PICKING SPLINTERS GU’s Conference Games To Be Proving Ground

Hey, look! Sunshine is here!” says Connecticut Men’s Basketball Head Coach Jim Calhoun as Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim enters the room. Boeheim looks up and returns Calhoun’s greeting with a faint smile on his otherwise perpetually long face, which looks something akin to that of a boy who has lost his puppy.

Later Georgetown’s Kevin Braswell slaps hands with Syracuse’s Preston Shumpert; Hoya Mike Sweetney catches up with summertime playing partner and UConn Husky Caron Butler. B.C.’s Troy Bell reminisces about his game freshman year against Georgetown, when Braswell scored 27 points against him.

All around the Big East’s players and coaches chat with each other and reporters about past seasons as well as the upcoming 2001-02 campaign at an event in New York City known as Big East edia Day. To invoke a cliche as old as Providence guard John Linehan, it is the calm before the storm.

In two months, and after a few tune-up non-conference games, the in-conference schedules will begin and the race for the Big East Championship will commence. And by all pre-season indicators, that title should belong to Georgetown.

In the preseason coaches’ poll, Georgetown was picked to win the Western division of the Big East, garnering 12 first place votes out of a possible 14. Two Georgetown players were also given individual preseason honors, as Braswell was named to the Big East First Team, and Sweetney was named to the Second Team.

While I think it’s absolutely criminal that Sweetney was left off the first team, I will be eagerly looking forward to the end of the season when Sweetney is a close runner-up to wunderkind Troy Bell for Big East Player of the Year.

With all the hype and preseason accolades it will be interesting to see if this year’s Hoya squad can live up to it. The Big East will be largely up for grabs this year as there are few teams dubbed as national contenders.

At Media Day you could generally tell who the preseason favorites were by the amount of press gathered around the school’s table. For example, you could have populated a small village with the press gathered around UConn’s table, while I firmly believe that I was the only person to talk to Virginia Tech Coach Ricky Stokes all day. And I didn’t even know his name.

For the first time in a while, Georgetown was being mentioned as a team expected to come out on top of the conference. Braswell spoke about the difference of being the hunted as opposed to the hunter.

“It’ll be hard,” Braswell said. “It makes you play harder when a lot is not expected of you. And I have to get my teammates to understand that. They don’t know how it is to be hunted. We’re the No. 1 seed in the West Division. Every night we’re going to have to come out ready to play. You can’t have mental lapses in a game that’s real close.”

While there will likely only be four legitimate contenders for the conference title (Georgetown, Boston College, UConn and Syracuse), the Hoyas always face the danger of playing down to the level of their competition. You only need to look as far as GU’s loss to Pitt midway through last season, the atrocious loss to Seton Hall in the second round of the Big East Tournament and another ugly game at home to Villanova to see that we sometimes struggle to stay our best against mediocre teams.

However, when the Hoyas are on they can play with anybody, as shown by key victories against Syracuse at MCI and at Notre Dame and in the first round NCAA game against Arkansas.

While the Hoyas will have to be on guard against upsets by skilled conference teams, the rivalries will certainly highlight this season’s schedule. Though it shouldn’t be as strong as last season, Syracuse, as always, will pose a barrier to GU’s conference dominance.

“It’s a good game,” Shumpert said. “It’s going to be war.”

This season the Hoyas will again face UConn, a rivalry that reached its high point in 1996 when the two teams matched superstars Allen Iverson and Ray Allen against each other. This year the teams could again very likely find themselves facing off in the Big East Championship, which would pit rising starts Sweetney and Butler against each other. The teams will first meet at MCI Center on Feb. 19.

The conference schedule will be an important part in Georgetown’s success this season. If they dominate, a high seed in the NCAA Tournament will likely be their reward. Should they falter, well . let’s not think about that.

Picking Splinters If Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting, How Did the Indians Get So Far? -Oct. 16, 2001 Athletes Are Role Models In Crisis -Sep. 18, 2001 The Danger of Bonds and 71 – Broken Record, Broken Dreams -Sep. 11, 2001 Full Archive

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.

