Thursday, February 16, 2006

DC a Capitol of College Hoops

Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated wrote a two-part series on college basketball in Washington, DC, visiting George Washington University, then Georgetown University.

Part 1-GW
Part 2-Georgetown

Since I live in the DC suburbs, I'm going to add to Winn's interesting stories with my own brief observations.

GW coach Karl Hobbs has built a very strong mid-major program. His team plays in what amounts to a large high-school gym that can squeeze in 5,000 people, and they are just starting to fill it on a regular basis. They picked the perfect time to have a breakout season since this could be the year of the mid-major. With power conferences like the Big 12, Pac 10, and SEC all down somewhat this year, the door is wide open for teams like GW to jump up in the polls and gain an unusually high seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Colonials' success will make Hobbs a hot coaching commodity sooner rather than later, and GW's ability to sustain their current level will likely depend on another coach when Hobbs moves on to a big-time school.

Georgetown under John Thompson III looks nothing like they did in the Patrick Ewing days when his father coached the Hoyas. Thompson the junior played and coached at Princeton and has implemented princples of the Princeton offense at Georgetown. Rather than relying on aggressive athleticism, and sometimes thuggery like his father's teams did, John III has a group of players that play a fluid offense and a solid defense that relys more on quickness than brute force.

Hoyas fans are beginning to remember the way to the MCI Center, their team's home-away-from-home and starting to give their team something resembling a home court advantage again. Unlike Hobbs, Thompson isn't likely to leave anytime soon, and the Hoyas are moving toward becoming a force in the "Enormous East" once again.

In my opinion, it is a darn shame that these two schools don't play each other. When the Hoyas' program was starting to emerge in the early 1980's, Coach Thompson the senior announced that Georgetown was a "national" program and did not have room on their schedule to play GW or Maryland, the only two local schools that could be competitive with them.

With new blood at both schools, it's time to change that. Just ask fans in Philadelphia how great their Big Five contests are. Seeing GW and Georgetown play again on a regular basis would be a step toward developing something like that in Washington and help make college basketball more relevant in a pro sports town.


At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Andrew from said...

Hear hear! Some GW fans are marching from GW to Georgetown tomorrow to try to increase interest in a game between the two schools.


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