The Van Buren Boys

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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Greg Monroe at the McDonald's All-American Game

I didn't catch the McDonald's All-American game last night. Maybe someone else who did can comment. But it appears that future Hoya, and No. 1 high school player, Greg Monroe, laid an egg. This is what had to say about the game.

Greg Monroe, considered the nation's top player by recruiting sites and, had a tough game for the West, committing five turnovers and scoring one point after an 0-for-2 performance from the field. He had six rebounds.
Based upon Greg's performances in the big, televised games he's appeared in this season, I'm not expecting him to shine right away on the Hilltop. It seems that after this year's disappointing run in the tournament, next year will not provide any quick fixes.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

UMBC Point Spread

Georgetown is a 17 point favorite in today's opening round game, making them one of the heaviest favorites on the board (behind only UNC, Memphis and Tennessee). The over/under is 131.5. Go Hoyas!

Point spreads/odds provided for recreational purposes only

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Greg Monroe Named High School Baller of the Year

Firmly solidifying his claim on being the #1 high school player of 2008, Greg Monroe was named this month the Morgan Wootten National High School Basketball Player of the Year on the McDonald's All-American team. Past winners include Kevin Love (2007), Greg Oden (2006), Josh McRoberts (2005), Dwight Howard (2004), LeBron James (2003), Chris Duhon (2000), Jason Williams (1999), and Shane Battier (1997). Monroe is the first Hoya to achieve this honor. Congratulations, Greg!

The Washington Post On The Hoyas' First Round Match Up

The Washington Post has a good article today on UMBC and their preparations for meeting Georgetown. The main point is that many UMBC players know the Hoyas. Some played against future-Hoyas during their days of high school basketball. Some play in the Kenner League during the summers. Some transferred from the JMU team that squared up against the Hoyas a few years ago. The point is the Retrievers come into the game with their eyes wide open.

If you think about it, that's the downside with playing a low-seeded team from the same geographic area as you. It's not like UMBC is playing Tennessee. Their local papers cover the Hoyas. The Hoyas are on TV around here. And many of these kids probably grew up as Georgetown fans.

Another Article To Get You Pumped For The Tourney

As should be expected, the last week has seen a flurry of great articles about the Hoyas. One of my favorites so far, however, is this one from the Wall Street Journal. The author, Nick Timiraos, is a Georgetown grad (C' 2006). The main thrust is, to put it succinctly, what a difference four years make. He recounts the Hoyas low point when he was an undergrad and their phoenix-like return to national prominence. Mr. Timiraos also astutely notes how fun this has been because of the quality student-athletes that have led the charge.

It is definitely worth a read.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hoyas in Sports Illustrated

This week's SI has really got me pumped for the tournament. On the cover is this outstanding shot of DaJaun Summers and inside is one of the best pieces written about JTIII I have read (and I've probably read them all!). Seriously, if you are a Hoyas fan take some time to read this.

Also recommended reading is the current AP story on Big Roy. It contains what is undoubtedly my favorite Roy Hibbert quote this side of "I am a monster. Be afraid." When asked about his interest in running for office with Jon Wallace, Hibbert quipped, "I’m nice. Jon’s a charming young chap. I’ll let him be at the top of the ticket. He can do all the work, and I’ll just go to funerals." I love Roy. He is treading into Gilbert Arenas quirkiness territory.

Tournament Comebacks

Interesting top 10 on CNNSI - best tournament comebacks. # 7 on their list was last year's G'town triumph over UNC in the Regional Finals. I must say, not only because I was there and G'town won, that this was quite possibly one of the best games I can remember (although the victory over Duke in 2005 was prety nice too). Mrs Stallion can vouch for the fact that with 7 minutes to go I was whispering to her that maybe we should head out to beat the bus line. To her credit, her faith in the Hoyas never waivered. Because I listened to my wife, I witnessed the most exicting 12 minutes of basketball I've ever seen. Althoug we sat deep in Tar Heal country in the last row of the arena, the game was awesome!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Another Final Four Prediction

I'm sure there are a lot of these out there, but I'm just noting them as I come across them. Jim O'Connell is predicting that Georgetown returns to the Final Four in a piece he wrote for the Associate Press.

