St. John's. Georgetown. 100th meeting. The two Big East stalwarts meet in DC on Saturday afternoon, which means it's a great time to renew acquaintainces with our dear friends at Casuyal Hoya. I answered some questions for them as well, so casually saunter over there and say something witty to our Georgetown buddies.
Q// So, in summary - how are the post Otto Porter Georgetown Hoyas? Is their 9-3 record about where Hoya fans would have imagined the team at this point in the year?
Pretty good! Pretty pretty pretty good! Except if you asked any Hoyas fan, despite the 9-3 record the sky is falling and doom is imminent. 9-3 isn't a bad record given Georgetown's rough and tumble non-conference schedule, but the Hoyas dropped the two bigger games on the schedule against Oregon and Kansas and were humiliated by Northeastern, a team so bad that I feel like throwing this laptop through a window as I type this.
So bottom line, I think 10-2 is where most Hoya fans hoped we'd be so 9-3 isn't bad, but it's just that the Hoyas haven't looked particularly good at all so 9-3 feels like 3-9.
Q// The narrative around Joshua Smith has been that he's a talented scamp who just isn't into pilates and will never fit into lululemon clothing. Is this true? Have his issues with conditioning been a problem? And how has he reshaped the Hoya front line/ rotation?
Can we talk about lululemon fist? I mean, has any brand of women's clothing been so awesome for dudes like lululemon has? I don't think so. Regarding Smith, he started really well but has faded of late, and is now like a big space eater who can make layups when he gets the ball low in the post but can't do much of anything else.
Like at all.
Smith played just a handful of minutes in the 2nd half against DePaul and I'm not sure what his role will be from here on out. My guess is that he'll continue to start but if he isn't productive JT3 will yank his ass in favor of some combo of Moses Ayegba and Mikael Hopkins, who are better defensively and more athletic, traits that JT3 likes in a big man.
Q// Is Markel Starks actually a super hero? Every time I see him play, he's taking - and making - well-defended shots. If St. John's finds his Kryptonite (or captures his Gwen Stacy, or disables his connection to the Intersect), can the Hoyas still thrive?
He's not as much of a superhero as he is a shark in a tornado.
I had to google 'Gwen Stacy' and 'intersect' because I am not a huge nerd, but to your point yes, Markel Starks has been tremendous for Georgetown and our fate lies in his hands and his hands completely. Starks is the engine of this Hoyas team and if he is struggling, the team will sputter.
Q// What's up with the defense? They Hoyas foul a LOT and JT-III has taken to using full court presses against the likes of DePaul. Are Hoya fans worried?
This new pansy version of the NCAA where the refs call fouls on everything has hurt teams that play aggressive defenses. The Georgetown-VCU game, for example had 1000 fouls called and took 5 hours to play. Georgetown will need to adjust to the whistle-happy refs as the season progresses.
The full-court press is something we've seen in small doses in the past, and when Georgetown has a guy with good length out there like Aaron Bowen, the press can be quite effective in disrupting the flow of an opponent's offense and creating easy baskets off turnovers. Look, we'll take whatever we can get at this point, OK?
Q// What will it take to con the Hoyas into playing man-to-man defense? And how good is that defense? Asking for a friend.
I thought the Hoyas would come out and play zone, zone and more zone against Kansas, but that didn't happen as JT3 mixed up the defenses between a man to man and matchup zone. So even though the Johnnies can't shoot for shit, my guess is you'll get to see some man to man or at least as our new Fox Sports 1 hero Bill Raftery says, a zone defense with man to man principles!
Q// Do Hoya fans sing the praises of Nate Lubick? Or are they frustrated with him?
Both? Yes, definitely both. He's your stereotypical 'hustle guy' who does a few things well, but he's frustrating in that he is a black hole on offense and doesn't really need to even be guarded outside 10 feet. And other than a decent hookshot that takes 5-7 seconds to develop once he gets the ball, he's been that way for four years now. Hoya Saxa!