Tomorrow, the undefeated Georgetown Hoyas will play their one-time conference rival Syracuse (8-1) in Washington, D.C. It will be the first real test they’ve faced all season, considering their opponents so far have been Jacksonville (4-7), Mount St. Mary’s (3-7), Maryland Eastern Shore (3-8), Richmond (2-8), Maine (3-8), Coppin State (0-11), Howard (2-10), and N.C. A&T (5-4).
If you don’t feel like doing the math, the combined record of those teams is a staggering 22-63. Ken Pomeroy told the Washington Post Thursday that “Georgetown’s schedule will end up being the worst nonconference schedule for as long as I have been tracking ... power conference or not.”
The thinking goes that Georgetown, under new coach Patrick Ewing, needed to get a few wins under them to build confidence going into Big East play. It’s a scheduling strategy from the days of Georgetown legend John Thompson Jr., who still looms large over the program. (He recruited Ewing to coach there after his son, John Thompson III, was fired.) Georgetown stans can get behind this. What else do you want Ewing to do, they shriek. He didn’t have a lot of good options! Critics, meanwhile, slammed him for the cupcake feast and for pulling out of the Phil Knight Invitational that was held over Thanksgiving weekend and would’ve assured a slate of quality opponents. This is how Ewing explained that one, per the Washington Post:
“It’s my belief that, why go out there and get my a — kicked to show my recruits that we need their help when I can stay home and watch other people get their butts kicked. Do my recruiting, keep on telling the people we need that we need them, recruit them and do my job to help my team, build them up and show them what my visions are of them and win as many games as we can.”
Mmm, yes, the best recruits just flock to programs whose grand vision consists of beating up the MEAC.
But setting aside the fact that it’s far more embarrassing to knock down a bunch of weaklings (and Georgetown only beat N.C. A&T by single digits!) than it is to get thumped by Kansas, the soft schedule means Georgetown will have to essentially win the Big East to get an NCAA tournament bid. Given that they’re averaging 15 turnovers a game, that doesn’t seem likely.
I’ll reserve ultimate judgement until I see how Georgetown does against Syracuse tomorrow, but I predict the Hoyas will be lucky to scrape five wins from conference play.