Along with our own college basketball preview, we're taking a deeper dive with several of the area's teams -- and with the help from some hoops-loving friends around town. Next up, Georgetown with the insightful and irreverent voice of Casual Hoya.com, Andrew Geiger.
1) Let’s put a bow on last season. Do you look back and think “Good times as co-Big East champions with the conference Player of the Year in Otto Porter "or “Are you kidding me with another early NCAA Tournament exit?”
Casual Hoya: I'm not in the habit of putting bows on much of anything, but I'll play along and give you a mixed bag answer and suggest it's a little of both. To outsiders of the Hoyas program just looking in at the early March exits, obviously the view is going to be that the season was a disaster, as any time a 2 seed loses to a 15 seed it makes it difficult for the fanbase of said 2 seed to wake up in the morning. (Or, as it were, every morning since that day).
However, the reality is that last season was one of the more enjoyable seasons as a Georgetown fan in recent memory. A squad that had lost Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson and Jason Clark and was expected to be a middling Big East team with expectations of just making the Dance, rattled off a double-digit winning streak in Conference play, was co-Big East champ, Otto Porter developed into a lottery pick and the Hoyas whipped Syracuse at Verizon Center just weeks after closing the damn Carrier Dome, both in front of national television audiences en route to a 2-seed.
2) With most of last season’s team back, where are we on the expectations scale?
Casual Hoya: The NCAA granting Josh Smith's waiver and permitting him to play immediately has caused the collective Delusion Meter of the fanbase to soar through the roof. Suddenly we went from looking at struggling through an extremely difficult non-conference schedule and having to work Smith into the rotation as Big East play began to now having the big fella at the 5-spot in game one against Oregon. Smith's presence in the middle will result in more open looks on the perimeter for Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. It also permits Mikael Hopkins to slide into his more natural 4 position where he can give Georgetown a plus matchup advantage against opponents rather than what would have been the other way around with him gobbling up minutes at center. I'm excited, maybe a bit too excited for this season. With Smith ready to roll I think the Hoyas are an instant Top 25 team and contender for the Big East title, which frankly puts us right back where we always are - another high seed entering March. Yikes.
3) Player you’re looking to step up most this season?
Casual Hoya: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera needs to make a leap to take on a lot of the scoring void left by Porter- but this is Markel Starks' team. As one of two seniors (the other being Nate Lubick), Starks is going to need to mature into the steady floor general that Georgetown hasn't had since Jonathan Wallace. On paper, the backcourt of DSR and Starks could be one of the best in the country, and Starks needs to play smart to stay on the floor as much as possible since the Hoyas lack a quality backup at the point guard position. Since I like you so much I'm going to give you another answer here, and that is Mikael Hopkins. Hopkins was much-maligned by Hoyas fans last season as he struggled at the center spot. With Smith now in play, how many other teams can bring in a highly-skilled big off the bench who can play center and power forward? If Hopkins can develop into a dependable sixth man, Georgetown's frontcourt of Smith, Lubick, Hopkins, and Moses Ayegba is going to devour a ton of rebounds this season and really open things up for the perimeter players such as DSR, Starks, Jabril Trawick, sophomore Stephen Domingo and freshman sniper Reggie Cameron.
4) Are you feeling the retooled Big East or will it take time for the juices to get flowing?
Casual Hoya: Admittedly it's tough for me to get really excited about an afternoon affair in Omaha against Creighton right now, but as the competitive juices get flowing on the court, natural rivalries will develop among the fan bases off it. Since we all know it's the blogs like Casual Hoya that drive TV ratings, we'll see what happens as a result and hopefully the retooled conference isn't going to miss the not so dearly departed that left the best basketball conference in the world for greener pastures and crappy football.
5) You get to be schedule maker. Pick one Georgetown opponent for perpetuity and show your work: Syracuse or Maryland?
Casual Hoya: This is like asking me whether I prefer to clean up a #1 or a #2 from my dog. My initial reaction is to go with Syracuse (#2 in the above analogy) since nothing quite gets the blood of the Hoya fan base boiling like a rumble with the criminals to the North. Maryland needs to become nationally relevant again before a game against the Twerps to have any meaning outside the DMV, and much to the chagrin of that fanbase that just hasn't happened quite yet under Turgeon's guidance (or lack thereof).
*Five questions on George Mason