The proprietors of Casual Hoya had us over to their place earlier today to answer some questions about the Huskies and we felt it was only fair to respond in kind by bringing back our not-nearly-used-enough feature "Friends With Bennies.
TheUConnBlog: How in the hell have you won eight straight games considering the fact that you're not Pittsburgh?
Casual Hoya: Day-by-day. First there was Rutgers. If we had lost that game than set fire to all our diplomas. And then there was Seton Hall, which is pretty much a junior college. So the first two weren't that bad. St Johns is only good at Madison Square Garden, so even though they will win the Big East Championship, we crushed them in DC. Villanova was a tough one, but we prevailed because Jay Wright, a foppish dandy, dressed like a homeless person for the game. Syracuse is the worst program in the history of basketball or sports or venereal disease. And then Marquette was on a Sunday while I was hungover and I don't remember what happened. Is that eight? Sweet.
TUB: What happened with this team to turn them around from the poor start to Big East play? Were there any key adjustments or was the team just in a funk?
CH: The biggest change has been the insertion of freshman Nate Lubick into the starting lineup and moving Hollis Thompson to the bench. The Hoyas were getting beat up inside against bigger teams as Hollis was playing out of position at the 4. With Lubick in there now, Georgetown's rebounding numbers have improved dramatically and opponents no longer have a mismatch they can key in on. Hollis has been terrific coming off the bench as well, knocking down clutch threes, grabbing rebounds, and generally playing with more abandon now that he is playing his natural position. Since the starting lineup switch Georgetown hasn't lost a game. That's eight in a row if you're keeping score at home. And really, who isn't?
TUB: What are your expectations for this team going forward? Can they keep playing at this level?
CH: Can they? Absolutely. It all stemmed from a change in the way the team plays defense. Every person is individually accountable for the man he is guarding and no one expects to be bailed out by teammates. Will they keep playing at this level is the big question? I think it is very possible. I think the level they are playing at now is what they were capable of the whole season. We told you a couple of times during the Big East Power Rankings that Georgetown was better than its record indicated. This answer will obviously change completely depending on the outcome of tonight's game. I expect they will finish the season with a double-bye and get a 3 seed or better in the tourney. Should be fine in the tourney as long as we don't play Ohio again...
TUB: What are you hoping to see from the Hoyas in March?
CH: The short answer is simple: NOT ANOTHER REPEAT OF LAST MARCH. The Hoyas were a 3 seed last season and look to be in position to be seeded similarly this go around, so the expectation is Sweet Sixteen or bust. I honestly believe that Georgetown can beat any team in the country, and I have to think that the loss to Ohio in the first round last year has taught both the coaching staff and players that no opponent's can be overlooked. I'm not going to be booking plane tix to Houston anytime soon, but with its loaded backcourt and improving frontcourt Georgetown is dangerous and should be a force in the Dance.
TUB: What should UConn fans be most concerned about when the Huskies play Georgetown?
CH: If Kemba is having an off-shooting night I can't see UConn winning this game. The Hoyas haven't been great at shutting down the opponent's top scorer (see Brooks, Marshon and his 43 DAMN POINTS), but they do do a good job limiting everyone else. On offense, the magic number is 8. Georgetown is 11-0 when they hit more than 8 three pointers in a game. They have won games by hitting fewer than 8, but keep in mind that in all five of their losses they failed to convert more than 5 threes. That being said, they have proven during the win streak that they can win even if their shooters are having bad nights.
TUB: What are you expecting to see tomorrow? Score predictions?
CH: I would love to see a repeat of Georgetown's last trip to UConn in which the Hoyas dismantled the Huskies in one of the most impressive road wins in the JT3 era. UConn has weapons but has struggled of late, and I think its reliance on Kemba Walker to score has perhaps hurt its team concept a bit. Georgetown is playing at a very high level right now, and UConn will have a tough time shutting down The Hoya Trinity (Freeman, Wright, and Clark) and an emerging Julian Vaughn down low. Georgetown's Big East winning streak has to end sometime and UConn is the most challenging road game we have left, but I really like the way the Hoyas are playing right now. Final score Hoyas 74 - UConn 69.