Monday, October 6, 2008

2008-09 Opponent Breakdown: Georgetown University

The matchup was all set up. The Zags and the Hoyas were supposed to meet in the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament; and then Stephen Curry showed up. These two Jesuit universities were both stunned by Curry and the Wildcats of Davidson. The Zags were victimized in the first round and Georgetown was stunned in the second. Now there is a chance that these two teams might finally hook up in the Old Spice Classic. There is plenty of work before this could happen of course. Georgetown faces Wichita State in the first round and if they win, they would face the winner of Tennessee-Siena. Georgetown has the talent to get there so hopefully the stars align and this game happens because it would be one hell of a spectacle.

Last Season's Results: Georgetown, like Gonzaga, won their regular season conference title but did not win their conference tournament. The Hoyas were defeated in the Big East conference title game by the Pittsburgh Panthers. Georgetown still had an amazing year as they finished 28-6 overall and rolled through the best conference in the nation, going 15-3. Thankfully for the teams in the Old Spice Classic, the Hoyas will not be on their home floor. Georgetown went an amazing 16-0 in Washington D.C. a season ago. The Hoyas lost two non conference games all season; to Memphis in the season and Davidson in the tournament. They lost two games to Pitt and fell also to Syracuse and Louisville in Big East action. No one can debate the fact that the Big East is the best conference in the nation and for the Hoyas to excel the way they did last season was outstanding. Roy Hibbert, Jonathan Wallace, and DaJuan Summers led the Hoyas in scoring last season. The good news for opposing teams is that two of those guys are no longer enrolled at Georgetown.

New Faces: The bad news for the opposition is that coach John Thompson III and Georgetown are reloading and not rebuilding. Even though they graduated their two featured stars from a season ago in Jonathan Wallace and Roy Hibbert, the talent level remains very high. Greg Monroe, rated by many recruiting experts as the best recruit of 2008, joins the 2008-09 version of Georgetown. The 6'10'' forward/center who is built like a 27 year old man will take on a starting role for the Hoyas this season and should be one of the featured players in their offense. Monroe is a silky smooth athlete who happens to be a lefty (a personal favorite). He has an extremely high ceiling and is only going to improve. At 6'10'' he has the ability to grab double-digit boards but he also possesses the athleticism to guard the perimeter. Aside from that, all Georgetown really has is two other four star freshman that are expected to contribute right away. Do you see how they are reloading and not rebuilding?! Joining Monroe is the athletic combo guard Jason Clark and towering center Henry Sims. I'd expect Jason Clark to contribute right away; he is an extremely long guard and an outstanding athlete. Sims may need some time to develop being that he is 6'10'' but only 215 lbs. Another new face for the Hoyas is Julian Vaughn. Vaughn is a transfer from Florida State who received a waiver and will be able to play right away for Georgetown. He should be an impact player this season for the other GU.

Players to Watch: Georgetown will undoubtedly have some shoes to fill but it appears that their are a number of Hoyas who are poised to become stars. The two players that will have to lead this team are Jessie Sapp and DaJuan Summers. Summers (right), a 6'8'' junior, has all the tools for a blow up season. He is a very versatile forward who can shoot from the outside but also can back his defender down. This needs to be his year where he gets 16 a game and leads this team. Sapp is a player you love to have on your side. He will be the senior leader this season and will have to guide this relatively inexperienced team. Filling the shoes of Wallace and Hibbert are Chris Wright and the aforementioned Greg Monroe. Both are inexperienced. Monroe only has high school experience and Chris Wright is a sophomore who only played in 16 games last season due to a foot injury. They both ooze talent but filling in for Hibbert and Wallace is not going to be an overnight thing. The final starter for Georgetown is Austin Freeman. Freeman was a stud last year as a freshman and possesses an extremely high basketball IQ. He had the ninth best shooting percentage in the Big East and also hit well from beyond the arc.

TKR's Concern-O-Meter: The battle of the GU's would be a superb matchup and would be a great ending to what should be an outstanding tournament. The concern level in this game is high. The Hoyas are a young squad but with John Thompson III at the helm, they will be ready for the Zags. Make no mistake, there is no clear favorite in this game and Gonzaga can win. It would take a team effort however and the Bulldogs would have to use their experience and frustrate the young Hoya players. It's definitely a pick 'em type game and is also a clash of two very different styles of teams. Gonzaga will try and run you up and down the court while Georgetown prefers to play in the set offense. The key will be the pace of the game; whoever forces the other team to play at their speed will win.

What We are Watching for: Georgetown's front court is about as talented and athletic as it gets in the country. Yes, Greg Monroe is a freshman but he is not built like one and does not play like one. DaJuan Summers is ready for a breakout year at the power forward spot. This will be a tough test for the depleted Gonzaga front court. This should be around the time Rob Sacre starts to come back and they sure could use him. Heytvelt will have to take on the athletic Monroe and look for Micah Downs and Ira Brown to handle Summers. Brown can match his athleticism and Downs is arguably Gonzaga's best defender. Georgetown employs the three guard lineup with Wright, Sapp, and Freeman starting so look for three guards on the court for the Zags. The matchups in the back court will be very interesting as well. If Jeremy Pargo can rattle the inexperienced Chris Wright, it will be a long day for Georgetown. Look for Demetri Goodson and Pargo to be on the court at the same time quite a bit as the Hoya guards are very athletic. Freeman and Gray are both excellent outside shooters and they should both light it up in this game. The rotation for Gonzaga should be interesting. Pargo, Bouldin and Gray should start at the guard spots. The power forward spot will be the point of interest. Look for Daye to get the start but with Downs and Brown coming in if Summers starts getting hot.

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