. Tony

It's kind of a slow day for Georgetown Hoyas' news. I probably should be blogging about the Hoyas' game this Saturday against the 'Neers in Morgantown, but I'm not feeling up to it yet (for the time being I'm just going to say that I think it'll be a tight game). The best thing I've been able to find is this video of Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon from over at It actually doesn't have that much info about the Hoyas. The discussion of the Hoyas only arises during a discussion of the Terps big win against UNC. And there is really only one point of interest: the fact that both Wilbon and Kornheiser agree that Georgetown has the talent to win the National Championship this year. That probably isn't a shocker to the Hoya Faithful who visit this blog...but affirmation is always nice.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Syracuse Point Spread - My Bad

Ok - I fully concede that being late on two games in a row is extremely poor form on my part. I'll be ready for West Virginia. It was a tough night if you bet on the Hoyas. The spread was 12, which they obviously didn't cover, and the over/under was 142.5.

Monday, January 21, 2008

'Cuse Recap

I'm assuming that those VBB who live in DC are making their way home from the Verizon Center at this point. I'd be curious to know if the 'Cuse fans were as loud in person as they sounded on ESPN. Sounded like it was a pretty good mix of folks.

While I can't say I watched all 45 minutes, I can say that I watched enough to know that the better team didn't win tonight. As much as it pains me to say, the 'Cuse out played G'town for much of the game. I'll take the conference win and first place in BE, but no reason that the game should have been that close. I missed the opening 3 minutes of the 2nd half so I can't say if it was our poor defense / offense or if the 'Cuse stepped up to try to go for the upset. Based on what I saw, it seemed like a little bit of both.

Jeremiah had some big plays as did Sapp. River's played some great defense down the stretch. Wallace hit the 3 in the pinch. For those who were at the game and didn't hear the ESPN commentary, Wallace got a lot of kudos. While I can't remember who said it, one did refer to Wallace as a "great college player". He got a lot of props for hitting the 3 and playing overall smart ball. Of course, as they said this he created a nice turnover.

Is it me, or does Roy just not really seem to show up until the last minute of the game. He sort of reminds of me of Eli Manning - plays blah for 3/4 of the game and then spends the last 1/4 trying to dig himself out of a self created hole. I must say that despite the points & boards tonight, I have remained unimpressed with Roy this year. When the game is tight, I'm just not comfortable which Roy will show up.

Another solid game for the defense. Unless I was confusing the stats as they went by on the screen, 'Cuse has been averaging about 85 points a game. If that's the case, tremedous effort to bring them to the GU average of 57 points a game.

The Future

With this weekend's resounding win over Notre Dame and today's classic match-up with arch-rival Syracuse, we haven't been devoting many pixels on the future of the program. In fact, I think that Jester's posts on Greg Monroe constitute the only updates in the past few weeks on future Hoyas. This is a shame because all four of next year's feshmen are having great senior years.

As reported, Greg Monroe performed poorly in his ESPN2 debut. Despite Monroe's lackluster showing in that game, he is still averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks for the season. Monroe's coach recently described Greg's performance on ESPN2 as "his worst game" of the season and said "I feel like burning that tape." Incidentally, in the following game, without cameras rolling, Monroe put up 32 points, shotting 14 for 16, hitting four of five free throws, pulling down 10 rebounds and blocking three shots. Freed from double- and tripple-teams, and surrounded by Freeman, Summers, Sapp, and Wright, I think we will see Monroe shine.

Meanwhile, Baltimore product, Henry Sims, continues to blow up. Here is the, report on Sims's play during the recent showdown between Oak Hill Academy and Mount St. Joseph:

More than matching Oak Hill's inside play, Henry Sims put a huge stamp on the game as clearly the best big man on the court. The 6-foot-10 post man registered 32 points on 10-16 shootincg, 0-1 from three, 12-16 from the line, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 5 turnovers. Always a player to play with a strong motor, Sims is also developing into a highly skilled player. He looked extremely comfortable in the midrange where he both made jumpers and slashed to the basket. In traffic he rebounded the ball with strength and ran the floor with passion. Don't be surprised if Sims works his way into the company of stellar big men who have played at Georgetown.

