Schedule puts Hoyas on national scene

By the

September 13, 2001

I apologize to all juniors abroad or going abroad: the Georgetown Men’s basketball schedule came out last week, and it looks like this could be the most exciting year since 1998. Uh, never mind …

But seriously, this schedule makes me want to reconsider taking off for the Spring. I mean, the social scene is so sweet here [sarcasm], but hoops is the main draw from January to April.

Their first few weeks are pretty much a cakewalk, as usual. There’s no Great Alaska Shootout or Maui Classic this year?thanks to the NCAA?so the Hoyas will face their normal slew of chumps: Coastal Carolina, Grambling, Morgan State and Howard.

The only good part about November is a matchup against Georgia over Thanksgiving weekend?The Tip-Off Classic in Springfield, Mass. It’s not really that great of a game, except for the fact that UGA plays in a big-time conference against real competition. (But so do Florida State, Baylor and Oregon, you say. And you’re right.) We should handle the Bulldogs, not that anyone in greater Athens will be watching (It’s a football school. We are a basketball school. Haverford College is a fencing school. That would suck, eh?) All of UGA’s freshmen failed to qualify academically, and they lost five seniors?roughly 57 points of offense. So basically, they have about six players. We win.

Moving on … The next big game for Coach E is against Virginia on Dec. 20 at the MCI Center. Even though you’ll probably be done with exams, except for the pre-med kids, this game is worth sticking around for. The last time we played them, Lee Scruggs almost died. Literally.

This is a battle for the validity of our souls. UVA is not a good place to be: They wear plaid pants and ties way too often, and the crux of their social life revolves around a frat called “The Hall.” On weekends, around 2 a.m., every male student heads down to “The Corner” (their M Street) to eat these things called “Gus Burgers.” Gus Burgers are slabs of greasy hamburger meat with a fried-egg on top, all on a dry bun. To obtain a delicacy like this, one must scream out “ONE GUS BURGER” and shove oneself to the counter through hordes of keg-whipped frat boys. Must we let ourselves be defeated by the likes of this?

But back to the court. The Cavs are hungry after a first-round loss to Gonzaga in last year’s tournament, and they return all of their frontcourt, including junior forwards Roger Mason and Travis Watson. The duo play like Antwan Jamison used to?post-ups and quick turnarounds?but Georgetown has a height advantage with Wesley Wilson and Mike Sweetney. UVA lost a great shooter in Keith Friel, as well as a decent point guard in Donald Hand. If Majestic Mapp finally lives up to his recruiting hype from three years ago, then their backcourt should be solid. An even matchup this will be, and it may come down to coaching. Pete Gillen is good, too.

Nine days later (that’s the 29th, you morons), the Hoyas travel to Los Angeles to play UCLA, one of the most hyped teams in the country. They were impressive last year, even though they only ran about seven deep. Earl Watson’s passing will be missed, but the Bruins will rely on size this year. Dan Gadzuric has a better touch nowadays, and he’s 6-11. UCLA’s frontcourt averages about 6-8, and they can look down the bench to the deepest team Stevey Lavin has had in Cali. They also have one of the best recruiting classes out there. This game will be the toughest of the season, but may only be Georgetown’s first loss of the year.

On the bright side, though, the Hoya squad can watch The Big Lebowski and then hit up the In-And-Out Burger. Maybe they’ll see Kobe on that ugly yellow motorcycle, too.

Then they reach the BIG EAST. Miami tips it off at MCI on Jan. 2, and Rutgers follows on the fifth up in Jersey. They suck.

The hardest conference game comes at Boston College on Jan. 12. Braswell did them up a couple years ago, also at Conte Forum, but these are a new breed of Eagles. (Can you breed Eagles?). Troy Bell was the team’s leading scorer as a frosh and sophomore, and he has guards Xavier Singletary and Ryan Sidney helping him out. This is a fast team, and very-well coached, too. Last year’s BIG EAST sleepers, BC is now the “team to beat” in the conference. Bad for them, good for us.

Other notable games include two versus Troy Murphy-less Notre Dame (Jan. 21 and Feb. 9), boasting ?ber-potential forwards Ryan Humphrey and David Graves. There’s also Syracuse (Jan. 28), who still have Preston Shumpert and DeShaun Williams. Shumpert will never be able to pull off the high-socks look, but mah gawd, he can shoot. Williams is a tough guard who can score or pass. Even though Damone Brown has left and is on the Sixers (Egad!), one thing remains the same up in that hell-hole: Billy Celuck is perhaps the worst player to ever pickup a basketball. Think Shawn Bradley meets Cherokee Parks, in a wheelchair, with eight fingers. Boo him mercilessly, even from your living room.

We play Connecticut at home on Feb. 19, and Albert Mouring and Edmund Saunders finally graduated. Taliek Brown, Johnny Selvie and Caron Butler must all step up and become team players. There may be an “I” in “I smoked your ass,” but there’s no “I” in “Final Four.” Oh, wait. Whatever, you get the point. Finally, check out West Virginia (Feb. 2 and 27). They have baby-Iverson in Richmond product Jonathan Hargett, southern playalistic-style. He could very well take over Omar Cook’s spot as “league’s-sickest-guard-to-dominate-opponents-every-so-often-and-then-leave-early-for-a-career-of-NBA-mediocrity-and-perhaps-substance-abuse,” but I hope not.

This year is all about exposure and respect, and the Hoyas have 11 contests on national television. A low RPI ranking certainly shouldn’t be weighing this Hoya team down when Selection Sunday rolls around, and the AP pollsters will know who they’re voting for. Whether or not it’s for a good or a bad team, only time will tell.

In Braz we trust. And Sweetney’s not so bad either …

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