DOWN TO CHINATOWN Tournament Goes on Without Hoyas I thought Georgetown wasn’t in the NCAA tournament. But if my eyes weren’t mistaken, I saw our school’s home colors on the hardwood at MCI Center during the first and second rounds. There was the big G in the center of the court. There were the words “Georgetown” and “Hoyas” behind each basket. And worst of all, there I saw eight strange and unfamiliar teams playing in the greatest tournament in front of a national audience on our home court.

Just when I had gotten over the fact that our team’s season was over, I saw Maryland and worst of all, Connecticut make their way to the Sweet 16. I understand that Georgetown had the privilege of holding the first two rounds of the tournament. But how can we play host to something if we’re not even in it. Therefore, couldn’t the MCI Center and NCAA tournament officials have spared Georgetown from the embarrassment? I’m sure they could’ve used the Wizards’ floor. The floors for the WNBA Mystics and the Washington Generals were probably available too.

However, I will no longer extend the disappointment that was our season. Instead, I will concentrate on the soap opera that has been the NCAA tournament this year. Enough has been said about which teams were snubbed by tournament selection committee. The tourney is already in the Sweet 16 and Dick Vitale is still screaming his head off about why more Mid-American Conference teams should have been selected.

Almost every game during the first round was close at one point or another. Every number one seed had significant scares in the first or second round, and Bob Huggins’ jinxed Cincinnati squad once again choked in the second round.

With rumors of Huggins bringing his jinx to West Virginia, we must talk about the Big East teams that were supposedly ranked higher than Georgetown. This year’s tournament has proven that the conference was indeed one of the weaker ones. Undeserving Boston College was spanked and Miami and St. John’s were forgotten in the first round. Connecticut suffered tournament jitters in its first game against Hampton, and then got the benefit of a controversial foul call to win a very close game against the Atlantic Coast Conference’s sixth-best team, North Carolina State.

Big East West Champion Pittsburgh has hardly proven anything in playing Cinderella team Central Connecticut and California in Pittsburgh. And while people are claiming that its Sweet 16 match-up with Kent State is its toughest yet, Brandin Knight and the Panthers would much rather play them than Alabama, the dethroned number two seed in that region.

After one week of NCAA action, only one team, Notre Dame has saved face for the Big East. After watching the Irish play one of the most heated games of the tournament against No. 1 Duke, I had to tip my cap to them.

Chris Thomas looked like the real deal and is someone who will scare Georgetown for years to come. Matt Carroll shot the lights out against the Blue Devils, proving that Notre Dame has a knack for finding good shooters. Everyone in the starting five contributed. Ryan Humphrey provided his usual double-double numbers, and starting center Harold Swanagan gave Notre Dame a lift late in the game. Even Rik Smits-lookalike Tom Timmermans got into the act.

Just when I thought all the madness would subside and all the top seeds would assert themselves, the Mike Davis-led Indiana Hoosiers proved all their critics wrong and pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament by defeating Duke last night.

While Indiana’s gain was everybody else’s loss, there was a reason to feel happy. Davis’s program finally took its first big step in exorcising Bobby Knight from present-day Indiana hoops. After all the media pressure, all the publicity coming from ESPN’s movie Season on the Brink, and the recent postseason disappointments, the Hoosiers emerged to beat the big bad Blue Devils.

No matter which way this mad tournament finishes this year, there is one undeniable fact; Georgetown will not be the only non-NCAA tournament team that must host part of the tournament. This weekend, Syracuse fans will watch in despair as Maryland, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Southern Illinois play on the orange and blue hardwood of Jim Boeheim Court at the Carrier Dome. Knowing this, you’ve got to enjoy the madness.

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