And Jason Clark has recently justified his continued climb up the recruiting ranks with big performances in recent games. Here is the report from the Washington Post:

Clark Still Growing
All-Met guard Jason Clark missed nearly half of O'Connell's 53-45 loss to Good Counsel last week after spraining his ankle, and was held to a season-low 10 points. But the Georgetown recruit made sure he was heard in the Knights' next two games, scoring a season-high 31 points and then 28 in victories over St. Mary's Ryken and Paul VI Catholic, respectively, as O'Connell improved to 14-3, 5-2 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Clark has plenty of ability: He is averaging 21.5 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field and 52 percent from three-point range. However, with three sophomores in the starting lineup, Coach Joe Wootten went to Clark and asked him to be a more of a leader. "I get fired up inside, but I'm kind of a quiet guy," said Clark, a 6-2 senior. "We talked about it and I said I'd see how it works. I tried it in practice and it seemed to make the team focus even more." That Clark has to work on being heard is not surprising to Wootten, who noted that despite Clark's talent, it never seems like he is imposing himself on the flow of the game. "That's what I think is so impressive about Jason," Wootten said. "He's one of the most efficient players I've seen. He doesn't need 50 shots to score 30 points."

Finally, just so he is not left out of the love-fest, here is some highlight video of Chris Braswell.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Notre Dame Point Spread - After the Fact

Apologies for the late post - Georgetown was an 8.5 favorite in today's game, which they covered with no problem. The over/under was 139.

A Challenge? . . . Not Really

Last year when the Hoyas thumped Notre Dame at the Verizon Center, it was the outside shooting that combined with Roy Hibbert's dominate performance to dispose of the Irish. This year, Big Roy did it largely by himself. Particularly in the first half, when the Hoyas threw up brick after brick, Roy was the focus of the offense. He scored at will against Notre Dame's slower, shorter big men, and passed out of double and triple teams beautifully. Roy ended up with 5 assists and 21 points on 7-11 shooting in only 26 minutes. Outstanding.

Jessie also had a nice game, hitting nicely from the outside--although he did have way too many turnovers. Freeman was his usual efficient self, hitting threes and finishing in traffic. And I thought that Summers was appropriately aggressive, pulling down a double-double.

I was really pleased with the minutes the Hoyas got from Macklin. He hit both of his hook-shots and pulled down some rebounds. Unfortunately, free throws continue to be a problem.

Finally, Wallace remains stuck in his shooting slump. I was watching him during warm-ups and he was missing a significant number of outside shots then too. His motion still looks fine; I can't tell what is going on.

One disappointment was that Nikita did not get into the game. It was over half-way through the second half, and even Jansen got burn. Nikita has a fantastic stroke and looked strong in Kenner League play. Why can't he get into garbage time, Coach? I have a feeling that Nikita could be an important part of the Hoyas in the future and I hate to see him wasting on the bench his entire first year.

Another disappointment from the game was the behavior of the students in the upperdeck. The Verizon Center should have security up there to prevent such incidents in the future. The students managed to embarrass themselves and the University. I hope we don't see that again.

All in all, though, the Hoyas bounced back nicely from their flat performance against Pitt. Now, let's crush the Orange on Monday!

Georgetown - Notre Dame Preview

Today’s game should be a real challenge for the Hoyas.

First, I guess someone should comment about the Pitt game (I’m glad that my partners are helping to support this blog by carrying some of the load). I am not too upset about the loss. The Oakland Zoo is an impossible place to play. No away team has one more than one game there since it opened. And we were ice cold from three-point land, which happens (I agree with JTIII that commentators like The Washington Post’s Camille Powell are making much about nothing in that regard). I would have like to win that game in order to get a win against a ranked opponent, but it’s not a horrible loss.