* * *

GEORGETOWN (2) vs. Maryland-Baltimore County (15) — The Hoyas are
trying to return to the Final Four. The Retrievers are playing their first NCAA
tournament game.

* * *

GEORGETOWN vs. Davidson — Few teams have
the ability to shut down shooters the way the Hoyas do. Curry can ask Joe
Alexander of West Virginia.

* * *

GEORGETOWN vs. Southern Cal —
Hoyas center Roy Hibbert doesn't dominate every game, but his eyes will light up
against the Trojans who barely outrebounded their opponents this season.

* * *

Kansas vs. GEORGETOWN — The Hoyas return to the Final Four
in what has the trappings of an entertaining defensive matchup. The Jayhawks
keep looking to get there for the first time under coach Bill Self.

* * *

NORTH CAROLINA vs. Georgetown — When these teams met in the regional
final last year, the Tar Heels blew a late lead and turned it into a cause for
this season. They'll run their way to revenge to get to the Final....

A Number 2 Seed

So, we couldn't get the job done against Pitt in the Big East Tourney final. I think that we were really done in by foul trouble. Roy Hibbert got into trouble, which meant that one of Georgetown's best weapons on offense and defense spent a lot of time riding pine. DaJuan Summer fouled out with lots of time left to go in the second half, which meant the Hoyas were without their most explosive offensive player. And Jeremiah Rivers fouled out during crunch time, which means we were without our best, lock-down defender as we tried to make a run down the stretch (though it also meant we didn't have to watch any of his ill-advised shots, like the shot from the corner that he took that bounced off the side of the backboard; just plain ugly).

Still the Hoyas managed to get a number two seed in the Midwest. I don't know where they rank amoung the two seeds yet, but I figure that it must be pretty high. They avoided the brutal Eastern Region, where Tennessee got punished as the two seed. And I heard the head of the NCAA Selection Committee say last night on ESPN's Bracketology that Georgetown is playing in Raleigh instead of Duke because we were a higher rated #2 than they were and it was the closest venue that we were allowed to play in.

I haven't really studied the bracket yet, but my initial reaction is that we got a good draw. Don't get me wrong, assuming that we handle UMBC, every subsequent game will be a struggle. The next game will feature the winner of Gonzaga or Davidson; two excellent mid-major teams. And then we would likely play Wisconsin, the winner of the Big Ten regular season and tournament (though it is possible we could have to play one of the freshman phenoms if Kansans State or Southern Cal pulls the upset). If we get through those teams, we have to take on the Big 12-champs, Kansas; a team that I think could very well win it all. Still, I think that the Hoyas have a chance against all of these teams.

In fact, I heard Dick Vitale on ESPN radio's Mike & Mike show this morning (he was on right before JTIII). He said that he had Georgetown beating Kanasas in the Elite Eight to return to the Final Four! You have to like that.

Friday, March 14, 2008

On to the finals

Admittedly, I didn't get to see the entire game; however, from what I saw, Roy seemed to step it up big time. 25 points / 13 boards done quite efficiently & effectively in his 28 or so minutes of PT. I know that I've been critical of Roy at times during the season (& yesterday); however, tonight, I must give him due credit for a job well done. With a nearly 2 to 1 rebound advantage of the 'Neers, the paint, as well as the entire garden floor, belonged to the Hoyas. The big guy looked pumped up out there from tip-off.

No need for a recap as I'm assuming that most, if not all of my fellow VBB watched the game, but I must say that the Hoyas looked tough tonight. I have trouble thinking of anything not positive about the result of this game. Having said that, here's to a big game from the big man.

