Georgetown didn't lack of drama opening its 2015-16 season. Three of its first four games were:
• Played away from Verizon Center.
• Against national contenders Maryland, Wisconsin and Duke.
• Ended in losses decided by four points or less, including the season opener home stunner against Radford.
On the one hand, the Hoyas can relax a touch knowing that their next seven games are at home, starting with Saturday's matchup against Bryant (2-3). Then again, seeing as Georgetown sports a 1-3 record and already lost a supposed "easy" game, nothing should be taken for granted.
• The slow start, while concerning, isn't crippling or even necessarily foreshadowing. Close doesn't cut it, but the Hoyas were a play or two away from changing the result in any of the three setbacks despite playing a man or two down. They simply played better and harder since the 82-80 double-overtime loss to Radford on Nov. 14.
Isaac Copeland leads the Hoyas in scoring (15.0) and rebounding (5.8) while shooting 55% from the field, 89% percent on free throws and 47% on 3-point attempts. Breakout season, engage.
Freshmen Marcus Derrickson, Kaleb Johnson and Jessie Govan, even with the usual ups and downs of first-year players, are going to be just fine. All three contributed at times and in unique ways. Derrickson provides 3-point touch, though he hasn't yet lived up to his rebounding potential. Johnson's two-way game and guard skills should mean steadier minutes. Govan flashed high-post and high IQ skills.
Bradley Hayes and Reggie Cameron, two of the three upperclassmen on scholarship, have already helped more on the court in four games than either did last season. Hayes' role figured to expand this season simply because of the 7-footer's size and senior status. Minutes for Cameron were hardly a lock, but he's taken advantage of opportunities. He's shooting 54.5% from distance and he already has more made 3-pointers (six) than he did all of last season (five).
• Those contributions are key because of what's going on elsewhere. Forward Paul White (hip) missed the opening four games and fellow sophomore Tre Campbell (illness) hasn't played since the first half of the loss at Maryland on Nov 17. That Georgetown coach John Thompson III was hopeful White would play before each of the last three games provides some hope that the versatile 6-foot-8 forward will return in the near future. That as of Friday there is no update on Campbell's status is more curious. The Hoyas made do without their backup point guard (Campbell) and another key ball handler so far, but at some point diving deep into the bench becomes challenging. Walk-on Riyan Williams already played more real minutes this season than his previous two combined.
• Concerns do exist, particularly on the boards and with the overall depth. Not so much with the NCAA Tournament resume, though they probably shouldn't lose to another mid-to-low major school, let alone at home.
According to the basketball analytics site KenPom.com, Georgetown is favored in each of its next 13 games. That includes the rematch with Syracuse (Dec. 5), non-conference road game at Charlotte (Dec. 22) and the first five Big East games. If the Hoyas can at the very least 1) Avoid any significant losses (teams with RPI outside the top 100-150) 2) split with non-conference foes Syracuse and Connecticut and 3) finish around 11-7 or 12-6 in the Big East while picking up wins against the top half of the league, they should be part of the NCAA Tournament bracket.
• Georgetown lost the offensive rebounds battle in three of the four games, Per KenPom, the Hoyas are 289th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage and 230th in offensive rebounding allowed. This isn't about size, but about experience and technique and perhaps toughness and depth.
• The Hoyas will have a huge height advantage against Bryant. Of their top five players in terms of average minutes played, 6-foot-7 guard Bosko Kostur is the tallest. Then comes 6-foot-6 forward Dan Garvin, who leads the Bulldogs in rebounding (7.3). Guard Hunter Ware averages 16.8 points. The 6-foot-2 sophomore had 24 points and six 3-pointers against Duke in Bryant's 113-75 loss on Nov. 14.