Today, however, is important. The Fight Irish are tied with the Hoyas in the Big East (3-1). Their only loss in Big East play came at Marquette. Despite the Golden Eagles’ recent poor showing at Louisville, they are still a very talented team. Notre Dame leads the league in three-point shooting (41.6%) behind junior Kyle McAlarney (51 for 111), who has returned to the Irish after a one-year suspension after being arrested for possession of marijuana. McAlarney’s outside presence is complemented by the inside game of the Big East’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Luke Harangody, who is scoring 19.3 points a game. Harangody, who is only 6-8, is also third in the Big East in rebounds, grabbing 9.6 boards per contest.

I think this game is all about how Georgetown responds to Notre Dame’s two stars. The Irish don’t normally start a true center. In last year’s contest, Harangody was the player predominantly matched up against Roy Hibbert. Georgetown handily beat Notre Dame and Roy thoroughly outplayed Harangody. It will be interesting to see if Notre Dame tries the same match up this year. Roy should have a serious advantage against Harangody – he has 6 inches on the guy! Notre Dame’s other option is to give more PT to junior center Luke Zeller, who is 6-11. Zeller only averages a little over thirteen minutes a game, and though he is likely to come in to spell Harangody against Roy, I don’t think that he will see many, if any, extra minutes in this contest (Zeller only played 9 minutes against UConn and 7-3 Hasheem Thabeet). Traditionally, Roy Hibbert has had a difficult time against shorter post players that are thick and aggressive like Harangody. So, I don’t think there is a reason for the Irish to change their game plan. Nonetheless, I expect Hibbert to have a great game and dominate Harangody. If he stays aggressive (like he was against UConn) and bodies up against Harangody, I think that the Golden Domer’s star will not be very effective. And with the size differential Roy should have no problem scoring as long as he gets position.

Concerning McAlarney, and the rest of Notre Dame’s sharpshooters, the key will be for the Hoyas to tighten up their perimeter defense. This has been one of the most disappointing aspects (maybe the only disappointing aspect) of Georgetown’s defense during JTIII’s reign. There are definitely times when Georgetown seems soft when defending on the outside – how often have we seen a player fly at an open, outside shooter at the last second in a dramatic, if ineffective, attempt to stop their three-point shot. Georgetown needs to keep Notre Dame from building momentum by scoring from beyond the arch. I think we are up to this challenge. Watch for tight, on the ball defense. I would expect to see Rivers get some significant time off the bench to put additional pressure on McAlarney. I know that he is still not a fan favorite. But he is much improved and is the Hoyas best on the ball defender. On the flip side of things, Georgetown must be more effective from beyond the arc. Despite some very poor outside shooting games lately (3-20 for three against Pitt) Georgetown is still the second-best three-point shooting team in the Big East. And the “Princeton” Offense requires that a team be able to hit shots from the outside. I expect Georgetown to really come alive from the outside. Jonathan Wallace has been very cold the past two games. You can put your money on this – he won’t be cold for a third. If the Hoyas are just a little more patient, work their offense, and take their three-pointers at the appropriate times (when they are open, set, and there are no open, high-percentage shots available) they will have a big game from deep and should put some distance between themselves and the Irish early.

The game at the Verizon Center is sold out. It should be a blast. Someone (and by “someone” I mean hopefully one of my partners) will report back on how things turned out.

Go Hoyas!

P.S. – I wanted to give a shout out to Vernon Macklin. The guy has taken a lot of abuse on the blog. I wanted to make sure he got some props for a great game against Pitt. In 13 minutes of play, Macklin went 5-5 from the floor. He showed athleticism, confidence, and demonstrated a variety of moves. He looked, well, great! I never thought I would say that about him. Hopefully this was not an aberration. I would love to see Vernon build on this.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pitt Point Spread

The sportsbooks are mixed - Georgetown is either a 1.5 or 2 point favorite on the road tonight against Pitt, and the over/under is 130 or 130.5. Enjoy!

Exhilarating Indeed

I just found Dr. Rich's call of the Hibbert 3. He sounds excited.

