We Are Georgetown and You Aren’t: Pittsburgh Preview
This year, Vox is taking a page from Deadspin and New York’s books and giving you a guide for rooting against each of the Hoyas’ Big East opponents. In preparation for tonight’s game against Pittsburgh, here are three reasons to hate the Panthers:
One of the most common talking points basketball analysts fall back on when talking about John Thompson III’s Georgetown teams is that they play slow. Supposedly, JTIII’s modified Princeton offense produces a deliberate (read: slow and boring) style of play.
I have heard Thompson challenge that assertion numerous times, claiming that his team can and will run with anyone. He has a point—just look to last Sunday’s game against Villanova to see the Hoyas running and (almost) keeping pace with one of the nation’s fastest teams—but Georgetown is, on average, a slower-paced team.
College basketball’s number crunchers rank Georgetown’s tempo 233rd out of 347 Division I teams. But that’s not much worse than average. The Hoyas can certainly play “exciting” basketball, especially when matched up with an uptempo opponent. Unfortunately Pitt (318th) is one of the slowest teams in the country. So if tomorrow night’s game is a grind, for once don’t blame the Princeton offense. It’s the Panthers who are slowing it down.
If anyone had to pick a Big East team to be undefeated three weeks into the conference season, no one would have picked Pitt. The Panthers were picked to finish ninth in the conference after losing pretty much every major piece from last season’s juggernaut, and has already progressed through a three game gauntlet of Syracuse, Cincinnati, and UConn, all on the road.
Pitt is one of the conference’s youngest and most inexperienced teams—there’s no way they should be this good. But some combination of Jamie Dixon’s coaching and practicing against DeJuan Blair and Co. every day in practice last year has produced a squad of overachievers. Thankfully, there’s nothing easier to hate than overachievers, and the properly-achieving Hoyas can show the upstart Panthers their place Wednesday night.
Those are Hoya Hoop Club blogger Leslie Tyburski’s words, not mine, but before I came across her fellow hate-mongering I had a similar thought.
I certainly wouldn’t go as far as to say the Panthers are the Hoyas’ superlative Big East rival—to eclipse Syracuse, Jamie Dixon would have to strangle Jack the Bulldog. But in the JTIII-era, Pitt has been one of Georgetown’s most consistent foes. Back-to-back Big East Tournament final match-ups certainly attest to that. The Panthers have gotten the best of the Hoyas in their past three meetings, so if this really is a competitive rivalry, it’s time for Georgetown to get some payback.