Hoyas go down early in yet another March Madness

This one really hurts for the Hoyas.

Run out of the gym by a Florida Gulf Coast team that had absolutely nothing to lose and clearly wanted it more, Georgetown was handed its most embarrassing NCAA tourney loss yet in a long line of pathetic performances. FGCU had the perfect game plan: run the floor quickly, attack the rim, don’t let Georgetown get set on defense, and harass the Hoyas into tough shots when they have the ball. Georgetown seemed completely unprepared for the athleticism of its opponent, who beat the Hoyas with hard cuts, pinpoint passes, and of course, highlight reel alley-oops.

For some reason, Otto Porter Jr. chose last night to have his worst game of the year. He shot 5-17 from the floor and repeatedly missed shots in the paint – contested lay ups, sure, but shots you would expect a national player of the year candidate to nail. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who had such a solid freshman campaign, put in another nightmare shooting performance. Including the Big East tournament game against Syracuse, Smith-Rivera closed out the year 0-10 from three point range.

Starters Nate Lubick and Mikael Hopkins were overwhelmed by FGCU’s tough defense, and their lack of ball skills showed. Jabril Trawick, playing in front of a hometown Philly crowd, at least seemed to want it for Georgetown, but ultimately is not the type of big-time scorer the Hoyas needed last night. Markel Starks and Aaron Bowen are really the only Hoyas who can be proud of their effort, if not the result. Bowen provided some energy off the bench when nothing was working for the team in gray, while Starks hit a few threes that kept the game alive late, and was the only Hoya able to score for long stretches of the game.

Georgetown had a tough time getting the ball in the bucket, but that’s nothing new for the Hoyas. Usually they find a way with a patient offense and stingy defense. Before last night, Georgetown had given up 54 points or more in only 16 of 31 games this season. The Hoyas allowed FGCU to put up 54 in the second half alone. Before last night, Georgetown had only given up 78 points twice all year, in overtime to Indiana and double overtime to UConn. So the question is then, how could a team built to play tough, aggressive defense simply not show up in the most important game of the year?

Perhaps it really is time to start questioning the leadership. If John Thompson III was named Tom Johnson I, he would’ve been gone two years ago. JTIII and Porter winning Big East coach and player of the year just seems like a sick joke at this point. The Final Four run with Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert was magical, but in the six seasons that have followed, the Hoyas best tournament performances are second round losses to double digit seeds. That is simply unacceptable for a program like Georgetown. In a previous column, I suggested there may be some psychological barrier causing these early exits, and there’s certainly no doubt that there is one now.

It’s difficult to say whether it really is time for JTIII to go, considering that he’s brought the school back to national relevance in basketball over the past 8 years. Furthermore, his father John Thompson Jr. is a Hoya legend, and is still very involved with the program. The Georgetown brass may be hesitant to do away with the younger Thompson for fear of creating a rift with the older.

Whether it would be for the good of the program or not, I just can’t see JTIII getting fired. So the big question going forward, then, is what will Otto Porter decide to do? Basically a lock for the lottery all year, Porter was inexplicably absent when Georgetown needed him most. Many fans, myself included, will feel he owes the Hoyas another year. Unfortunately, the NBA drafts on potential, and while this game may hurt his stock a bit, it doesn’t change the fact that he can play at the next level. For now, we must hold out hope that Porter does not want to leave Georgetown with the memory of this as his last game.

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