Pitt Again

So, I really enjoy when the Hoyas play Pitt. It is once again an opportunity to revisit the Curse of Smizik. Bob Smizik is a columnist for the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. In 2005, during JTIII's first season as the Hoyas head coach and on the eve of the Big East opener between Georgetown and Pitt, Mr. Smizik wrote a column arguing that "the Big East will go through radical change within five years," i.e., the league would break up--with the "football schools" "form[ing] a powerhouse basketball conference" and the eight Catholic schools, which would "have better chances of success in a smaller league where the teams have more in common," forming their own. Basically, he argued that the Catholic schools could not compete with the football schools. Of course, the Catholic schools have at least matched (and probably outperformed) the football schools over the past three years. Indeed, that evening the Hoyas beat Pitt in Pittsburgh and put an exclamation point on just how wrong Smizik's thinking was--hence the Curse of Smizik. (Note: He also speculated that Jay Wright would leave Nova!) And the Hoyas under JTIII have only lost once to Pitt since that column was written. Like a Panther chest-bumping at mid-court with eight minutes to go (everybody should remember that one), Mr. Smizik foolishly assumed to know the future based on scant data points and his own biases.

So, in honor of Mr. Smizik, let us re-live the most recent thumping the Hoyas gave the mighty Panthers. Enjoy.

Exhilarating, But Troubling: A Review of UConn & Preview of Pitt

Let me start with the good. The game against UConn was awesome. It wasn’t the best game that Georgetown has played this season – far from it. But it was the most exciting game that the Hoyas have participated in this season. The vibe from the 20,000 plus fans at Verizon was electric. And I have to give special props to the students for this one. They turned out in force. The student sections in the lower bowl were completely filled and there was an overflow of students filling up about a quarter of the upper level. I can’t remember the last time I saw a turn out like that.

It was obvious from the get-go that this was going to be a classic Big East show down. UConn is a big, physical team. Within the first 45 seconds of the game there was more body banging then in Georgetown’s previous 13 games combined. And UConn brought more than physicality. They brought their “A” game. For the first 15 minutes of the game the Hoyas played fantastically, but the Huskies stayed right with them. Georgetown couldn’t get up by more than five. The Hoyas got a little breathing room towards the end of the first half, but UConn battled back to get within four at the half. With a half-time score of 38 to 42 it was obvious that UConn was going to far surpass the Hoyas’ season averages for points allowed and field goal percentage.

And in the second half the Huskies really turned it on. With about 8 and a half minutes to go they took the lead. UConn appeared to be firing on all cylinders and the Hoyas seemed to be falling apart. I can’t even count the number of times that UConn got an easy, unguarded dunk. The crowd was despondent. They Austin Freeman stood up. Again. With the Hoyas down five with a little over 5 minutes to go Freeman hit a three. UConn answered with a two point lay-up and Roy Hibbert missed a jumper on the other end. UConn threw down another dunk and the Hoyas were down six with 4 minutes to play. Again, Freeman nailed a three pointed, bringing the game within three points with just three minutes remaining. Jessie Sapp added a three pointer to tie the game. And after the Huskies and Hoyas traded points, the stage was set for Roy Hibbert to hit the biggest three-pointer of his career. Granted it was only the second three pointer of his career, but it was still big.

On paper it looks like Roy Hibbert had an amazing game. He scored 20 points and had 8 rebounds. Then, of course, there was the shot. With about 5 seconds on the clock and the game tied Hibbert got the ball at the top of the key. His man was playing off of him. Did he drive to the basket? No, of course not. He took half a step back and nailed a silky smooth three pointer. Nothing but net. The crowd erupted. The Hoyas won. This is the game we had been waiting for Roy to have.

Or was it. I mean, Roy did log 36 minutes (the most this season). He effectively managed his fouls (a problem in past years). He went five for seven from the charity stripe (very respectable; especially given how bad the Hoyas have been this year). But he was only 7 for 14 from the field, and most of those weren’t three point shots if you know what I mean. There was a stretch when Thabeet was dominating Roy. I don’t know the exact number, but there were several shots that were swatted away. And I don’t think it was because Thabeet is that good. I think it was more of a product of the predictability of Roy’s move down low. Let’s be honest. Roy isn’t that dynamic. If you watch enough tape of him you can probably figure out that he has a certain number of “go to” moves in the post. It looked like Thabeet was just ready.

Maybe I’m nit-picking. But I’m a little concerned.