Although I witnessed the Hoyas cut down the nets at the Garden last year, I am sad to say that I will not be there to see it tomorrow night. To cite one of Jester's prior postings, I think at this point, a # 2 seed is looking quite realistic. While I am by no means looking past Pitt or Marquette (I'm typing this post as the nightcap game is on), I personally would have love to have seen a G'town / L'ville BE final matchup. 24 hours till we find out if the Hoyas cut down the nets again.

PS - I may have been asleep at the wheel when we discussed this, but I thought Chris Wright was redshirting this year?? Did I miss that message?

Down Goes Nova; Bring On The 'Neers

What a bizarre game.

For the first time since his freshman year in high school, Roy Hibbert laid a doughnut. His final line was no points on 0-2 shooting with four rebounds, no blocks, and four turnovers in 14 minutes of play before fouling out. That’s horrible. And his replacement, Vernon Macklin, was almost as bad. The Big Ticket had no points on 0-1 shooting with four rebounds, three blocks, and three turnovers in 15 minutes of play before fouling out. Georgetown’s post players only took 3 shots! And some how the Hoyas still one…big…against a team that was needed a win to write their ticket to the Big Dance and who felt like we had stolen a win from the earlier in the season. Incredible.

The story of the game was, obviously, the team’s three-point shooting. The Hoyas finished with a school-record 17 three pointers, which also tied a Big East Tournament record. For the game the team shot just over 60% from Three-Point Land (17-28), but there were stretches where it seemed that we could not miss. Jon Wallace was lights out in the first half. Before the first-half buzzer sounded he had scored 19 points; 15 of which came on his 5 for 5 shooting from beyond the arc. And quite a few of them were well beyond that arc. They were solid NBA threes. Jessie Sapp shot 6 for 9 from down town on his way to a game-high 23 points. Summers was 3 for 5, and Freeman was 1 for 3.

But one of the biggest stories of the game was Chris Wright. After missing all of conference play with an injured foot, and after only returning to full practices in the last week or so, Chris stepped right in without missing a beat. He came in early in the first half to spell Wallace and within seconds he had nailed his first three-pointer. He finished the game 2 for 3 from down town, and had four assists with no turnovers in 15 minutes of play. Chris definitely added something to the Hoyas’ guard play. He looked confident handling the rock and, in my opinion, helped Georgetown push through the Villanova’s full-court press more effectively. Wright’s return adds some great depth to the team for both the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. I’m very happy that he was able to play.

The West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Connecticut Huskies yesterday in a match-up of the two other teams that Georgetown beat on crazy last second plays (a last second block by Ewing in Morgantown and a three-pointer by Roy Hibbert against UConn in DC). I think it will be a good match up tonight. Joe Alexander was fantastic for the ‘Neers yesterday and could cause trouble for Georgetown. But I think the Hoyas will find a way to contain him and will come away with the victory. That would set up a game against either Pitt or Marquette for the Big East Championship. To be honest, I’m pulling for Pitt in the other game. I’d love a chance to avenge our lost at the Peterson Events Center. Pitt is the only Big East team that we played this year without beating. Wouldn’t it be great to change that?

Let’s hope Georgetown wins tonight and we get the chance!

Other notes: Yesterday, after the game, I found some video on showing a post-game interview of Jonathan Wallace and Jay Bilas. I can't find it now, but let me just say it made me feel uneasy. Jay’s infatuation with Jon is scary. At one point during the interview Jay commented on how he thought other players might start wearing the protective wrap that Wallace has had on his wrist if it led to a shooting performance like Wallace had against Nova. As Bilas said this he reached out and grabbed Jon’s hand. He proceeded to turn his hand-grab into an end-of-interview handshake, but I definitely felt that Jay’s hand-hold lingered a little too long. He definitely loves J-Wall.

