Center of attention: Hoyas freshman opens possibilities


Center of attention: Hoyas freshman opens possibilities

One could argue Georgetown doesn't make the NCAA Tournament last season without center Joshua Smith. The beefy big man largely accounted for all of the Hoyas' interior scoring, made over 62 percent of his field goal attempts and tied for the team lead in rebounds.

Here's another argument: Smith limited Georgetown. The 350-pounder's lack of mobility curtailed fast break opportunities and reduced defensive schemes. Ball movement in coach John Thompson III's motion offense often stalled when reaching Smith inside. Driving lanes didn't exist as defenses kept bodies inside with the senior camped on the low block.

That's all about to change and not just because Smith moved on to the pro ranks.

Consider the presence of freshman center Jessie Govan. Thompson's desired free-flowing offense now has a versatile big man for the first time since Henry Sims in 2012. Adding the 6-foot-10 center to the other pieces on the roster means the idea of interchangeable defenders is back on the menu.

"Jessie allows us -- There has been a large part, both offensively and defensively, things we haven't been able to focus on, take advantage of," Thompson said during a recent interview with

Georgetown is "Big Man U" because of centers Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. Now, don't go thinking Govan, one of three four-star recruits entering the program this season is on the level of those eventual NBA stars. That's not a fair comparison for any young player. What the New York native can do is score inside and away from the basket. He can contribute in true team scenarios.

Govan can simply provide his coach a two-way center, the kind Thompson discussed with the New York Times in 2000 before his first season as Princeton's head coach. Specifically, he mentioned some advice his famous father, Georgetown coaching legend John Thompson Jr., passed down.

''He told me to get a center,'' said Thompson, smiling at the memory. ''Having a center solves more problems than you realize, both in basketball and in life.''

Reminded of this passage, the coach playfully jabbed at the reporter's research -- "You're really bored, huh." -- before discussing Govan. 

"Not to say Jessie as a freshman is what Jessie is going to be when he leaves, but he's skilled and yet he's physical. He can go on the block and be very effective just with his sheer size, physicality and skill level," Thompson said. "He can also do the things you want to do at the mid-post and the high-post.

"He's able to help four guys and himself, not just help himself or need four guys to help him. That will make things a lot easier for everyone."

Thompson said Govan could end up starting the regular season opener against Radford on Nov. 14, though he cautioned against overlooking senior Bradley Hayes. The seldom-used center stepped up when Smith and others were in foul trouble during Georgetown's NCAA Tournament opener against Eastern Washington. His active presence sparked a first half rally in the eventual 84-74 win.

RELATED Early schedule forces Georgetown freshmen into hurry up mode

"The NCAA Tournament was like an 'ah ha' moment for him," Thompson said of Hayes.

College basketball teams need size and depth at center. Perhaps the Hoyas have just that with Govan and Hayes. It appears they have two active big men including one with sincere upside. Govan can help Thompson utilize much more of his playbook this season. Having that type of center solves more problems than you realize, both in basketball and in life, a wise man once said. 

Not only did UMBC own Virginia on the court, they owned the Twitter world

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Not only did UMBC own Virginia on the court, they owned the Twitter world

They said it could not be done, no No. 16 seed would ever beat a No. 1 seed. The odds would be too great and the obstacle too steep.

As we all know, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), just proved that all wrong.


All season the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers dominated their opponents. They dictated pace, held opponents to less than 55 points, and smothered teams by forcing turnovers.

The roles filled on Friday evening and with an up-tempo 74-54 victory, UMBC proved the impossible.

The hardwood is not the only place that UMBC owned last night, they grabbed headlines, attention, and thousands of fans (literally) on Twitter.

Someone grabbed a hold of the UMBC Athletics Twitter account and took the upset by storm.

It all started when Seth Davis poked the bear:

and they were relentless.

Oh yeah, I forgot Seth Davis:

Then they started get snarky and owning everyone:

As someone the graduated from a commuter school, I can relate:

More Seth Davis:

Back to Twitter:

I guess that application wave actually was a thing or people wanted to know what ‘UMBC’ stood for:

Game. Set. History.

Now here come the shots against other schools:

Yeah, don’t jump on this bandwagon Terps fans. Stay in College Park:

I did not take long for other social media icons to start reaching out:

Oh and Seth Davis eventually did apologize:

Started the night at 5,588 and jumped up to 51.7 K. No one cares what you think Steven:

If you liked what you saw thank Zach Seidel, not an intern, not a student athlete who provided those tweets last night.

Zach, you just earned yourself a raise and we’ll see you in the Second Round.

NCAA Tournament 2018: UMBC vs. Kansas State Second Round, time, TV channel, how to watch

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NCAA Tournament 2018: UMBC vs. Kansas State Second Round, time, TV channel, how to watch

After shocking the world and doing what no other team has done before, the UMBC Retrievers are not done yet.

Yes, UMBC became the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed. And against a Virginia team that was the only dominant squad in all of college basketball, no one expected it (except Troy Machir).

Remember the Retrievers barely made it to the NCAA tournament with a buzzer-beater from Jairus Lyles.  

Lyles scored a game-high 28 points in their historic upset as the team went 50 percent from behind the arc with 12 three-pointers.

Up next they play No. 9 Kansas State who looked shaky in their First Round win over Creighton. Can the Cinderella run for the Retrievers continue? Either way anything they do would be a first for a No. 16 seed going forward.

Virginia and UNC UMBC will match up on Sunday in Charlotte, NC. 

Here is the NCAA Tournament information:


UMBC vs. Kansas State How to Watch

What: 2018 NCAA Tournament Second Round, South Region

Who: No. 16 UMBC (25-10, 12-4 America East) vs. No. 9 Kansas State (23-11, 10-8 Big 12)

When: 7:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 18.

Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

TV Channel: TruTV

Online Stream:  March Madness Live on

TV Announcers: TBA Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Grant Hill (analyst), Bill Raftery (analyst), Tracy Wolfson (reporter)

Twitter: @UVAMensHoops, @KStateMBB


UMBC vs. Kansas State Bracket Analysis

How They Got Here: UMBC (Auto-bid, America East Champions), Kansas State (at-large)

Previous Meeting: First Meeting

Next Round: Winner of No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Buffalo

South Region Bracket:

No. 16 UMBC vs. No. 9 Kansas State
No. 5 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Buffalo

No. 11 Loyola Chicago vs. No. 3 Tennessee
No. 7 Nevada vs. No. 2 Cincinnati

UMBC vs. Kansas State Betting Spread, Lines & Odds

Favorites: N/A
Over/Under: N/A
Money Line: N/A
Against The Spread: UMBC is 4-1 ATS this season, Kansas State is 15-16 ATS.

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