Why All Eyes Should Be on the Hoyas

Will they make it past the opening weekend of this year’s NCAA tournament?

By: Jack Kogod

Can JT3’s team make it to the Final Four? Photograph by Melissa Golden.

Once the NFL calendar year begins tomorrow, the Redskins can lay claim to another in their long line of offseason championships. All that stands between the team and the rights to their new franchise quarterback is the league’s official stamp of approval. Once that’s done, the Robert Griffin III hysteria can begin in earnest. Until then, Washington’s attention should belong to Georgetown men’s basketball.

The Hoyas, who had to sweat it out until the final moments of the selection show until they were revealed as the three seed in the Midwest region, are the area’s lone representative in this year’s men’s NCAA Tournament (the women’s field should include a bit more DMV flavor, with the Lady Hoyas expected to join the ACC champion Lady Terrapins when it’s announced later tonight). If John Thompson III’s team is going to make it to the Final Four like they did back in 2007, they’ll need to get things started in similar fashion.

Much like that storied ’07 run, this year will start with a matchup against the 14th-seeded Belmont Bruins on Friday afternoon at 3:15 on Tru TV (or streaming online if you’re stuck at work). This time around, Belmont is going to be a popular upset pick in office pools for multiple reasons. For starters, the Hoyas have been huge postseason disappointments in recent years, having failed to advance past the tournament’s opening weekend since that Final Four season.

As for those Bruins, they’re looking for their first NCAA Tournament win after suffering four defeats over the course of the past seven years. This year’s team, led by a group of upperclassmen, ranks fourth in scoring out of 345 Division I teams. They possess a balanced attack, with seven players contributing at least five points per game.

By the time the selection show wrapped up, Georgetown was installed as a 6.5-point favorite in Vegas. In a matter of hours that line plummeted by three points, emphasizing how the public feels about this first-round matchup. All that said, Georgetown has the ability to dominate on the defensive end, so they should be your pick here.

Assuming the Hoyas can avoid the upset, they’ll take on either San Diego State or NC State in the second round. From there, things get a lot tougher. Another trip to the Final Four will likely require wins over traditional powers Kansas and North Carolina. But much like our expectations for RG3, we’re probably getting ahead of ourselves.