Which brings us to tonight’s game against Pitt.

For the second time in three days the Hoyas are going to appear on national television. With just one day rest the Hoyas have to go to Pitt – a venue where they have struggled historically. And they are playing against a Pitt team that is hungry to beat Georgetown. After Pitt’s victory over Seton Hall on Saturday the Panthers players were already turning their attention to the Hoyas. Remember, the last time these teams met was in the Big East Championship game. The Panthers want revenge and this is a game where they might get it.

Short rest, on the road, against a strong opponent, might spell disaster for the Hoyas. Then again, Pitt has had a lot of bad injuries this year. They are playing with out Levance Fields, their most talented playmaker, and Mike Cook. That puts extra pressure on Sam Young, who has emerged as the leader of this Pitt team. This is a totally different team than the Hoyas beat twice last year. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out tonight.

Don't Worry About Monroe

Here is an article that dovetails nicely with my post last week regarding Greg Monroe's underwhelming performance in the Old Spice Classic. It isn't from a big time publication, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. The basic point is: Don't worry about Monroe; he is inconsistent, but he is talented and he will fit nicely with the offensive scheme Georgetown runs. I agree.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

UConn Point Spread

Georgetown is a 10 point favorite in today's game against UConn. Interestingly, the Hoyas are a heavier favorite today than they were against DePaul (that spread went to 8 by game time). This makes the line in DePaul's game today intriguing - they are a 3.5 point underdog on the road against a lackluster St. John's squad. Just something to keep an eye on.

Point spreads provided for recreational purposes only

Rivers doubleheader

Today is a big day at Verizon Center for the Rivers family. The IPB will be in attendance at both games, along with Jeremiah and Doc. Mabe some other Celtics (like former UConn star Ray Allen) will be on hand to catch the Georgetown-UConn contest.

Check out this blurb from today's Boston Globe:

Rivers said he will have a "nice day" at the Verizon Center in Washington today. He will be on hand when his son, Jeremiah, plays for Georgetown against Connecticut at 2 p.m. And Jeremiah is expected to be in attendance when the Celtics play the Wizards at the same venue at 7:30.

"It's tough to watch any of his games because you're a parent," Rivers said. "You don't have any positive thoughts when you watch your own kids. Everything is, 'Don't screw up. Don't do this. Don't do [that].' You never say, 'Go kick his [butt].' That's what you should think.

"As a parent, you're just nervous. It's just tough."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Greg Monroe Unimpressive in Helen Cox's Loss to Norcross

I got a chance to watch the Old Spice High School showcase on ESPN2 last evening, which featured a show down between Helen Cox H. S. of Harvey, Louisiana and Norcross H. S. of Norcross, Georgia. Each team sported a highly touted senior, but I was obviously watching to get a glimpse of future Georgetown Hoya, and consensus #1 player in the nation, Greg Monroe. I have to say, that I walked away thoroughly unimpressed by Monroe's performance.

Monroe finished with 8 points and 7 blocks for Helen Cox, who lost to Norcross 59 to 48. This was a big game that should have inspired Monroe. The game was nationally televised and his team had dropped out of the national rankings just last week. This was an opportunity to make a statement by beating 11th ranked Norcross. Instead, Mr. Monroe offered a pretty flat performance.

Monroe had a couple of good blocks. He also had several good passes. And in making those passes he showed himself to be the type of unselfish player that will work in Georgetown's offensive scheme. But he also missed an easy dunk, bobbled the ball several times, and was often lurking around the perimeter or just standing around. Granted, some of the positioning issues are things that John Thompson III should be able to fix. And every time Greg touched the ball he was double or triple teamed. But if this was the only exposure that you ever had to Greg Monroe you would definitely not think that he was a big deal.

One of the few highlights for Monroe was an absolutely thunderous dunk that he had relatively early in the game. He got the ball on a fast break, exploded towards the basket, and threw down a one-handed jam over Norcross's Al-Farouq Aminu, who is the number 3 ranked small forward in the ESPN 150 and who is part of the much-heralded recruiting class at Wake Forest. It was the type of assertive, athletic play that should make Hoya hoops fans salivate. I'm haven't been able to find the video online -- if anyone out there finds it, let me know so we can post it.