Speaking of Wallace, a commenter on one of the previous posts noted that ESPN analysts had been playing up the prospect of Wallace and Ewing Jr. being NBA prospects. I love those guys, but I just don’t see it. I just don’t know how they can be competitive at that next level. This is especially true of Wallace. He’s not that quick and he’s not an outstanding ball-handler or defender. He’s good at those things, but not NBA good. Ewing might be another story, but I doubt it. He just isn’t that consistent of a shooter and I have a hard time seeing him transition effectively to the NBA. He’s crazy athletic, but so are a lot of guys playing Division I ball. That being said, if he has an outstanding NCAA Tournament I might see a franchise taking a chance on him; especially given his famous dad. But right now, I’d be shocked. I’m no expert on the NBA. I like to keep focused on the Hoyas. But I just don’t get the vibe that either player has a realistic chance at a career in the Association. I think I’ll just chock this one up to ESPN’s analysts trying to hype up the game.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Big East Tournament Odds

As expected, the Hoyas are favored to win the Big East tournament, with Louisville as a close second. Here are the odds currently listed on bodog - sorry Providence fans.

Georgetown 3-2
Louisville 2-1
Connecticut 5-1
Notre Dame 10-1
West Virginia 10-1
Marquette 12-1
Syracuse 12-1
Pittsburgh 12-1
Villanova 15-1
Seton Hall 30-1
Cincinnati 30-1
Providence 40-1

Odds provided for recreational purposes only

Georgetown Up To A 2 Seed?

I caught a few minutes of Joe Lunardi's appearance on Tony Kornheiser's radio show this morning. Mr. Lunardi now has the Hoyas as a 2 seed in his most recent bracketology.

I think that's about right.

Cabinet Officials, And Mayors, And Owners, Oh My!

The New Yorker magazine recently ran a commentary by Hendrik Hertzberg suggesting that John McCain would be well served by selecting Condoleezza Rice as his vice presidential running mate. I don't know whether or not that would be a politically expedient decision for Senator McCain, but I do know that my opinion of the Secretary of State recently improved with her decision to attend Georgetown's home finale against Louisville. Not only did Ms. Rice attend the game, but she apparently knows a fair amount about college basketball -- as the beginning of the embedded video below demonstrates.

And the Secretary of State wasn't the only DC celebrity to grace the Verizon Center this weekend. The list of luminaries included: Mayor Adrian Fenty; Washington Redskins Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers; Capitals owner (and Georgetown alumnus) Ted Leonsis; and new Nationals owner Mark Lerner. Pat Ewing Sr. and Jeff Green's mom were also there.

Ted Leonsis was asked to explain the recent increase in interest in the Hoyas. His simple answer was: "Georgetown's back."

We are indeed.

There Are No Cinderellas

This is the first of two Georgetown videos I saw on Dan Steinberg's DC Sports Bog over at, which I just had to post. It's the latest ad from Nike's Jumpman 23 line and it prominently features JTIII and the Georgetown Hoyas.

Nice. Very nice.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Big East Tournament Seeds

Even with the #1 seed, we have a formidable road ahead. I don't want to hear about the PAC 10 or ACC - to me, the Big East is clearly the toughest conference in college basketball.

2008 BIG EAST championship presented by AĆ©ropostale

Wednesday, March 12 – First Round (ESPN)

Noon No. 8 Villanova vs. No. 9 Syracuse

2:00 No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 12 Providence

7:00 No. 7 Pittsburgh vs. No. 10 Cincinnati

9:00 No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Seton Hall

Thursday, March 13 – Quarterfinals (ESPN)

Noon No. 1 Georgetown vs. 8/9 winner

2:00 No. 4 Connecticut vs. 5/12 winner

7:00 No. 2 Louisville vs. 7/10 winner

9:00 No. 3 Notre Dame vs. 6/11 winner

Friday, March 14 – Semifinals (ESPN)

7:00 Thursday afternoon winners

9:00 Thursday evening winners

Saturday, March 15 – Championship (ESPN)

9:00 Semifinal winners

Out Of Great Silence

Silence. Stone cold silence. For the last couple of weeks that is what you’ve gotten out of old Jester. I could have written. In fact, I had a couple of solid posts in mind. I had a “We’re Just Not That Good Post” already penned in my brain. And I had a “The MSM Gives Us No Respect” article. But I was taking a stand. My co-contributors weren’t posting, and I wasn’t going to carry the load myself. The Iceman offered to step in. But, no offense to Iceman, if he was the only one posting then it really wouldn’t be the VBB, would it?

