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Syracuse vs. Georgetown basketball preview: Q&A with Casual Hoya

I guess someone has to root for Georgetown, right?

NCAA Basketball: Maryland - E. Shore at Georgetown Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange are not in the Big East anymore, and that’s fine. But you know who still doesn’t think it’s fine? The Georgetown Hoyas, who are desperate for our affection while remaining in a league that forces them to play games in Omaha every year. They’ll head to the more familiar confines of the Carrier Dome this Saturday, however, to get a reminder of what used to be.

Since we’re (thankfully) not Georgetown fans, we went ahead and asked one about what to expect in this game. Casual Hoya, another blog about Syracuse basketball, joins us to talk about the rivalry and this weekend’s matchup. We also answer some questions over there, if you care to venture into that hive of scum and villainy.

Villanova’s done well in recent years, but what do the rest of you Big East leaches have to offer the world?

Can we stop talking about Villanova? I mean, I’m happy they won a couple of titles and saved the Big East and all that jazz, but I’m kind of sick of them at this point. Let’s live in the now, man. It’s Georgetown – Syracuse in the Carrier Dome! Shall we move on? Let’s move on!

Georgetown lost to (former NET No. 10 team) LMU. This seems like a relevant point whenever discussing the current state of the Hoyas basketball program, no?

Sure, though to be honest as soon as I saw that Mike Dunlap was coaching Loyola Marymount, I knew that this game was going to be difficult. You should know what I mean, considering when Dunlap was an assistant to Steve Lavin at St. John’s, the Johnnies beat Syracuse like all of the time. (Note: I have no idea if this is true but the point is that Dunlap is a really good coach and probably should be at a high major.) At the end of the season I don’t think that outcome is going to be considered a “bad loss”, but it certainly did highlight a few weaknesses of this year’s varietal of the Hoyas, mainly that they don’t seem to react well to defensive switches during games and are turnover prone. I’m less concerned about the former against you goobers since you bleed 2-3 for 40 minutes, but the turnovers, oh the turnovers.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Jamorko Pickett won’t be joining Georgetown in Syracuse, since he’ll apparently be on a flight to New Orleans this weekend instead. How will the Hoyas fare without him?

Probably just as they have all season since he’s pretty much been missing in action anyway. Pickett’s vanishing act has been one of the bigger headscratchers for Hoyas fans thus far since he showed so much promise last season, and he’s gone from a guy we were expecting to put up 15+ per game to a guy we’re now hoping can contribute something without dribbling the ball off of his knee out of bounds or passing to a guy wearing the other uniform. Truly bizarre turn of events for young Jamorko, but hopefully Ewing’s benching him last game has made him realize that he’s going to have to earn his minutes on our deep squad.

Also, I’m pretty sure everyone who is reading this would rather be in New Orleans.

Jessie Govan is obviously good at basketball (bravo, you got one!). Anyone else who’s also good at basketball that we should be made aware of in advance?

The aforementioned Pickett is I think good, so you’ll have to at least keep an eye on him, but your real focus should be on Georgetown’s point guard, James Akinjo. Akinjo was a UConn commit before UConn canned Ollie, and Ewing pounced on the chance to get him to Georgetown and did a great job recruiting him. Akinjo is Georgetown’s best true point guard in ages and is our best hope of penetrating your grotesque zone of death. You should also watch out for Mac McClung, a pesky kid that you will hate, and I am going to get naked if he is able to pull of a dunk or two against you. Oh, also don’t forget about Josh LeBlanc, another freshman who is probably already our best defender and will be grabbing rebounds like crazy.

How will the Hoyas look to attack the 2-3 zone?

