On December 3, Patrick Ewing kicked off two of his best players – starting point keeper James Akinjo and key striker Josh LeBlanc.
That should ruin this season with high expectations of the hill. Georgetown now had only seven fellows. In the last two games, that number has been reduced to five as leading scorer Mac McClung (foot) and big star Omer Yurtseven (ankle) were on the sidelines due to injuries.
However, the Hoyas remain relevant to the NCAA tournament, winning three of the last four games without McClung and the last two without Yurtseven. They won on Saturday at Butler # 19, their fifth Quadrant 1 win, along with quality wins over Creighton at home, in St. Johns and in the state of Oklahoma. Georgetown's worst loss was at home to UNC Greensboro, which is really not a bad defeat as the Southern Conference opponent has a NET rank of 54. Ewing's team is a total of 15-10 and only 5-7 in the Big East a game from sixth place in the mighty league.
The fewer players Ewing has, the better his team seems to be playing. Nobody expected this team to be in the game for the tournament after losing these four players. Losing McClung and Yurtseven should have been a death blow. Instead, it got this group going, thanks to Ewing and his team.
I've always felt that a real benchmark for a college basketball coach is how his team responds in tough times. And December 3rd is surely qualified. Shortly after Ewing announced that LeBlanc and Akinjo were no longer part of the program, reports of burglary and harassment allegations against LeBlanc, Alexander and Gardner were released, complaints from two students. Akinjo was not connected to the allegations. Georgetown won six games in a row. When McClung was injured, he recovered from 17 to take out St. Johns.
What happened to these players is at least partially the responsibility of Ewing. He recruited the players. It is his program that some of his critics have rightly pointed out.
It all depends on your point of view. This wasn't a breakthrough for Georgetown, as some predicted – the defects ruined it – but it wasn't a failure either.
Ewing and his players deserve recognition for turning a disaster into a year of wellbeing. Win a few more games, take part in the tournament for the first time in five years and we can call it an even better season.
Don't coll him Ryan
Everyone wants Collin Gillespie to be the next Ryan Arcidiacono. It makes sense because they look similar and have similar games. But Gillespie wouldn't do it justice. He's had a better year, at least statistically, than Arcidiacono has ever done, and he's just a junior.
Gillespie, one of the nation's best-developed players – the main reason why young Villanova leaves Seton Hall just one game behind in the losing column for leadership in the Big East – averages 15.6 points, 4.6 assists , 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and shoots 34.9 percent from the 3-point range.
Arcidiacono's best season was his senior year, shooting an average of 12.5 points, 4.2 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 39.4 percent from the depth. His team naturally won a national championship, setting up Kris Jenkins for the game-winning 3-pointer on the summer.
Villanova is unlikely to win a national title this year. However, thanks to Gillespie's development into a leader, playmaker and goal scorer, the Wildcats continue to fight for a championship. It is more than the second coming of Arcidiacono. It is even better.
"Rooster of the way
So far, St. Peter has done a home run with Shaheen Holloway, the former head coach and star player of Seton Hall. In only its second season, Holloway has the Peacocks all alone on the MAAC with a squad consisting primarily of underclassmen he has recruited. The last time St. Peter & # 39; s, who won seven of his last eight games, won the conference was 1986-87. It last went dancing in 2011. Both seem to be very possible this year.
Game of the week:
No. 3 Kansas in No. 1 Baylor, Saturday, 12 noon
Baylor overwhelmed Kansas on January 11th at the Allen Fieldhouse. Hit the Jayhawks again, and the bears have almost reached number 1 in the NCAA tournament. Neither team has lost since this showdown and created an electric atmosphere in Waco when the two Final Four competitors, who won a total of 32 games in a row, meet.
1: Baylor, Kansas, Gonzaga, State of San Diego
2: Maryland, Duke, Dayton, State of Florida
3: Penn State, West Virginia, Auburn, Louisville
4: Oregon, Seton Hall, Creighton, Villanova
Experience, balance and dexterity can go a long way in March – three traits that Creighton has. The Bluejays, who have won seven of their last eight games, came out on top four. They now have five Quadrant 1 road wins – highlighted by wins at Seton Hall and Villanova – and are within striking distance of their first Big East crown. You follow the pirates through a game with five remaining competitions, three of which are at home. This includes the regular season finale against Seton Hall, which could determine the league champion.
There is no better conference title race than the Ivy League. Five teams are in a game for first place with six games remaining. Yale and Princeton are 6-2 at the top of the league, followed by Brown, Harvard and Penn 5-3. Before he fell to Princeton, Brown had won five times in a row, and it is still possible for Princeton and Penn when visiting Harvard. The bears, which last danced in 1986 and were selected as fifth, are in a strong position to qualify for the four team playoffs. Yale, last year's champion, who has victories over Clemson and Vermont and brings Princeton and Penn to his gym. The two-day playoff at Harvard should last an exciting 48 hours.
In any other year this would have made no sense. A team like Louisville loses consecutive games against their best opponents Georgia Tech and Clemson. It's almost to be expected this year – the season was so unpredictable. The Cardinals won 10 times in a row, all alone on the ACC, and now looked up at Duke and faced a crisis of confidence. A lot went wrong for Louisville last week, but top of the list was star junior Jordan Nwora's game, who scored only seven total points in one of eleven shots, generating eight sales.
Seton Hall would not lead the Great East without Powell. Without him, it wouldn't be a top 10 team. He is the engine. He lets the pirates run. But the trend lines are hard to ignore. His starts have been shaky and his number of shots has decreased. He shoots only 25.6 percent from the depth of the Big East game, although Powell scores an average of 22.0 points per game. Just like he has played at home lately, as Seton Hall has three games left at the Prudential Center and has to win at least two of them to keep from breaking the crown of Big East's regular season. In his last three games in Newark, Powell has taken only 13 of 51 shots out of the field, averaging only 15 points per game. That has to change this week as the pirates house Butler and St. Johns, who have had to get back on their feet after successive defeats for the first time since mid-December.