I am sure that Louisville is looking forward to its showdown with Kentucky on Saturday. Too bad it couldn't go into Rupp Arena undefeated.
Sorry to spoil your homecoming Rick Pitino, but Georgetown had something to prove themselves. Unlike previous teams that raced out to fast starts before imploding down the stretch, these Hoyas are hungry, continuously improving and far from satisfied with their early success.
More importantly, the mix of veterans and new recruits provides something that John Thompson III hasn't had during his tenure on the hilltop: versatility and depth.
This year's young Hoyas squad was supposed to be raw, unproven and at least a year away from being competitive. Instead, they are already proving that they are John Thompson's best team since the Hoyas Final Four team of 06/07. This year's team might even be better.
This year's Hoyas have all the ingredients to be very special. Senior guard Jason Clark and star forward Hollis Thompson provide veteran leadership and scoring. Markel Starks proved last night just how much he's grown into his role of a savvy floor general, scoring 20 points and directing the offense. Although he was far from his best against the Cardinals, Henry Sims' transformation from a mere afterthought to an adept big player, gives the Hoyas a force down low. Otto Porter, Greg Whittington and Jabril Trawick give the Hoyas as deep and tenacious a bench as any team in the Big East.
Even Nate Lubick, who has yet to match expectations, provides the Hoyas with a toughness and energy that Georgetown teams of late have lacked.
What's so infectious about watching these Hoyas and why they won't fade like in years past, is the perseverance, determination and passion they display each and every time out.
The incoming freshman class of Otto Porter, Greg Whittington, Jabril Trawick, Mikael Hopkins and Ty Adams (who is currently sidelined with a medical ailment) not only add depth and flexibility as to how they can match up with other teams, they have also injected an incredible enthusiasm and hunger that has been sorely needed.
The last few years Georgetown's squads have seemed a bit entitled and complacent. With guys like Greg Monroe, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright, they expected to be good and expected to win. Instead, whenever they hit a rough patch or struggled late in a game, they folded. Each season Georgetown was ranked highly before their inevitable fade. They had no resiliency and no plan B when things weren't going their way.
This year's team is different. Perhaps it was the slight in being picked to finish 10th in the Big East. Perhaps the freshmen are better than advertised. Whatever it is, the Hoyas have so far played far beyond expectations. They've beaten Memphis on a neutral court and gone on the road to beat both Alabama and Louisville (no easy task). Down early against the Cardinals, the Hoyas fought back. Up big in the second half, Georgetown staved off a furious Louisville rally. Neither time did they panic. They just kept playing.
There are no egos, just guys wanting to get on the court. They play with a fire in games but also in practice. You could see the new attitude in summer ball at the Kenner League. Freshmen like Jabril Trawick were getting in the face of the experienced vets, who in turn were encouraging the chippy and aggressive play.
With Thompson, Clark and Sims leading the way, the freshmen have grown up quickly and in turn have pushed the vets to improve their own games as well. The result is a supremely confident, deep and dangerous team that is skyrocketing up the rankings and poised to challenge for a Big East title.