But rather than discouraging the Hoyas, the past results have lit a fire under them, indicating just how difficult it is to get past that first weekend.
“We on a mission,” sophomore guard Jabril Trawick said. “We definitely thought we should have won the Big East but now we trying to make a deep run in the tournament, starting with Florida Gulf Coast. We got to handle business.”
Needless to say, they will not be taking this evening’s opponent—Florida Gulf Coast—lightly, despite their limited résumé. The Fort Myers school is entering just its second year of postseason eligibility and won the Atlantic Sun conference to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
They’re so small that their media contingent for the tournament featured just one beat reporter on Thursday: Naples Daily News’s Adam Fisher. “This is a huge deal for this school that didn’t exist 17 years ago,” Fisher told Vox.
The majority of Georgetown’s attention will be on senior forward Sherwood Brown, this season’s Atlantic Sun Player of the Year. In some respects, he is similar to Otto Porter Jr. with his do-everything style. But Brown, of course, is nowhere near the talent level of Georgetown’s Wooden Award candidate.
According to Fisher, the Eagles are balanced, with a number of players leading a balanced scoring attack. They do most of their damage in transition, as head coach Andy Enfield (married to a supermodel) throws a number of defensive sets at opponents to force steals.
“They don’t have a traditional big man in the middle,” Fisher said. “But they like to shoot the three and they love to run.”
Fisher conceded that if the teams get into a defensive struggle, it’s hard to see anything other than a Georgetown blowout victory. But even if they do play to the Eagles’ rapid pace, the Hoyas should be able to seal the game early on talent disparity alone.
Either way, the Hoyas have not looked past FGCU, though assistant coaches presumably have done early scouting work on Sunday’s opponent—San Diego State or Oklahoma—should they move on. While they are not a vaunted defensive unit, the Eagles can cause a great deal of confusion with their great variety of sets.
Said junior forward Nate Lubick, “Right away, coming down the court, we have to get into our offense and not take a bunch of time figuring what they’re doing.”
The teams tip off at 6:50 p.m. from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The game will be broadcast on TBS but be sure to follow along as Kevin Joseph and Keith Levinsky cover the action live on Twitter (@GUVoiceSports).
This year, the Hoyas believe in themselves and the resiliency they have showcased over the course of the year. Just like the past five seasons, they enter postseason play with a sour taste in their mouths from last season. Parlaying that feeling to the court is another matter entirely; that redemptive journey begins tonight.
File Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice (Mar. 9, 2013, vs. Syracuse)