Big East Tournament 2012: Georgetown Is a Dangerous Sleeper to Win

David DietzContributor IIIMarch 6, 2012

ROSEMONT, IL - JANUARY 17:  Head coach John Thompson III of the Georgetown Hoyas gives instructions to players including Henry Sims #14 and Otto Porter #22 during a game against the DePaul Blue Demons at Allstate Arena on January 17, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. Georgetown defeated DePaul 83-75.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At 30-1, Syracuse is undeniably the best team in the conference and is the clear favorite to win the Big East tournament.

Yet as history has proven, rarely does the championship unfold according to plan. Whether it's the depth of the conference, the energy of playing under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden or the magic of March, upsets and surprise runs are inevitable.

In the past decade, only twice has the No. 1 seed entered New York and left with the trophy, having been able to survive what is perhaps Championship Week's most grueling gauntlet of games.

This year is no different. Four teams are nationally ranked, and six enter with 20 or more wins on the season. One team, however, rises above the rest, capable of challenging Syracuse and picking up the mantle should the Orange fall.

Outside of Syracuse, Georgetown is perhaps the most complete and dangerous squad in the tournament and a team that has all the pieces to start their March campaign on a strong note in New York City.

The Hoyas are long, athletic and versatile. The Hoyas have the size to play big, or they can run with smaller lineups. They are balanced offensively with three players scoring nine points per game or more and play tenacious defense, having held 16 teams below 60 points. 

In Jason Clark, they have strong guard play and leadership. In Hollis Thompson, they have a deft shooting touch on the wing, and with Henry Sims, they have a quality big man in the middle. Add Greg Whittington, Jabril Trawick and Otto Porter coming off the bench, and Georgetown is perhaps the most well-rounded and deepest team in the league. 

No one paid much attention to this year's Hoya team at the beginning of the season, but after an impressive 12-6 Big East record (22-7 overall), they are on everyone's radar now.

For a team that relies on four freshman and two sophomores for major minutes, Georgetown has shown remarkable poise and maturity posting wins over five Top 25 teams and was the only school to push Syracuse to extra minutes in an overtime loss at the Carrier Dome.

Perhaps most importantly for a young team, Coach John Thompson III revels playing on the big stage of Big East Tournament, having led Georgetown to three finals appearances since 2007, the most of any program in the league during that time.

Look for Georgetown to have another strong showing in the Big Apple to help solidify themselves as a serious contender in the NCAA tournament.