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Georgetown has the fight to compete with the best in the Big East, but fight isn’t enough

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Georgetown has the fight to compete with the best in the Big East, but fight isn’t enough

WASHINGTON – Attempting to overcome insurmountable obstacles must be the theme of the Georgetown Hoyas season with what they’ve had to battle through this year. 

Whether it is players transferring out of the program, key injuries mounting up, massive foul trouble or a nightmarish shooting performance, the Hoyas have seen it all. Most nights the impediments are simply too much to overcome in a highly competitive Big East. 

Other nights, they put the class of the conference on the ropes. 

Everything was against the Hoyas at home on Wednesday against No. 12 Seton Hall. Georgetown was down to a six-man rotation with their leading scorer Mac McClung missing his second straight game. Myles Powell had dropped another masterful performance, scoring 21 of his 34 points in the first half. Quincy McKnight dished out 10 assists. Romaro Gill shut down the Hoyas’ interior offense with eight blocks on the night. 

Yet, the Hoyas kept it close. Slowly they erased a massive 16-0 deficit they put themselves in to start the contest.  Early in the second half, the Hoyas had clawed back into it. Suddenly, the fighting Patrick Ewings were within two possessions and they kept it there. They survived nearly every blow that Seton Hall tried to dish out at them. 

Georgetown kept it formidable, considering everything going against them. In the end, they ultimately fell to the conference-leading Pirates 78-71.

And it's not the first time the Hoyas showed tremendous fortitude. They came back from being down 17 on the road to beat St. John's in their last contest. Even in a loss, it's a result that head coach Patrick Ewing can be proud of. 

“I’m proud of my team, even though we lost, I’m very proud of them. We got down big, but we fought, came back, cut it to four at one point,” Ewing said. “[Coming back from down 16-0] says a lot. Like I said I’m very proud of them. I’m proud of the effort. We kept fighting and we could have easily let go when they went up big to start the game. But we kept our composure, we kept fighting, chipping away.”

Georgetown did it in a variety of ways. Much like the rest of the season, they did it with help from everyone down the roster. 

Terrell Allen kept the Pirates from expanding their lead by scoring all of his 11 during a four-minute spurt in the first half. His surge got the Hoyas to within six points and made it a ball game again.

Second-chance points, 29 of them, behind Omer Yurtseven consistently provided them offense in dire moments. They finished through contact, got to the free-throw line and converted (21-for-24).

Georgetown fought to the final possession. Every time it appeared the Pirates were going to run away off a magical Powell bucket, they answered.

But in the end, they could not make shots. On the night they shot an abysmal 34% from the field and was 4-for-21 (19%) from deep. 

“Everybody has a great outlook and we’re always competing,” Ewing said postgame.

“All we try to tell them is take your shots when you have them. Just keep on playing hard. Energy. Effort. Defend. Rebound. All the same things we’ve been doing all year.”

This result won’t hang over them long. The Hoyas (13-10, 3-7) have a great chance at another victory when they host DePaul three days later. Maybe McClung will be back as he is still day-to-day with his foot injury. But the Hoyas cannot afford to rely on that. His team is not going to feel sorry for themselves.

“It’s going to wear on you, but that’s what sports is all about. It’s not like the NBA where you can call up a 10-day contract for a guy to come and help you out. There’s no cavalry coming over the hill. We’re going to have to get it done.”

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MORE NCAA NEWS:

On this date in tournament history: Shabazz Napier helps UConn win it all

On this date in tournament history: Shabazz Napier helps UConn win it all

And then there were two.

The 2014 UConn Huskies were one win away from their third national championship in 10 years. Emeka Okafor helped bring one home in 2004. Kemba Walker surged past his competition to win it all in 2011, and now all that stood in UConn's way were the Kentucky Wildcats.

Jim Calhoun was no longer leading the charge. There weren't bonafide stars on the 2014 squad. Outside of Shabazz Napier, no other player on the roster would spend significant time in the NBA.