It starts with Akinjo, who is going to have to be able to hold on to the ball and make precision passes to the top of the zone over or around his defender. This worries me a bit because Akinjo is fairly miniscule, but whatever. Assuming that pass into the soft part of the zone is completed, both Govan and Pickett can in theory make midrange jumpers and cause Syracuse problems. The Hoyas have better shooters from distance on this year’s squad than in previous years, and I suspect Jahvon Blair and Greg Malinowski are going to knock down some threes as the shot clock winds down. If Akinjo struggles with the entry passes, it’s possible Ewing calls upon Jagan Mosely in that role, as he has a couple of years experience against the grotesque zone of death. Bottom line, I expect Georgetown to use Akinjo and McClung to penetrate into the zone, use its height advantage with Govan and Trey Mourning (Son of Zo) and LeBlanc down low and then depend on the shooters to win the day, much to the delight of America.

How is Patrick doing and how involved is Big JT still? We care about them so deeply.

Ewing’s been just fine, thanks. On a PR level he’s been a boon to the program and every recruit lines up to take a picture with him wherever he goes. The problem is that he hasn’t landed any really big fish yet in the Class of 2019, but we can discuss that later. From an Xs and Os standpoint I think he’s been just OK. As mentioned above he was badly outcoached in the 2nd half of that game against LMU, and he has a maddening distaste for using timeouts. That being said, I do think he has a keen awareness for the talents of each player on the roster and has tailored his style of play as such. The Hoyas, for better or worse, are going to run you up and down the floor for 40 minutes.

As far as Big John goes, he still attends games in DC and is involved with the program. I will be sure to send him your best wishes.

Which food-related promo do you prefer: Syracuse’s “Taco Time” awarding fans a free taco whenever the Orange hit 70 points, or Maggiano’s “50 Points for Pasta” deal which takes $10 off when Georgetown scores 50. One of those seems a bit too easy a bar to leap over.

You had me at taco. Listen and listen good: any promo that involves a taco is the best promo. Georgetown used to have this promo for Chipotle where they dropped burritos with parachutes (yes, not tacos but whatever) from the rafters in the arena. You would have thought the crowd at the game were like the Israelites getting manna from heaven. It was the best, man. No one really wants the punishing carbs from pasta. I mean, if I’m saying screw it and going hardcore carb I’m getting a pizza and eating the whole damn thing myself.

What’s been your favorite Syracuse Orange basketball moment from the last 12 months?

How about the time you spelled Boeheim wrong on Buddy’s jersey? That was a gas. Or the time they spelled Roosevelt Bouie’s name wrong on his very own jersey retirement ceremony? That was also a gas. Man, you guys are the gift that keeps on giving! That reminds me, Happy Hanukkah!

UConn’s football team might be decrepit enough for the Huskies to just quit the sport and come back to the Big East. Would you guys actually want them?

Absolutely. Look, the current Big East is fine, but it really isn’t all that fun. In a perfect world I’d like to have all of you gimps back, but certainly UConn and its legion of horrible pasty fans would be a welcome addition back to the Big East, especially now that they have a coach that loves to high-five players and get hyped over wins against Morehead State. I guess when you’re a mid-major those things start to mean something.

When do you estimate is the next time Georgetown sniffs the NCAA Tournament (only to lose in the first round to a double-digit seed, of course)?

To answer the first part of this question, there’s a chance that this year’s squad could be Bubblicious, but that wouldn’t be an accurate answer to the query in the parenthetical. For that answer I will suggest 2021, since Akinjo, McClung and LeBlanc will be seniors and we could in theory be a nationally ranked powerhouse by then and command a high seed. Also, if a Ewing-coached squad loses to a double-digit seed I will be shutting down the blog, so you have that to root for.

Is this series going to continue past this season, especially given the ACC’s jump to 20 conference games starting next year?

My guess is yes, but probably after a year or two off. And that sucks, to be honest. And also to be honest it’s all your fault. But hey, enjoy playing Wake Forest twice per year.

Prediction time: Who wins Saturday’s game, and why?

There’s no way I can see Georgetown winning this game.

Final score:

Hoyas 76

Orange 74

See what I did there?