Can a battle-tested Big East team really be a sleeper? Can an experienced team ranked in the top 25 most of the year really be flying under the radar? Can a team having lost its last four games really be expected to turn it around in time to advance deep into the tournament?
Absolutely. Mark it down: The Georgetown Hoyas have what it takes to make a run to the Final Four.
A few weeks prior, Georgetown was one of the hottest teams in the country. On its way to eight straight Big East league triumphs (which, given the depth and caliber of the league, is quite impressive), the Hoyas racked up quality wins against Syracuse and Villanova on the road and St. John's and Louisville back home.
As the victories mounted, Georgetown steadily climbed the rankings, breaking into the top 10 and closing in on the upper echelon of the vaunted Big East standings.
Hoya Paranoia was in full swing until disaster struck. At a game a few weeks back against Cincinnati, senior point guard Chris Wright broke his left hand, sidelining him for the remainder of the regular season.
Without their distributor and the heart and sole of the offense, the Hoyas tumbled from the rankings, with the worst of their losses culminating in a blowout defeat at the hands of Connecticut in the first round of the Big East tournament.
Will Georgetown advance past the Sweet 16?
The slide left Georgetown in near obscurity. After falling out of the AP top 25 for the first time all season, the Hoyas faced the indignity of receiving a No. 6 seed for the tournament. The disrespect was palpable. After all, 10 Big East wins and a 5-2 record against other top 25 teams with a healthy Chris Wright is not to be sneezed at.
Nevertheless, Georgetown received no love or sympathy from the selection committee. After seeing its schedule, however, none of that should matter, as Chris Wright is ready and raring to go and Georgetown has a favorable road ahead.
Of course, Georgetown Coach John Thompson III would warn against the perils of looking ahead, but hey, its the NCAA tournament. Everyone does it.
Expected to beat nearby Virginia Commonwealth in the first round, Georgetown would then likely draw Purdue, a tough team, yet one who has not seen the likes of the guard play of Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Jason Clark.
Should Georgetown upset Purdue, a familiar opponent in Notre Dame awaits. While the Hoyas lost their previous meeting to the Irish at Notre Dame, such is the parity and strength of the Big East that any team can knock off any other team on any given night.
With Chris Wright back in the mix the Hoyas have a talented veteran squad ready to follow him and finish their careers on a high note. Expect Georgetown to do just that.