- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"We're wary of no one. A good team is never wary. If Larry Holmes had been wary of David Bey he would have lost," said Jackson in yet another pugilistic analogy emanating from the Georgetown camp. Anyone not wary of Georgetown, though, is a major fool.
Item: A worker at the Hartford Civic Center charged with filling the water coolers for the eight teams at the East sub-regional confessed to an enterprising sleuth that Georgetown wouldn't permit him near its cooler. "Guess they're worried someone might contaminate it," he said. Short of poisoning the Hoyas, the key to beating them, if there is one, remains twofold: a) Willingness to take individual responsibility on defense. Forget the zones; Hoya second-story men annihilate zones with their shooting, and Hoya rebounders muddle box-out responsibilities with their spring and zest for combat, and b) When-in-doubt, kick-it-back-out patience on offense. Especially since there is no shot clock in the tournament, a smart opponent must shorten the game, thus negating G'town advantages in depth, shooting ability and shot availability and/or selection. If these problems sound familiar to Georgetown's three rivals in Providence, it is possibly because Georgia Tech has no bench to speak of, Illinois would have trouble shooting tuna fish in a can and Loyola, with Alfredrick (The Great) Hughes, may start firing before the team reaches the Rhode Island border.
This is the "form" regional—all four top seeds having produced blowouts—and it is by far the strongest, thus a good, true test for our Jesuit heroes. Unfortunately, the Hoyas won't have to face both the Fighting Illini and the Ramblin' Wreck—which seem to match up with them best—because they must play each other first.
This is not to say tiny Loyola is not fearless, and rightly so, after shaking off opening night jitters to nip Iona and then pound SMU for consecutive wins numbers 18 and 19. "Georgetown plays a lot of zone but it'll be hard for them to do that against us 'cause we got a lot of shooters," said the nation's No. 2 scorer (26.9 points per game) Hughes, who is a lot of shooters himself. If the Great was sanguine, his running mate, 5'9" Carl (Go-Go) Golston was audacious. "We're gonna take Georgetown to the rim," said Golston. "We're gonna see who can run the best. And we're gonna take it to Pat [Ewing] just like we took it to [SMU's Jon] Koncak."
Before Ewing hears of this and deposits Go-Go gone-gone as if he were a missile in one of those Australian dwarf-hurling contests—make the score something like 140-80, Georgetown—flash back to the Boston shoot-out of four summers ago when four of the current Ramblers' starters represented Chicagoland schoolboys and lost to Ewing's Boston team by a point. "We owe Pat a little something; I know he remembers," says Golston.
But seriously, folks.... Despite the Ramblers' courage and inner-city pedigree diminishing any Georgetown " 'timidation" (Golston again); and even bowing to the fact that the Great, Go-Go and Andre Battle will shoot instantaneously and from distances not even Ewing thought possible or can reach by bus, it is doubtful that the Windy City kids possess enough frontcourt depth to survive, or sufficient poise and passing ability (an exotic art surely of troglodyte origins to the Ramblers) to get the ball over midcourt once the Hoya press cranks up. Loyola's best chance may lie in 80-foot jumpers, and Hughes takes but a few of those a night.
While Illinois arose from a midseason grave dug by horrendous shooting to blast Northeastern and Georgia, Ken Norman emerged as a star in the middle. The hot, confident Illini have size and experience in the corners with Efrem Winters and Anthony Welch, while Bruce Douglas and Doug Altenberger are the toughest defensive guards in the land. If Lou Henson's hulks can slow the tempo and squirrel the naturally conservative Thompson into a deliberate game, they have a chance, as SMU did in a 37-36 loss last year. "We're doing everything well now," says Douglas. "We're reaching our peak, and we couldn't pick a better time."
Ah, but can Illinois beat Georgia Tech, with coach Bobby Cremins cracking the whip, Mark Price and Bruce Dalrymple exhibiting admirable versatility in the backcourt and the Engineers slapping low fives all around? Probably not. Though Tech is getting better by the game, it will still need monster performances from big men John Salley and Yvon Joseph. "I've never played against anybody as big and strong as Joseph," Oklahoma's Tisdale has said. Which is to presume the 7-foot, 27-year-old Haitian sensation isn't about to take any guff. Moreover, he has a nice jumper to draw other centers, even other Caribbean-born ones. "They don't want to fight Yvon, I don't care how big Pat Ewing is," says Salley. "Yvon is ready for father age. He'd beat on the kids if they acted up. Once he told [Maryland's Len] Bias to stop bumping him: 'Lenny, if I hit you, I put you out for the season.' "
Goodness. Stay tuned to see who gets put out of this season.