Editor's note: March Madness is too much for any one person to handle, so I'm adding help. The guys behind Ballin' Is a Habit, Rob Dauster and Troy Machir, will be contributing throughout March and into the Final Four, both with content from their Web site and original articles for us. This post originally appeared at BIAH.
By Rob Dauster
Today proved nothing about Georgetown.
Let me say that again, it proved nothing.
I know what you're thinking: "How is that possible? The Hoyas just ran away from the best team in the Big East!"
Well, we already knew that Georgetown could beat anyone in the country. We already knew that when their offense is clicking like it was today, they can score like they did today. You can ask Villanova and Duke, who both took a solid whooping from the Hoyas earlier this season.
Seeing how valuable Monroe, who had 15 points, 10 boards, and 7 assists, is in orchestrating their offense from the post should come as no surprise to anyone.
He's the best inside passer in college basketball, easily," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said after the game.
As good as Chris Wright was this afternoon -- 27 points, 6 assists, and 6 boards is impressive no matter how you slice it -- he didn't do anything we haven't seen before. This was the third time this season Wright has scored at least 27 points. This isn't the first time he's shown the ability to get into the paint at will.
It's no secret that Jason Clark is one of the best glue guys. We've come to expect 3 steals, 3 offensive rebounds, and 4 assists out of him, the 17 points and three threes an added, but not necessarily unprecedented, bonus.
If anything, what we learned today was that, diabetes or not, Austin Freeman is still Austin Freeman.
"Physically, he's at a point where as long as we're monitoring his level, he's fine," Georgetown coach John Thompson said. "As long as he keeps and we keep his levels fine, he will be able to perform."
If anything, a fatal flaw in this Syracuse team may have been exposed.
Look, I've been on the Syracuse bandwagon since they ran through UNC and Cal in NYC back in November. I think this team -- today excluded -- plays a terrific brand of defense in their zone. I think they are efficient offensively. I think they move the ball well, I think they are dangerous in transition. There isn't much not to like about this team. I think they have talent coming off the bench. I think their roster is balanced.
I could go on and on.
But if you were paying attention, you'd realize that in that list, I never mentioned a go-to scorer.
After today, Syracuse is headed into the NCAA Tournament on a two game losing streak. Last Saturday, Kyle Kuric scored 22 second half points to spark a late surge by Louisville that put away Syracuse. Today, the Orange allowed a 22-4 run midway through the second half that turned a nine point lead into a nine point deficit in the span of about five minutes.
So I ask you: does Syracuse have a stopper? Do they have a guy that they can give the ball to when things aren't going well and they really need a basket?
The last two games the answer has been no.
Wes Johnson is Syracuse's most talented player, but can he really create his own shot against a set defense? Johnson has been the most effective this season when he is spotting up from three and using his athleticism to attack the rim, whether in transition or on the offensive glass.
Andy Rautins may be the Orange's most valuable player, but he isn't necessarily a great scorer as much as he is a great shooter with an all-around game.
Kris Joseph doesn't have a jumper. Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson struggle too much from the foul line. Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche are capable point guards, but Sherron Collins they ain't.
That lack of a stopper has cost the Orange two games.
But will it cost them a one seed?
Right now, Syracuse is safely in as a No. 1. But if both Duke and Ohio State win their conference tournament championships, the Orange could be in trouble. If you win a major conference's regular season and tournament titles, you deserve to be a No. 1 seed.
Whether they get a No. 1 seed or not may not matter, however.
"That team is still one of the best, if not the best, team in the country in spite of today's outcome," Thompson said.
"Do I expect them to be a dangerous team in the tournament? Absolutely."