The real star of the game, however, was Aminu. The future Demon Deacon, who is a descendent of the Nigerian royal house, was awesome. He scored 27 points and literally carried the entire Norcross team on his back when they went down 12-0 to start the game. It was only one game, but he definitely had the best of Monroe in this one.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Most Valuable Programs

An interesting read on espn from Forbes. Makes me wonder how the G'town program is valued. According to Forbes, UNC basketabll is the most valuable program and is valued at $26,000,000 with a profit of almots $17,000,000 last year.

Another Assignment

Greg Monroe is on ESPN2 tonight. It would be great if one of the VBBs could do a write-up on Monroe's performance. Eric Prisbell has a piece on Monroe's recruitment in the Post today.

Handling the Full-Court Press

In some respects, Monroe said, coaches took similar approaches while in his home. Most mentioned church and school because both are very important to Monroe, a Christian who is ranked among the academic top 10 percent of his senior class. They all asked if he planned to stay in college for more than one year. Monroe said he expected to stay four years unless an irresistible NBA opportunity emerged. But there were many differences. Mouzon, who sat in on all the visits, said LSU Coach John Brady brought the "whole dog and pony show," using a film projector to illustrate his points. Another school that used a projector was Baylor, whose coaches visited largely because Monroe had a good relationship with assistant Jerome Tang. Texas Coach Rick Barnes brought a booklet filled with training schedules and talked about a track record of producing stars such as Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge. Mouzon said Kansas Coach Bill Self brought Danny Manning, the former Jayhawks star who led Kansas to the 1988 national title.

Monroe said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski exuded confidence when he showed up with assistants Johnny Dawkins and Steve Wojciechowski. "Limousine and everything," Mouzon added. Monroe said that Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun and Southern California Coach Tim Floyd also visited his family. Without naming the school, Monroe said that one program immediately rubbed him the wrong way with its message and that Monroe knew as soon as the meeting was over that there was no chance he would attend the school. "The stuff they were saying, I wasn't comfortable with it," Monroe said. "You get a sense of their actual personality when you meet them in person and they are sitting in your home. All of them really had different attitudes."

Accompanied by assistant Robert Burke, Thompson arrived in a sport coat and slacks ("professional but comfortable," Monroe said). The visit occurred in the afternoon because Monroe's mother works the midnight shift as a postal worker. Coaches and family met in Monroe's rarely used living room, which is filled with some of Monroe's trophies. Monroe said Thompson III brought a laptop to show clips of Jeff Green because he said Monroe eventually could be used in the same way. What struck both Monroe and Mouzon was Thompson's honesty. Mouzon said the coach said, "I really want you to come," but also acknowledged that he did not entirely love some aspects of the recruiting process. Mouzon felt that admission had a positive effect on Monroe because Monroe did not relish the stress and attention that accompanied the recruiting process.

UPDATE (Jester of Magellan): Coverage starts on ESPN2 at 7:00 PM Eastern. The game is on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD, but it does not appear that the broadcast will actually be in high def.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Man Barker

My man Barker Davis, of the The Washington Times, has a posting on the Times's college sports blog entitled, "Welcome back Roy." Hmmmm, Barker. I think all of this sounds awfully familiar (and compare the respective time stamps on the blog entries).

For now I'll just say that I guess great minds think alike.

Thoughts on DePaul?

Okay, so I'm in Norway, and I woke up at 9:30 pm EST last night (3:30 am here) too learn that the polls in New Hampshire were way off, the offer we received on our condo is way low, and then I promptly (but accidentally) smashed my head on a door and bled all over myself. What else could go wrong?!?! I checked the score of Georgetown-DePaul and saw that the Hoyas were opening up a can!!!! That's why I love this team. They managed to pick me up even on the crappiest of nights. My European travels have been particularly good for the Hoyas -- last year, I followed on the Internet wins over UConn, Nova and Notre Dame. Glad to see I still have the touch. Now, can any of my fellow VBBs who were States-side give me a recap of the DePaul contest? All I can tell is that Roy and Austin beasted....

