Talking Hoyas, NCAA tournament with Joe Lunardi

Talking Hoyas, NCAA tournament with Joe Lunardi
February 21, 2012, 10:23 pm
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This is the week to start formally breaking down the brackets, start gauging how the locals fit into the NCAA Tournament field of 68. College basketball analyst and noted bracketologist Joe Lunardi, in town last weekend for Saturdays George Washington-St. Josephs radio broadcast, let me chat him up a few a minutes regarding the potential NCAA Tournament possibilities for Georgetown, Virginia, George Mason and the CAA. I also looked up a bunch of numbers and team schedules. Here is what I learned, starting with the HoyasGeorgetown: 20-5, 10-4 (Big East), RPI (5), Strength of Schedule (3), Rank (9), Streak (W1, W9 of 10)Notable wins:Seven against teams in the RPI top-50, including Marquette, two over Memphis plus road winsagainst Louisville and AlabamaBad (RPI) losses: None; all inside top RPI 100Notable upcoming games: at Seton Hall, Notre Dame, at MarquetteNo matter how many wins the Hoyas rack up, even in a conference Lunardi projects will send a nation-high nine teams to the NCAA Tournament, I remain uncertain about the Hoyas potential upside. And to answer your question, it has nothing (or next to nothing) to do with the program lacking a single NCAA win since the 2007-08 season. All those lengthy options, the season-long proficiency on the defensive end, the trio of upperclassman with potent freshman filing in the gaps. Whats not to like? Lunardi and Sports Illustrateds Seth Davis will tell you.Let us start with the schedule. In explaining why he dropped the Hoyas from 11 to 13 on his ballot for this weeks AP top 25 poll despite a 2-0 week, Davis noted The Hoyas' record doesn't look quite as impressive upon closer inspection, before ticking off the results.They beat Louisville and Marquette at the start of their Big East schedule, but here are their wins since then: at St. John's, at DePaul, Rutgers, UConn, South Florida, St. John's, at Providence. Meanwhile, their losses were: at West Virginia, Cincinnati, at Pitt, at Syracuse."In other words since Jan. 4 the Hoyas are 1-3 against teams projected into the field of 68 and that victory came against a reeling Connecticut team. Three chances to change that record are upcoming starting Tuesday at Seton Hall followed by games next week against Notre Dame and at Marquette.Lunardi is also not ready to go all in on the Hoyas. Without benefit of seeing the tournament bracket, he sees the Hoyas as no better than a 50-50 bet to reach the round of 16. If I had to bet, I think they look like a team that would win one and lose one and not make it the round of 16," Lunardi said.Lunardi, who has the Hoyas in as a No,. 3 seed in his just released bracket,acknowledges a favorable draw changes the equation. After covering this team all season, I've been stating how more than anything (outside the truly obvious like health) matchups will dictate the Hoyas future. Georgetown isbetter served facing teams that look to play up-tempo, an open-court game (think Louisville, Memphis, UConn) instead of slogging it out with those who want to limit possessions (think West Virginia, Cincinnati).Asked if theearly exitpotential applied to all but the truly elite teams, Lunardi stated he felt teams with similar profiles to Georgetown like Marquette, Michigan and UNLV have a better chance at winning at least two games. The edge for those teams over the Hoyas? They have a go-to answer in a tight game according to Lunardi, while the Hoyas diverse attack has yet to shake out an obvious crunch time scorer, a component that looms large in one-and-done scenarios.Regarding seeding, I tossed Lunardi this hypothetical: The Hoyas have four games left in the regular season including two against NCAA-bound squads Notre Dame and at Marquette. Say they win those games or go no less than 3-1 in the regular season and then run the table in the Big East Tournament. At that point would the Hoyas resume justify a No. 1 seed?It would be a pretty strong resume at that point, but compared to Kentucky, whoever wins the Big 12, wins the Big 10my sense isGeorgetown would be a No. 2 seed, Lunardi said.If that hypotheticalbecame reality and the Hoyas pull off such a winning stretch, they likely would lose many doubters along the way.