Okafor had a surrounding cast featuring Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Walker had Jeremy Lamb. If Napier didn't lead the way against the Wildcats, they were going to get run out of the gym.

Luckily for coach Kevin Ollie, Napier came to play.

The Huskies' star came out of the gate blazing.

In a relatively low-scoring first half, Napier led the way with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting to help UConn head into the halftime break with a  35-31 lead over Julius Randle's (10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) Kentucky squad.

Kentucky guard James Young (20 points) helped trim the deficit to one after knocking down both free throws with 8:13 to play in regulation, but the Huskies would not yield the lead.

UConn finished the game on an 11-5 run to secure the victory, winning its third national championship in 10 years.

Napier carried the Huskies, leading the team in points (22) and rebounds (6) to take down an impressive Kentucky squad.

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MORE MARCH MADNESS MOMENTS:

The Ultimate Men's NCAA Tournament Bracket: Who is the best team of all-time? Play-in Round

The Ultimate Men's NCAA Tournament Bracket: Who is the best team of all-time? Play-in Round

There's no March Madness this year. No brackets, no Cinderella stories and certainly no national champion. 

That doesn't mean, though, that we can't use this time to wisely pick the best Men's NCAA Tournament team of all-time. 

There have been several memorable teams throughout the course of the 80-plus year history of the NCAA Tournament. The UCLA teams of the 1960s and 1970s before, after and during Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Houston's Phi Slama Jama in the 1980s, UNLV in the early 1990s and many more; they all were phenomenal. Some won championships, some did not.

But which iconic team is the best? No one will know for certain because they'll never lace up on the same court together. So the fairest and undoubtedly best way to determine a champion is to create a bracket. And to let the fans vote. 

How it works:

Twenty teams were selected for the ultimate tournament bracket. Teams that had multi-year runs or championships were lumped together for simplicity's sake if the team's make-up was relatively similar. There also could not be more than two teams from the same year in consideration. 

Notable recent teams with dominant rosters and performances from the 2000s were included. Those teams were given a bump over some other all-time great champions from the past 20 years compare to historically good squads. 

Teams were ranked No. 1 through 20 based on their performances, players and coach. Teams moved up an additional ranking spot if they won a championship (or two). 

Voting for the play-in will take place on NBCSWashington's Twitter on Monday, April 6 for 24 hours. The subsequent rounds will be on Wednesday, April 8; Friday, April 10; Monday, April 13 and the championship on Wednesday, April 15.

Teams will advance to the next round based on seeding. 

ULTIMATE NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET

#1 UCLA Bruins (1967-69)
#16 Houston Cougars (1967-68) vs. #17 Kansas Jayhawks (2007-08)

#8 Kentucky Wildcats (2012) 
#9 UCLA Bruins (1964-65)

 

#4 San Francisco Dons (1955-56) 
#13 Virginia Cavaliers (2019) vs. #20 Maryland Terrapins (2001-02)

#5 Villanova Wildcats (2018)
#12 Indiana Hoosiers (1975-76)


 
#3 UCLA Bruins (1972-73)
#14 Loyola Marymount (1990) vs. #19 Kentucky Wildcats (2010)

#6 Duke Blue Devils (1991-92) 
#11 Ohio State Buckeyes (1960-61)

 

#7 Houston Cougars (1982-84) 
#10 Kentucky Wildcats (2015) 

#2 UNLV Running Rebels (1990-91)
#15 Georgetown Hoyas (1984-85) vs. #18 North Carolina Tar Heels (2016-17)

PLAY-IN ROUND

#13 Virginia Cavaliers (2019) vs. #20 Maryland Terrapins (2001-02)

2019 Virginia Cavaliers (35-3, 16-2 ACC) - National Championship, ACC Regular Season Champion

Top Players: DeAndre Hunter, Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome
Head Coach: Tony Bennett
Wrap: Fresh off the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history as the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed, the Cavaliers got redemption by winning the 2019 title. Their three NBA first-rounders returned and rolled through a loaded ACC and won a championship off their stifling defense. 

