NCAA countdown: No. 25 Georgetown
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first word: The preseason questions are starting to become redundant for Georgetown.
How do the Hoyas manage without their top two players? How do they recover after an early NCAA tournament exit to a double-digit seed?
Coach John Thompson III beat the odds last season, steering Georgetown to 25 wins and a regular-season Big East championship. Although it was a season marred by a disappointing finish — collapsing against No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast — the Hoyas regrouped nicely after losing the core of the roster.
The challenge is strikingly similar in 2013-14, as Georgetown lost Big East player of the year Otto Porter to the NBA’s Washington Wizards and also probably will be without Greg Whittington, who tore his ACL in June and could miss the entire season.
The Hoyas’ consistency serves as a double-edged sword. While Georgetown is a perennial top 10 team, weak finishes — five consecutive losses to double-digit seeds in the NCAAs — are overshadowing championships.
Nevertheless, the postseason judgment can wait. For the upcoming regular season, it’s difficult to ignore Georgetown’s top 25 merit. Second-leading scorer Markel Starks leads a group of returnees who will mix with the additions of UCLA transfer Josh Smith and freshman Reggie Cameron.
2012-13 in review: 25-7 overall (14-4 as Big East Conference regular-season champion), lost in second round of NCAA tournament to Florida Gulf Coast.
Tournament projection: At-large bid, No. 7 seed.
Coach’s corner: “I’m in this to win a national championship. We will get this figured out. We’ll make the changes we need to make. And we will hang another big banner on the wall at McDonough Arena. We will.” — Thompson said in March. The Georgetown coach enters his 10th season as head coach after averaging 23 wins in nine seasons.
Star watch: The backcourt duo of Starks (12.8 ppg, 3.0 apg) and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (8.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 39 three-point FGs) are the big returners for the Hoyas, along with veteran big men Nate Lubick (7.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Mikael Hopkins (5.9 ppg). All four played at least 20 minutes a … [For more on College basketball countdown: No. 25 Georgetown, click here.]