It's been said time and time again this season that the Big East is the deepest conference in college hoops. This means that there are a ton a great teams, every conference game is going to be a knock-out battle, and plenty of teams are worthy of walking away with the Big East title.
Unfortunately, there can be only one.
The Hoyas stand a great chance of threepeating the regular season Big East title this season. Coach John Thompson III has put together a great team capable of stunning the nation (just look at the UConn game) but they do not have experience on their side (look at the Pitt game).
There's a lot more to the team then just an adjective, though. Here are the key components:
Greg Monroe (Freshman, Center)
13.2 PPG, 2.5 APG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 SPG—Monroe gained national attention when he stepped up against Connecticut and shut down Hasheem Thabeet at the same time. The freshman phenom leads the Hoyas in steals, blocks, and rebounds per game, and is second on the points list.
DaJuan Summers (Junior, Forward)
14.7 PPG, 1.2 APG, 4.2 RPG, 1.3 SPG—The Hoyas' leading scorer, Summers is crucial to the offense and was the only Georgetown player selected to the preseason All-Big East team. He has the ability to shoot outside as well as make some eye-popping dunks over defenders.
Chris Wright (Sophomore, Guard)
13.0 PPG, 3.8 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG—After sitting out all of conference play last season with a foot injury, Wright is in the midst of his first full season and is now running the show at point guard. He is incredibly quick, and his points per game would be much higher if he could hit his free throws a little better (he is shooting almost 70 percent, though).
Jessie Sapp (Senior, Guard)
7.9 PPG, 2.0 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG—The only senior on the starting squad, Sapp is deadly accurate and is great under pressure. His stats have changed a little bit from last season: his minutes and steals are up, while his points, assists, and turnovers are down. Hopefully he finds his groove soon and can improve his shooting to where it was last year.
Austin Freeman (Sophomore, Guard)
12.9 PPG, 2.2 APG, 4.9 RPG, 0.9 SPG—The other sophomore on the squad, Freeman started last season and has improved in almost every category. Freeman is built like a truck, so while he stands at only 6'4", he makes his presence known down low, while also crushing teams from beyond the arc.
There is more to winning the Big East individual players, though. Many other factors, some within the control of the team and others outside, also contribute to the success. The following are things that will allow the Hoyas to win the Big East this season:
The Hoyas have held opponents to low-thirty percent from the floor for two seasons now. When they play steady defense and can slow opponents down, they are almost unbeatable.
Georgetown's offense is based on patience—they pass the ball around the outside, trying to find holes in the defense and an open shot. In doing so, the theory is that their shot percentage will be much better because of better looks at the basket.
Slow The Game Down
This goes hand-in-hand with patience and stellar defense, but when both sides come together, the Hoyas slow the game down and can play at their pace. They get better looks at the basket while forcing their opponents into bad shots.
One of the things that you cannot change in the midst of a season is your schedule. The Hoyas have both a great and a very tough schedule (welcome to the Big East, right?). They have already faced Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame, and while they were standing 1-2 after those games, these are the only times that they face each-other. This means that they have the rest of the season to play the rest of the Big East and try and climb out of the hole they've put themselves in.
Every team will make mistakes along the way. It is important, though, to minimize these mistakes in order to be successful. The Hoyas have a few key things to hone in on:
In games where the Hoyas have struggled, turnovers have been a huge issue. They should not have had problems against Providence, yet 18 turnovers made it a much closer game then it should have been. Against Tennessee the Hoyas turned the ball over 20 times in a losing effort. Cutting down turnovers, especially those that seem to also come a crucial moments, is necessary for the Hoyas to be competitive in the Big East.
While passing the ball around leads to better shots, this is no guarantee that they will go in. The Hoyas seem to forget this sometimes and clear out from under the basket before the shot is made. Case in point: the Pittsburgh game. Georgetown had 17 rebounds, DeJuan Blair of Pittsburgh had 17 rebounds (Pitt totaled 43).
The Hoyas seem to try and match threes against teams instead of playing the game at their own pace. When they do that (see the Memphis game), their stats are down and they look terrible.
Avoiding Foul Trouble
The Hoyas do not have a deep bench this year, so when they get into foul trouble, they struggle. There have been a few key games when Summers or Monroe have been in trouble and it has hurt the Hoyas.
The Georgetown Hoyas have a very talanted team and a lot of potential. If they can work on these few shortcomings while keeping up with what they do very well, they will win the Big East.