March Madness returns: breaking down the road to New Orleans
Cheers erupt here at Georgetown with Michigan announced as No. 4 seed in midwest, bigger cheers that #Hoyas won’t play Ohio.
— Craig Stouffer (@CraigStouffer) March 11, 2012
It took until the final two pairings, but Georgetown eventually received its NCAA tournament seeding last night. The Hoyas, managing to hang on to a 3-seed despite bowing out to Cincinnati early in the Big East Tournament, will travel to Columbus to take on 14-seed Belmont on Friday.
“It was nerve-wracking the whole time, waiting on your name to be called,” senior guard Jason Clark said. “All you want is to find out where you’re playing, who you’re playing, when you’re playing.”
Now that the Hoyas know their opponent, they’ll waste no time preparing for the Atlantic Sun champions. In fact, as soon as the Selection Show special at Leo’s was over, head coach John Thompson III retreated to McDonough to begin reviewing film with his assistants. But while the team is squarely focused on their first-round matchup, the release of the bracket is occasion for fans to start dreaming. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at Georgetown’s potential draw and determined what bodes well and what doesn’t.
First off are the Belmont Bears. We’ll have a more comprehensive breakdown of the Bears later in the week, but they’re about as dangerous as a 14-seed gets. They’re a sharpshooting team that is fourth in the nation in scoring offense, and they’re hot too—Belmont enters the tournament on a 14-game winning streak. The bright side of drawing Belmont? If you’re superstitious, the Bears just happen to be the first team Georgetown beat en route to the Final Four in 2007. Of course, that doesn’t mean much to the people who will be playing on Friday.
“We are a different team, they are a different team,” Thompson said. “I’m not going to look at tapes of their 2007 team and they’re not going to look at our 2007 team.”
If the Hoyas win their first NCAA Tournament game since 2008, they’ll face the winner of San Diego State and North Carolina State on Sunday. It’s pretty much a toss-up which one Georgetown would be more likely to face (Vegas has NC State favored by one), but either way it should be a winnable game for the Hoyas, albeit not an easy one.
It’s foolish trying to predict what will happen after that, but we’ll forge ahead anyway. Moving on to the Sweet 16 in St. Louis, Georgetown would in all likelihood get another shot at Kansas, who the Hoyas almost upset in Maui this past November. As for the Elite 8, if you think seeing Belmont in the first round again is a good sign, you’ll love the potential for another contest with top seed North Carolina, which the 2007 Hoyas beat in an overtime thriller to reach the Final Four. And if you want to ride the Casual Hoya Delusion Train all the way to New Orleans, Georgetown either gets to avenge its February overtime loss to Syracuse or settle the score from 2007 with Ohio State, depending on your particular revenge fantasy. We won’t even bother talking about the national championship, which will presumably be against VCU.
All in all, it’s not a bad draw for the Hoyas. Belmont might be the most formidable 14-seed, but if Georgetown’s going to make any kind of run, it has to be able to beat teams of the Bears’ caliber. After that, the Midwest region is pretty favorable for its 3-seed (it’s certainly better than the gauntlet Baylor faces in the South region). But for now, it’s time to take a page from JTIII’s book and start focusing on Belmont. If the past few years have taught Hoya fans anything, it’s that there’s no use in looking ahead.