Simply being in NCAA Tournament contention in the final days of February has to be a pleasant surprise for Georgetown.
The Hoyas have been out of sorts ever since losing to 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA Tournament last season. The season began with a puzzling loss to Northeastern in Puerto Rico. Guard Greg Whittington was dismissed in November. Center Josh Smith was ruled academically ineligible in January.
Georgetown has at least recovered to be on the fringes entering the final key stretch of the regular season. The good news is that the Hoyas have opportunities to lock up a bid with a tough road game (Marquette) and two games against the top two teams in the Big East (Creighton and Villanova).
Here’s how Georgetown’s NCAA Tournament profile looks heading into tonight’s game against Marquette.
By the numbers
Feb. 27: at Marquette
Record: 16-11, 7-8 Big East
How Georgetown could be in the Tournament
The Hoyas started 3-6 in Big East play, including a five-game losing streak, before an unlikely 64-60 win over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden started a hot streak for the Hoyas. One of the major developments has been the emergence of guard Jabril Trawick, who has averaged 11.4 points in his last eight games. Trawick’s emergence alongside D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Brown in the backcourt is key for a team that has struggled offensively.
How Georgetown could be left out
Georgetown has three good neutral site wins, but the Hoyas have struggled away from home. The Hoyas’ only road wins are over DePaul and Butler, the two last place teams in the league. A season sweep by Seton Hall isn’t a great look, either.
Georgetown needs to: Beat Marquette or (even better) beat Villanova on the road
On paper, Marquette is the most winnable game remaining in the regular season, but the Golden Eagles defeated Georgetown 80-72 in overtime during the Hoyas’ January funk. Defeating Marquette and losing to Creighton and Villanova to end the season may be the most likely, but it still sets up a Georgetown team that needs to win a game or two in the Big East Tournament.
Georgetown can’t afford: Losing out
The Hoyas’ back-to-back loses to St. John’s (Feb. 16) and Seton Hall (Feb. 20) cast doubt on their improvement earlier in the month. Losing three in a row to finish the regular season would put Georgetown on a 1-5 slide to finish the season and render the Big East tournament moot.