Georgetown DePaul Recap: Has The Real Roy Just Stood Up?

The story of last night’s 76-60 win against the DePaul Blue Demons is the reemergence of Roy Hibbert. Big Roy scored a game high 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting, and had 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Roy has been criticized for his soft play over the last several games; including a comment on national TV during the Memphis game that he would not be an All-American if voting were held today (a fact that is undoubtedly true). But last night he played with assertiveness. Roy aggressively went after rebounds and made quick decision when he got the ball in a position to score. Roy’s hesitation when he has the ball in the paint has been, in my opinion, one of his greatest problems this year. Too often Roy gets the ball, pauses for a moment, and then starts his move. This gives the Hoyas’ opponents time to send a second defender to double team Hibbert. This is not always bad, as Roy is a good passer and often finds the open man in such situations. But we need balance, which means that we need to establish an inside game. If that is going to happen Roy must realize that there are times that he can and should score when he gets the ball. Last night it looks like Roy got the message.

The question still remains in my mind whether Roy can bring this type of “A” game when he has to contend against bigger post players. So far this season Roy’s best games have come against smaller teams. Last night the primary defender against Roy was DePaul’s Wesley Green, who is 6’ 9” tall and weight around 300 lbs. Hibbert dominated him. Obviously, Roy had significant size on Green and this domination should have been expected. Yet these type of physical, burly post players have given Big Roy problems in the past, so his strong performance give us reason to hope that Roy is beginning to rediscover the strong form he demonstrated towards the end of last season. It also gives me reason to believe that Roy will play well against other, more talented, “beefy” post players – Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody comes to mind.

All in all, this is a game that Georgetown should have won and did win. But they won it in a manner that makes me more confident going forward. Let’s hope the Hoyas carry this momentum into Saturday’s game against UConn and then onto their trip to Pitt and their home game against ND.


It is no secret that the Hoyas have, for whatever reason, been poor on the glass this season. Not only did Roy Hibbert have 11 boards against DePaul, but Pat Ewing Jr. added another 10 boards off the bench. This is key. PE2 stated before the season started that he wanted to focus more on rebounding, but he hasn’t delivered. So far he has only averaged 4.1 a game. Still I was worried that Ewing’s new status as the Hoyas’ Sixth Man may hurt his chances to contribute as a rebounder. Last night showed that he can find a way to help on the glass when he’s in the game.

For the second game in a row freshman Chris Wright sat out with an ankle injury. Early reports indicated that Chris had simply rolled his ankle. Does anyone have any updates about Wright’s status?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Seth Davis Says "Buy!"

To kick off the start of conference play, Seth Davis has an article on predicting whether various programs stocks will rise or fall as the season progresses. Here is what he had to say about the Georgetown Hoyas:

Georgetown: BUY

The Hoyas were unable to impose their style at Memphis, but this is still far-and-away the class of the Big East. What's amazing about the Hoyas is they have arguably the best center in the country in Roy Hibbert, yet they're not overly dependent on him. I can't imagine a better fit for JT3's offense than freshman guard Austin Freeman, a big, strong athlete who can score inside and out.

A Belated Happy New Year

I had meant to post this earlier, but I just forgot. Anyone who has spent much time in our nation's capital looks forward to The Washington Post's annual list of what's in and what's out, which is published on the first day of every year. The List is a key indicator of what is up-and-coming and what is, well, "so last year." This year's list confidently proclaimed that the "Terps" are out and our Georgetown "Hoyas" are in. While one need only check the team's respective records to know that this is true, the inclusion of this obvious fact on The List has more important social connotations. The List's proclamation does not merely acknowledge that Georgetown is playing better than Maryland; it acknowledges that paying attention to the Hoyas is the cool thing to do. After living through a decade of news coverage that devoted a disproportionate amount of resources to a program that lamely argues that opponents should "fear the turtle," it is nice to know that the proper order of the universe is being restored.

P.S. - The print version was even more enjoyable than the on-line version that I've linked to in this article. In the good, old-fashioned paper version the Terps-Hoyas comparison was the first item on The List.