PICKING SPLINTERS GU’s Conference Games To Be Proving Ground

Hey, look! Sunshine is here!” says Connecticut Men’s Basketball Head Coach Jim Calhoun as Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim enters the room. Boeheim looks up and returns Calhoun’s greeting with a faint smile on his otherwise perpetually long face, which looks something akin to that of a boy who has lost his puppy.

Later Georgetown’s Kevin Braswell slaps hands with Syracuse’s Preston Shumpert; Hoya Mike Sweetney catches up with summertime playing partner and UConn Husky Caron Butler. B.C.’s Troy Bell reminisces about his game freshman year against Georgetown, when Braswell scored 27 points against him.

All around the Big East’s players and coaches chat with each other and reporters about past seasons as well as the upcoming 2001-02 campaign at an event in New York City known as Big East edia Day. To invoke a cliche as old as Providence guard John Linehan, it is the calm before the storm.

In two months, and after a few tune-up non-conference games, the in-conference schedules will begin and the race for the Big East Championship will commence. And by all pre-season indicators, that title should belong to Georgetown.

In the preseason coaches’ poll, Georgetown was picked to win the Western division of the Big East, garnering 12 first place votes out of a possible 14. Two Georgetown players were also given individual preseason honors, as Braswell was named to the Big East First Team, and Sweetney was named to the Second Team.

While I think it’s absolutely criminal that Sweetney was left off the first team, I will be eagerly looking forward to the end of the season when Sweetney is a close runner-up to wunderkind Troy Bell for Big East Player of the Year.

With all the hype and preseason accolades it will be interesting to see if this year’s Hoya squad can live up to it. The Big East will be largely up for grabs this year as there are few teams dubbed as national contenders.

At Media Day you could generally tell who the preseason favorites were by the amount of press gathered around the school’s table. For example, you could have populated a small village with the press gathered around UConn’s table, while I firmly believe that I was the only person to talk to Virginia Tech Coach Ricky Stokes all day. And I didn’t even know his name.

For the first time in a while, Georgetown was being mentioned as a team expected to come out on top of the conference. Braswell spoke about the difference of being the hunted as opposed to the hunter.

“It’ll be hard,” Braswell said. “It makes you play harder when a lot is not expected of you. And I have to get my teammates to understand that. They don’t know how it is to be hunted. We’re the No. 1 seed in the West Division. Every night we’re going to have to come out ready to play. You can’t have mental lapses in a game that’s real close.”

While there will likely only be four legitimate contenders for the conference title (Georgetown, Boston College, UConn and Syracuse), the Hoyas always face the danger of playing down to the level of their competition. You only need to look as far as GU’s loss to Pitt midway through last season, the atrocious loss to Seton Hall in the second round of the Big East Tournament and another ugly game at home to Villanova to see that we sometimes struggle to stay our best against mediocre teams.

However, when the Hoyas are on they can play with anybody, as shown by key victories against Syracuse at MCI and at Notre Dame and in the first round NCAA game against Arkansas.

While the Hoyas will have to be on guard against upsets by skilled conference teams, the rivalries will certainly highlight this season’s schedule. Though it shouldn’t be as strong as last season, Syracuse, as always, will pose a barrier to GU’s conference dominance.

“It’s a good game,” Shumpert said. “It’s going to be war.”

This season the Hoyas will again face UConn, a rivalry that reached its high point in 1996 when the two teams matched superstars Allen Iverson and Ray Allen against each other. This year the teams could again very likely find themselves facing off in the Big East Championship, which would pit rising starts Sweetney and Butler against each other. The teams will first meet at MCI Center on Feb. 19.

The conference schedule will be an important part in Georgetown’s success this season. If they dominate, a high seed in the NCAA Tournament will likely be their reward. Should they falter, well . let’s not think about that.

Picking Splinters If Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting, How Did the Indians Get So Far? -Oct. 16, 2001 Athletes Are Role Models In Crisis -Sep. 18, 2001 The Danger of Bonds and 71 – Broken Record, Broken Dreams -Sep. 11, 2001 Full Archive

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.