Stacking up Georgetown versus the South Region

Stacking up Georgetown versus the South Region
March 19, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Obviously Georgetown is a one of the favorites to emerge out of the South Region. The 2-seed awarded the Hoyas sort of gives it away. How Otto Porter, Markel Starks and crew compare to other contenders is less clear. Not because the Hoyas don't have skills, but because so many other teams do as well in the power-packed region, one that includes recent NCAA champions, several title-winning coaches and future NBA stars.

In reverse order, we ranked 11 teams potentially in Georgetown's path in order of potential difficulty. First up, the Hoyas first opponent...

Florida Gulf Coast: 24-10, No. 15 seed, opening game

Pro: There is a reason why the Hoyas are a No. 2 seed. Actually, there are several reasons, including a stingy defense that allowed the fewest points per game in the Big East and keyed the late-season 11-game winning streak. Georgetown's perimeter ball stoppers can stifle the Eagles three-guard look and up front, Otto Porter, Nate Lubick and crew have a significant length/bulk advantage.

Con: Should the Eagles soar early and stay in contention, the non-Georgetown portion of the nighttime crowd inside the Wells Fargo Center raucously rally behind the 15 seed. Should point guard Brett Comer record eight assists without a turnover as he did this season in FGCU's upset win over Miami, the soar early and stay in contention part could happen.

Villanova: 20-13, No. 9 seed, regional final

Pro: This rematch of Georgetown's lone regular season loss over its last 13 games would take place in the round of 8 in Texas, making it highly unlikely. So why bother listing the Cats and why have them so far down since they won 67-57 last month? Because it took a season-high 23 turnovers by Georgetown and a 30-4 free throw advantage to get there. Assuming a new officiating crew keeps a tighter leash on defensive clutching and grabbing - and the game is not suddenly moved to Philly where all of Villanova's upset victories took place - hard seeing the Hoyas not exacting revenge

Con: While both teams would obviously have momentum by this point, the Wildcats would also have the underdog vibe and direct knowledge of the higher ranked team. That formula worked for Villanova against Georgetown in the NCAA's once before.

Oklahoma: 20-11, No. 10 seed, round of 32

Pros: With rugged forward Romero Osby (15.8 ppg) roaming the paint, the Sooners can put up points (71.1), though they are not always pretty doing so. Thanks to suspect 3-point shooting, Oklahoma ranked 204th nationally in Effective FG percentage. The Sooners closed the regular season with consecutive losses, shooting under 40 percent in both. Georgetown held 15 of its last 18 opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field. In those 15 games, the Hoyas record is 13-2.

Cons: From a picking-the-brackets perspective, when in doubt, side with the coach with strong track records. Lon Kruger certainly counts, having now taken a record five teams to the NCAA Tournament including Kansas State to the Elite Eight, Florida to the 1994 Final Four and UNLV into the round of 16.

San Diego State: 22-10, No. 7 seed, round of 32

Pros: For starters, the Aztecs enter the tournament with a 4-5 record over their last nine games. In addition, whether it is their starters or reserves, they offer little in terms of inside scoring and are collectively suspect shooting 3-pointers.

Cons: Five coaches in this region have won a national title. Steve Fisher is one of them. Apparently, the former Michigan man teaches up the 3-point shooting defense because the Aztecs aggressively defend the arc. When Georgetown is not sinking its long-range shots, it takes can sometimes take Otto being Otto to overcome. Also, Aztecs' leading scorer Jammal Franklin can also do this.

UCLA: 25-9, No. 6 seed, round of 16

Pros: The Hoyas already defeated the Bruins once this season, 78-70 back on Nov. 19 in Brooklyn behind 23 points from Markel Starks. Georgetown made 7 of 14 3-point field goals, three from Greg Whittington. Speaking of absent players, Jordan Adams, UCLA's leading scorer that game, suffered a season-ending foot injury during the Pac-12 tournament.

Cons: Though an enigmatic bunch, the Bruins are crazy talented, value maintaining possession and are led by future NBA Draft lottery pick Shabazz Muhammad. UCLA has the tools for a get-hot-at-the-right-time-run even though it doesn't feel that way right now.

Minnesota: 20-12, 11th seed, round of 16

Pros: Those 12 losses stand out, five coming over the last seven games including a current 3-game skid. The Gophers are yet another poor outside shooting team and coughed up the ball (13.8 turnovers per game) more than any team in the Big Ten.

Cons: Per KenPom, Minnesota leads the nation in offensive rebounding percentage and Georgetown lost the offensive battle of the boards this season. 6-foot-8, 245-pounder Trevor Mbakwe averages 3.3 offensive rebounds and leads the Gophers with 8.7 overall.

Click here for Part 2 with looks at Michigan, VCU, Florida and Kansas...