DePaul Point Spread

Early lines have Georgetown as a 7.5 point favorite on the road tonight against DePaul. This number strikes me as a little low, despite DePaul's recent win against Villanova. I won't be surprised if the number moves higher by tipoff.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Updated Bracketology

As of this morning, Hoyas have dropped a slot to # 8 in poll and have become a 3 seed (with negative trend) in most recent bracketology. I'm not so much troubled by the drop to a 3 seed given that it is clear that improvement is needed. What perplexes me is that Duke moved up to 7 with is victory over Cornell. While Rutger's win was ugly, it's a win and a Conference win at that, nonetheless. That should be enough to maintain the status quo absent a compelling victory by a lower ranked team.

Bracket prediction should contemplate the effect of current levels of play projected into the future. However, aren't the rankings a snapshot of current conditions? Not that I put much credibility in either analysis (do we really believe that Butler is the #14 team in the land?). I am just curious about these things.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Reggie Miller on Jeff Green

This from Peter May of the Boston Globe--

You may have missed the second half of the TNT doubleheader last Thursday (Seattle at Phoenix) but commentator Reggie Miller came up with a beauty. Watching the Sonics' Jeff Green move to double-team the Suns' Boris Diaw, Miller cracked, "That's a rookie mistake on Green. Doesn't he look at the box score? Boris Diaw hasn't played in a year and a half. Why would anyone need to double him?" Unfortunately for the Suns, Miller is right. Diaw has been a big disappointment basically since he signed his contract extension ($45 million over five years, starting this year) after his stellar 2005-06 season saw him win Most Improved Player. His numbers that year: 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game. This year? 6.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. He's also shooting 41 percent from the field. Diaw also took a lot of heat back home in France for his underwhelming play in last summer's European Championships.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Stallion's Recap

This is mostly for the benefit of IPB who was under the weather and was unable to experience the wonders of the RAC (which looks oddly like a Star Wars bunker); however, sitting up with Jonah I figured I'd jot down my thoughts on today's game. Like I opined in in the parking lot before the game, it was probably a good bet to bet on GU not to cover the spread; the last few minutes of the game looked like JTIII had taken some of that action given some of the shot selection and general malaise that was seen on the floor by the boys in blue. What surprised me the most is not that GU almost covered the spread but the fact that Rutgers point total resembled more of a high school girl JV game score.

I'll take a conference win as much as the next guy; however, by no means was this a "good" victory. Based on JTIII's post-game comments, he apparently didn't think so either. My humble opinion based upon limited viewing of the Hoyas thus far this year is that they don't look hungry. In many ways they resemble this year's Mets - walking around with the assumption that the league is theirs yet not bringing it to the game. Hopefully, the Hoyas have a different fate than my Mets. They appeared flat from what I saw in the Memphis game and today they definitely came out looking like as though they arrived at the arena the same time as Diamond. Not that they should be slapping on war paint for Rutgers, but conference play is big and Rutgers clearly came out looking to be a spoiler. My opinion - there's a leadership role lacking. I think DaJuan is ultimately that guy, but until he grows into that role, somebody else (i.e. - Roy) needs to step to the plate and command the troops. While certainly there is much more hoops left in this year and this year's bugs will get worked out just fine, I think next year's interplay b/w Freeman & DeJuan will be much like Roy & Jeff last year and be entertaining to watch.

Roy seems to be going backwards with todays performance of as many rebounds as fouls and not much else to show for nearly 30 minutes of playing time. Something wrong with the fact that Macklin schooled Roy at the foul line. In addition to appearing lost & confused on the floor, he seems to be timid and a far cry from the monster that carried GU to the Final Four last year. Does he just need the pressure / high stakes of a big game? Or perhaps, he just needs a little help from DaJuan? Or a worthy big man foe? At any rate, Hoya "D" looked good despite the anemic offense. And, the Hoyas won a must win game. I can't imagine that it was a postive bus ride back though.

Rutgers Point Spread

Georgetown opens the Big East conference schedule as a 17 point favorite at the RAC. The Van Buren Boys will be out in force today doing our part to help make it happen. Go Hoyas!