It's the NIT ladies, feel the excitement! In preparation for tomorrow's matchup with Georgetown, we sat down with Andrew Geiger from Casual Hoya. You can find mine and Matt's answers to his questions over there.
1) From a neutral perspective, it seems Georgetown is way too talented for the NIT. Is that an accurate assessment? Was this a disappointing season or were the preseason expectations to be on the bubble?
If the Hoyas had the lineup that JT3 expected heading into this season with Josh Smith and Greg Whittington to go along with the backcourt of Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, I think we'd be looking at a possible 3 seed or higher in the Dance. When Smith (academic suspension) and Whittington (torn ACL, dismissed from team) were sidelined, the team really became the Starks and Smith-Rivera show, which took them as far as it could. Making the Dance would have been a great accomplishment, and even being in the Bubble conversation in the final week of the season is probably the most we could have hoped for.
2) At FSU, basketball is really popular. It's right behind football, spring football, baseball, track and field, and indoor track and field. Where is hoops on the Georgetown pecking order?
At Georgetown it's Basketball or Bust, and though it's nice that football provides something to do on a casual Saturday on campus, I don't think I'm too far off in suggesting no one really gets that worked up about the outcome of the games. Soccer has become bigger of late as the Hoyas were in the Final Four a couple years ago. Lacrosse is up there, too, and I guess the track & field is decent but whatever, it's all about the hoops. Note that I'd put all of those sports underneath 'Basketball', "Getting Hammered" and "Having Lame Conversations about Politics" in a Georgetown pecking order of things that students care about.
3) Buzz Williams just took a pay cut to land what is arguably the ACC's worst job (for reference of how much VT is on top of hoops, their first picture of Buzz on the staff page was actually of Scott Monarch). Is this something the Big East needs to be concerned about, or is Buzz Williams just weird?
I think it's too early to tell and Buzz is a weird dude, but I am concerned that he'd leave a higher paying gig at a Big East school with a chance to Dance each year for Virginia Tech, which is going to struggle to be in bubble conversation on an annual basis. The reality is that the future of the Big East may well indeed be a conference that is a glorified mid-major (like a better A-10) that will send 3-4 teams to the Dance each season, and frankly that's just fine by me so long as Georgetown is in contention for the title each season. I think there were other factors at Marquette though that cloud the picture, including the lack of an AD, school president, etc which made his decision to bounce easier.
4) Josh Smith? What happened, and how much of an affect did it have on the season?
In his first game as a Hoya against Oregon, Smith dropped 25 points and we all started looking at airfare to Dallas for the Final Four. In the next few games he was inconsistent, often showing a complete inability to play defense and not displaying the kind of emotion and fire that we would have liked to see. Then the academic suspension happened which really sucked since Smith was (and still is) Georgetown's only threat in the post. Without Smith, Georgetown has become even more reliant on the backcourt, which in turn made it easier for defenses to scheme against us. So, in short, Smith ruined the damn season, and thanks for bringing it up.
5) Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith Rivera are pretty solid players. What should FSU fans know about this duo?
Stop them and you win, plain and simple. Starks was 1st team All-Big East and has been our engine all season. DSR (2nd team All-Big East) is a pure scorer who plays bigger than his size and can beat you from the perimeter as well as in the paint.
6) John Thompson III has been there long enough that fans should have decided how they feel about the guy by now. How would you describe his reputation among regular fans?
I guess that depends on how you define "regular." I mean, I go twice a day and think JT3 should be the coach at Georgetown for as long as he wants. It's easy, as the vocal minority does, to suggest that the school should begin to look at other candidates for the position primarily based on the recent spate of postseason failures, but the reality is that Thompson has turned the program around and we're in a better place with him at the helm. We have a great recruiting class coming in next season so we'll see what happens over the course of the next few years.
7) What's your prediction for the game, and most importantly, after spending several days in Tallahassee in sundress weather, do you expect all your players to get back on the plane?
FSU isn't the type of team to blow anyone out, so I expect the Hoyas to stick around in this one. If Starks and DSR play the way they did against West Virginia last week, I fully think the Hoyas can win this one, say 64-61, and move on to play Louisiana Tech. Regarding the sundress weather, the team has been in Tallahassee all weekend so hopefully they've gotten their fill of the casual sights running around. There's quite a difference between Tallahassee and Shreveport.