But the Stallion came to the rescue. The guy works all day, goes to school all night, and has an infant to take care of. Yet he still found a way to post. If that isn’t inspiring I don’t know what is.

Oh wait, yes I do – The Hoyas.

What a game against Louisville! The Phone Booth was jumping on Saturday afternoon my friends. I can’t even remember a game that loud at Verizon. And despite some of the worst dunking that mankind has ever seen during the first half (DaJuan missed his third dunk in the last two games, and Macklin missed a dunk on an otherwise good move), Georgetown was playing some very good basketball. Their defense was insane. Louisville only managed 19 points in the first half. By my count they were 8 for 21 from the field (38%). And they made only one three-pointer in eight attempts. The Hoyas went into halftime up six. And after a barrage of excellent shots from Austin Freeman towards the beginning of the second half the Hoyas were up 11 and I started to day dream about how a blow-out of the Cardinals would change the public perception of Georgetown’s chances in the NCAA Tournament.

Of course, I was getting ahead of myself. The Hoyas went through an eight-minute stretch where they only managed four points, and the Cardinals tied up the game at 44 all. But the Hoyas did what they’ve done well all season. Louisville took a 51-50 lead with a little over three and a half minutes remaining and Georgetown ratcheted up its defense to close out the game, limiting the Cardinals to only one more point. They worked methodically on the offensive end of the floor and found an open DaJuan Summers for an open three point shot with 40 seconds to play. It wasn’t the blow out I had dreamed of with 15 minutes to play, but it was another classic, JTIII win — a close game where the Hoyas came out on top.

Now, this is not a game that is going to prove to the MSM that they’ve been wrong about Georgetown this year. The powers-that-be have suggested that Georgetown is overrated, and have consistently picked against them in all of their big games. Against Marquette two weekends ago I couldn’t find anyone who thought the Hoyas would win. But they did. This weekend everyone expected Louisville to write the final chapter in the story of their heroic comeback from injuries to become the team everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the season. But they came up just short. But in both of these Georgetown victories, like so many Hoya victories this year, it wasn’t clear that Georgetown was going to win until that final buzzer sounded. When a shot or two falling the other way could turn a victory into a loss, people say that you are lucky. Sometimes that’s true. But when a trend develops where you are always winning those close games, you can’t call it luck. Georgetown is now 6-0 in games decided by 5 points or less.

I’m almost a believer. I used to panic down the stretch. We’d approach the final minute or two of the game, we’d be up by one, down by two, or whatever, and I would start to say to myself “we’re going to lose; I know it, we’re going to lose.” But we wouldn’t. Time and again we’d pull out a “W.” I’ve grown so use to it that in the final minutes of the Louisville game I never had that thought. Don’t get me wrong, I was still nervous as hell. I still cheered until I was horse when DaJuan’s three-pointer fell. My heart was still racing. But I didn’t expect to lose. I had faith. Just like the Hoyas’ players do.

The players, led by their corps of outstanding seniors, trust in the system and trust in each other. The Hoyas are consistently balanced in their offensive attack. All of the starters had between 6 and 15 points. Austin Freeman led the team with 15 and had one stretch where he scored eight straight points for the Hoyas. Hibbert did not score until the final seconds of the first half, but came alive in the second and finished with 12. Summers had 8, including that huge three-pointer. The point is you never know where the knock-out blow is going to come from with these Hoyas. A lot of people have faulted the team (and Roy Hibbert) because there is no “go-to guy.” But that’s the genius of what JTIII has developed on the Hilltop. All of the players are go-to guys. You just don’t know who that guy is going to be until after it happens. Georgetown doesn’t have to worry about their star having an off night. No one player is expected to carry the load.

