Friday, February 05, 2010

Interview with Georgetown Blogger Casual Hoya, As the #2 Wildcats Face the #7 Hoyas in Washington

To the Wildcat faithful-

I'd like to thank Georgetown blogger Casual Hoya, who graciously agreed to a cyberinterview on the #7 Hoyas, as the showdown between two of the top seven teams in the nation commences, at high noon tomorrow at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC...

And of course, I'd encourage you to take a look at his site, for more on Villanova / Georgetown - his cyberinterview with the fine Villanova blog I Bleed Blue and White, as well as a hilarious picture of Jay Wright...

Without further ado-

1) VV: What has been the biggest surprise for the Hoyas this season?
Casual Hoya: To many, it is the play of Austin Freeman, who is having an incredible season averaging 16.4 points a game, and 19.4 points in Big East games.  But Freeman was a highly touted player coming out of high school and is finally playing to his potential. 
To me, the biggest surprise has been the play of our supporting big men, Julian Vaughn and Henry Sims.  Vaughn is having a great season playing alongside Greg Monroe in the starting lineup, while Sims is having a dismal season and is now 4th off an already weak bench.  Coming into the season, I wasn't sure who was going to get more playing time, now I feel just plain silly for even pondering such a ridiculous question.  Problem is, we need Sims to get better, but with Georgetown's hard OCC schedule and demanding BE schedule, there are very few opportunities for him to get playing experience.
2) VV: What is the biggest difference between last year's team, and this year's team?
Casual Hoya: Well, first off, it is February and we are not IMPLODING like the Stardust in Vegas.  Why?  Jesse Sapp isn't around to start fights with Chris Wright and DaJuan Summers is not around to chill somewhere around half-court before sprinting to the basket and clanging dunks off the rim.  The team is more cohesive (they go to the barbershop together) this year, but clearly has the ability to beat anybody (Duke) and lose to anybody (ODU and USF).
3) VV: Can you describe the adaptations that John Thompson III has made to the Princeton offense, in order to install it with bigger and more athletic players at Georgetown, as opposed to his alma mater?  It's really cool to watch, and I look forward to seeing Georgetown against other opponents, with the back door cuts.
Casual Hoya: One thing to keep in mind about the Princeton offense, is that it’s not the unknown quantity that it was some years ago (think back to Princeton beating UCLA on the backdoor cut in 1995) and though the principles are the same, you don’t see quite as many backdoor layups, particularly with conference teams that are well versed in defending it. 
With that out of the way, clearly the biggest difference is that Georgetown has NBA talent. This can be maddening at times, as the offense is predicated largely on everyone on the floor being a player who can fill all slots, as opposed to traditional guard, center, and forward.  And this leads to Greg Monroe and Julian Vaughn (and Roy Hibbert before them) often stuck on the perimeter, where they are far less effective.
The offense also prides itself on trust and sacrificing individual stats for the team – and this is clearly evident in the difference between this year’s and last year’s teams. Although Wright is clearly shoot-first, he is nowhere near the black hole that was DaJuan Summers. It also takes a few years to really understand the flow and Wright and Freeman have made great strides from their first two years, to really leading the team now.
There really aren’t many changes from coaching at Princeton, it’s just being run with more skilled and athletic players. And the lack of change carries through to results – Princeton would also lose to USF.
4) VV: In the first game, we led 46-31 at the half, but we held off a valiant second-half rally to barely hang on for the victory.  What happened in the first game, that we should not expect to see in the second game, in terms of how Georgetown will try to improve?
Casual Hoya: Georgetown has been great coming off losses, particularly Chris Wright.  When he plays well, so do the Hoyas.  Chris is coming off an awful performance in a loss to South Florida, so I'd expect him to come back strong.  The key to Georgetown is Wright shooting the ball well and Monroe staying out of foul trouble.  Expect both of them to have strong bounce back games.  I will be very surprised if we dig ourselves another 15 point hole this time around.  Then again, I was very surprised we lost to South Florida at home this year, so umm, who knows.
5) VV: Speculation - will there be a third game in New York - or even a fourth game in the NCAA tournament, between these teams?
Casual Hoya: To be honest, I’m getting kind of sick of Scottie Reynolds, who it seems the Hoyas have been facing for the better part of a decade.   
That being said, the Georgetown – Villanova rivalry is a special one, considering the schools are very similar in size and really only have hoops to hang our athletics' heads on.  It’s difficult to project the final Big East standings since the Hoyas could fall apart and wind up playing Rutgers on the first Tuesday, but I hope that Georgetown and 'Nova are on the same side of the bracket, since the matchups always seem to be memorable in some fashion.   
And speaking of fashion, it would be nice to see what Jay Wright brings out of his closet for a 3rd encounter with the Hoyas.  As far as projecting a matchup in the NCAA Tournament goes, you’ll have to forgive me for declining to cooperate, as we’re still trying to pick up the pieces after that USF debacle.
My thanks to Casual Hoya for a very substantive cyberinterview.  Also, please check back for the updated Villanova/Georgetown Rivalry History, coming later...
Go Wildcats!

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