The Georgetown Hoyas snagged a No. 2 seed in the South region for the 2013 NCAA tournament, and the prospective road to the Final Four in Atlanta doesn't seem unfathomable.
Keyed by the scoring prowess of sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. and a suffocating Hoyas defense, John Thompson III's squad has all the makings of a deep March Madness run. It's far from guaranteed, though.
Since a Final Four appearance in 2007, Georgetown has failed to advance past the round of 32 (h/t CBS DC). Given how much instability has existed atop college basketball this season, the co-Big East regular season champions will have to truly earn every victory.
Here is a full set of predictions as to how the Hoyas will fare in the Big Dance, and a breakdown of how they will match up with their projected opponents.
Round 2: vs. (15) Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
Two No. 2 seeds lost at this stage of the tournament last year alone, but the odds of a slip-up here by the Hoyas still aren't very high.
Since Florida Gulf Coast is content to grind out games defensively in a similar fashion as Georgetown, this could be a nail-biter. The Eagles are led by senior guard Sherwood Brown, who averages a team-high 15.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest.
Versatile forward Chase Fieler shoots a very efficient 56.5 percent from the field and has three-point range, while sophomore guard Bernard Thompson pours in 14 points of his own on average.
However, the fatal flaw for the Eagles is their penchant for turnovers, as they cough it up 15 times each game. That's difficult to overcome against anyone, particularly a team like the Hoyas.
Porter should be able to capitalize on his offensive talents, as should Markel Starks, to provide Georgetown with enough to get through. This game may be close for a half, but look for the Hoyas to pull away in the final 20 minutes.
Prediction: Georgetown 70, Florida Gulf Coast 53
Round of 32: vs. (7) San Diego State Aztecs
This has been the stage that has given the Hoyas the most trouble, but the Aztecs aren't exactly on fire. They are 6-6 in their last 12 contests, and should struggle to get by in the round of 64 against No. 10 seed Oklahoma.
All the Hoyas will have to do is neutralize San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin, who shockingly leads his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
Franklin has been forced to do it all, and he's simply not efficient enough to get it done against a stout defense like Georgetown. He only shoots 40.5 percent from the floor and takes too many three-pointers for someone who converts them at just a 27 percent clip.
Shutting down Franklin is easier said than done at times, but what helps is that the Hoyas don't have to worry much about other playmakers on the Aztecs, because they don't have a true distributing point guard.
The Mountain West conference is nothing to scoff at, and that helps explain San Diego State's struggles down the stretch. That doesn't mean it will translate into a strong showing against Georgetown, though.
There is not much reason to believe that an upset could happen here, as the Aztecs simply have no versatility on offense and aren't efficient enough at knocking down jumpers to keep up with the Hoyas.
Georgetown's size will bother the smaller Aztecs and result in a big victory.
Prediction: Georgetown 75, San Diego State 58
Sweet 16: vs. (3) Florida Gators
Unlike what has occurred in recent history, the Hoyas should advance past the first weekend of March Madness, but they won't be able to overcome Billy Donovan's Gators.
This will be a rematch of the regular season opener, which was cut short due to moisture on the outdoor court on the USS Bataan. When play stopped, Florida was leading 27-23 over the Hoyas at halftime. Since the two teams couldn't agree on a date, it was never finished.
Thanks to the magic of March, though, these two premier programs will square off once again, and actually complete a full 40 minutes—or perhaps more. A matchup of this magnitude is going to be an epic battle of defensive titans.
According to ESPN's RPI rankings, the Gators and Hoyas rank first and second respectively in terms of defensive quotient amongst teams in the tournament. The statistic essentially calculates the advantage a team has over their known opponents.
KenPom.com also notes that Florida gives up just 83.5 points per 100 possessions, while Georgetown allows only 84.3.
Considering the fact that their last showdown was on pace to be a 54-46 outcome in favor of Florida, it seems that a similar score isn't out of the realm of possibility.
The Gators are a superior shooting team and have more balanced scoring than the Hoyas' duo of Porter and sharpshooter Markel Starks.
Florida's front line should pose matchup problems, too. Patric Young is an imposing presence on the paint on both ends of the floor, and sweet-shooting 6'10" senior Erik Murphy can spread the floor extremely well and get the Georgetown defense out of position.
This should be a similar pace to the two teams' last encounter, and it will ultimately mark the end of the Hoyas' run.
Prediction: Florida 57, Georgetown 54
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