2001-02 Maryland Terrapins (57-15, 25-7 ACC Combined) - National Championship, ACC Regular Season Champion, 2 Final Fours

Top Players: Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, Steve Blake
Head Coach: Gary Williams
Wrap: The 2001 and 2002 Terps were easily the best two seasons in Maryland's history. In back-to-back seasons they made the Final Four, with the second resulting in a national championship. As the game and tournament have grown, that is not easy to do. Williams did it in two seasons with another talent-filled ACC. 


#14 Loyola Marymount (1990) vs. #19 Kentucky Wildcats (2010)

1990 Loyola Marymount (26-6, 13-1 WCC) - Elite Eight, WCC Regular Season Champion

Top Players: Bo Kimble, Jeff Fryer, Hank Gathers
Head Coach: Paul Westhead
Wrap: Loyola Marymount is known for the best offenses ever in college basketball. The Lions, led by future NBA first-round pick Bo Kimble, averaged 122.4 points per game on the season and was a must-see fixture in the tournament. They dropped 149 points, an NCAA Tournament record, against Michigan, but would go on to lose to the eventual champion UNLV 131-101 in the Elite Eight. 

2010 Kentucky Wildcats (35-3, 14-2 SEC) - Elite Eight, SEC Regular Season Champion, SEC Tournament Champion

Top Players: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Peterson, Eric Bledsoe
Head Coach: John Calipari
Wrap: In John Calipari's first season with the Wildcats, he quickly returned Kentucky to a national powerhouse. With John Wall as the face of the team, Kentucky started off 19-0 and was a freight train of young talent. Eventually, they were upended by West Virginia in the Elite Eight, but there is no denying the talent. 


#15 Georgetown Hoyas (1984-85) vs. #18 North Carolina Tar Heels (2016-17)

1984-85 Georgetown Hoyas (69-6, 28-4 Big East Combined) - National Champion, 2 Final Fours, 2 Big East Tournament Championships, Big East Regular Season Champion

Top Players: Patrick Ewing, David Wingate, Michael Jackson, Reggie Williams
Head Coach: John Thompson II
Wrap: Georgetown was only eight points away from a perfect season in 1984. Four NBA stars made them one of the roughest, toughest and baddest teams in all of the country and Patrick Ewing was at the forefront with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks a game. In the championship, they ended the Phi Slama Jama era of Houston basketball. The next season they made the championship game again.

2016-17 North Carolina Tar Heels (66-14, 28-8 ACC Combined) - National Champion, Runner up, ACC Tournament Champion, 2x ACC Regular Season Champion

Top Players: Justin Jackson, Joel Berry II, Kennedy Meeks
Head Coach: Roy Williams
Wrap: Despite losing the championship on a buzzer-beater and Brice Johnson, going to the NBA after the 2016 season, UNC put it all together again in 2017. In an era of one-and-done, Williams put together a masterful core of four-year players that had them as the class of the sport.


#16 Houston Cougars (1967-68) vs. #17 Kansas Jayhawks (2007-08)

1967-68 Houston Cougars (58-6, Independent Combined) - 2 Final Fours

Top Players: Elvin Hayes, Don Chaney, Ken Spain
Head Coach: Guy Lewis
Wrap: There were few teams in the late 1960s and early 1970s to beat the UCLA Bruins and the Elvin Hayes-led Cougars were one of them. Houston toppled UCLA in "The Game of the Century" in 1968 as the first nationally televised regular-season game.  But in the rematch during the tournament, they lost to the Bruins and also lost in the third-place game.

2007-08 Kansas Jayhawks (70–8, 27–5 Big 12 Combined) - National Champion, 2 Elite Eights, 2 Big 12 Tournament Championships, 2 Big12 Regular Season Championships

Top Players: Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush
Head Coach: Bill Self
Wrap: Kansas made history in 2008 by becoming the first team to ever win 37 games in a season. In the tournament, they rolled through some fan-favorites, including Steph Curry's Davidson team, Tyler Hansbrough's North Carolina team and Derrick Rose's Memphis team.