The Glass CeilingAs seen during the Big East title game, the Hoyas’ principle weakness is their rebounding, a trouble spot that has plagued them all season. The first sign that it might be the team’s eventual downfall was the Dec. 22 matchup versus No. 1 seed Memphis. Georgetown played the Tigers tight throughout the first half but was overpowered on the boards for the whole of the second half, allowing Memphis to run away with the win. Georgetown finished first in the regular season Big East standings, but finished dead last in offensive rebounds, averaging only 9.86 all season. Even with a 7-foot-2 center, the Hoyas could not get it done in the paint. In the title game, eventual-champion Pittsburgh embarrassed the Hoyas on the boards, leading them 41-29, including a 19-7 showing on the offensive glass. If the Hoyas run into a team that is physical on the inside and ready to outjump and outplay Roy Hibbert, proven doable on Saturday by Panther freshman DeJuan Blair, Georgetown will lose its NCAA Championship hopes as quickly as its Big East tournament dreams disappeared.

Ticky Tacky

Georgetown is a physical team, which often works to its advantage, especially on the defensive end. But lately the Hoyas have been committing to many fouls. Four Hoyas fouled out in the Big East tournament’s three games. Hibbert and Vernon Macklin fouled out against Villanova, leaving the Hoyas without much of a post presence and forcing the guards to compensate. Against Pittsburgh, both DaJuan Summers and Jeremiah Rivers fouled out. Summers exited the game with more than seven minutes of play left. Meanwhile, Patrick Ewing Jr. flirted with the line more than once in the tournament, forcing Thompson to bench him more than he probably would have done otherwise. In addition, two technical fouls were assessed throughout the tournament, one to Ewing and one to Chris Wright. Amazingly, the Hoyas managed to accomplish all this fouling in the tournament even with receiving a first round bye. What hurts even more for the observant Hoya fan is that more than a reasonable number of these fouls seemed to be just thoughtless and unnecessary errors on behalf of the players. The Hoyas will have real trouble in the tournament when teams that can shoot from the charity stripe pick up extra points while Georgetown loses its key players.

A Pressing Matter

Georgetown must do a better job against the fullcourt press. One of Georgetown’s earlier encounters with the press was against a not-too-challenging Seton Hall team at the beginning of February. Even though the Hoyas handily defeated the Pirates, Seton Hall slowed the team down and demonstrated that Georgetown did not really adjust to face the press. Then, the Hoyas ran into Louisville, which fended off Georgetown for the upset win, largely behind the success of its fullcourt press. Guards Jessie Sapp, Jonathan Wallace and Rivers all have talents that lead the team’s offensive effort, but Georgetown showed that it needed a quicker guard able to just dribble through and beat the press. Now that Wright is suited up once again, he might provide the speed Georgetown needs to break a full-court press if a team in Raleigh tries to use it.

Who Goes There?

One negative theme that has afflicted the team up to now is its inconsistency. In the first two games of the Big East tournament, Georgetown was unstoppable, intimidating opponents with an inside-outside threat that simply overpowered two good teams that both won at-large bids for the tournament. Then, the big game came knocking, and the Hoyas committed simple, careless mistakes. Austin Freeman not being aware of the shot clock, Hibbert turning away before the ball was in the basket and missing a rebound, a bad dribble here and an awful pass there spelled the end. The same thing happened at Syracuse, when the Hoyas committed 12 turnovers in the first half alone. In the span of three days, the Hoyas looked like one of the best teams in the country, and then one of the least polished. So the question becomes: Which Georgetown team will show up to the tournament?

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