All that being said, I still have concerns. Rebounding. It’s been one of our Achilles’ Heels all year. We out rebounded the Cardinals by 4, but I think it should have been by more. Why can’t Roy Hibbert have a 10-rebound game? He’s only had four this season and his last one was a month and a half ago against WVU. How on earth Jessie Sapp ends of the teams leading rebounder (7) is beyond me. This could be a problem come tournament time.

Of course, Achilles only had one weak heel. Georgetown has several. Turnovers are also a problem. We still had 17, against the Cardinals. Though I thought we were much more effective against the full-court press than we had been in previous games, this is still outrageous. We need to learn to take care of the ball.

The next week will be very telling. Despite getting the number one seed in the Big East Tourney, I think the Hoyas have a tough draw. They will have to play the winner of the Syracuse-Nova game, and I know that both teams believe that they can beat the Hoyas. The Orange already did once. And Nova might have had it not been for the last second (or, should I say, last fraction of a second) foul called with Jonathan Wallace 70 feet from the basket. I think either team can give Georgetown a fun for their money. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the Big East after all. There shouldn’t be any gimmees. If Georgetown wins that one, it’ll probably have to play West Virginia or Connecticut – two more teams that undoubtedly feel like they should have beat Georgetown. Against the ‘Neers the Hoyas survived thanks to a last-second block by Pat Ewing that some (wrongly) believed was a goal tend. Against UConn Georgetown escaped thanks to a last-minute three-pointer by Big Roy Hibbert. And who knows, if we can make it to the finals we may have to take on Louisville for a third time…this time on a neutral court. One thing is clear. If Georgetown can run the table again and win the Big East Tournament they will have proven themselves to be a formidable team going into the NCAAs.

If that doesn’t earn us at least a two-seed, there is no justice.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Seed at the Dance

Following yesterday's win and becoming repeat BE regular season champs, the Hoyas look pretty tough heading to the BE Tourney & Big Dance. Very impressive defense showing yesterday holding L'ville to 52. Once again, the Hoya defense came up big. Big props to Summers for hitting the game winner. It was an open look, but it took a big pair to have the poise to drain that one w/ the game on the line.

With yesterday's win, Stallion's humble opinion is that best case scenario, Hoya's (assuming they take the BE tourney), will receive a # 2 seed in the dance. # 1 seed competitoin between UNC, Memphis, Tennessee, & UCLA with the likes of Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, and Duke lurking for # 2 seeds would make a 2spot for the Hoyas a nice showing. In the event of an untimely early exit (i.e - Thursday) from the BE Tourney, I could see the Hoyas worst case scenario being a # 4 seed (depending upon who wins the BE tourney). According to the 3/7 edition of Bracketology, Hoyas look like a # 3 seed. Viewing the competition out there, I would say a # 3 is the likely spot for the Hoyas; but, I'd love to see what a repeat as BE regular season & tourney champs does to the bracketology folk. A # 3 if they repeat would be a slight on the Hoyas; but, we'll have to wait & see how the next week plays out.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Louisville Point Spread

With the Big East regular season title on the line and today being senior day, you have to expect both sides to be pretty fired up for today's game. The early lines have Georgetown as a 3.5 point favorite. Interestingly, Louisville was favored by exactly this amount in the last matchup. No over/under yet.

Point spreads/odds provided for recreational purposes only

Thursday, March 06, 2008

No love for Roy

CNN / Sports Illustrated came out with their first, second, & third team All America. Big Roy didn't make the cut. Not that this listing is the apex of college basketball accolades, but I'd love to see this spark Roy to having a career game this Saturday. With the BE regular season title on the line, we need a big game out of the big fella.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Marquette Point Spread

Obviously a big game today against Marquette. Surprisingly (at least to me), Georgetown is a 3.5 point road underdog. The over/under is 129.

Point spreads/odds provided for recreational purposes only