Nike/LM NCAA Preview: No. 11 Georgetown (Men)
Georgetown is a team trending in the right direction. The Hoyas have quality parts on offense and defense.
The question is how good can Georgetown be in 2016?
Georgetown at a Glance
2015 Record: 10-6
3 Big Things
1. Trending up, going 10-6 after a 4-10 record in 2014.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Hoyas had their best offense of the Kevin Warne era last season. Is it a coincidence that it was assistant coach Justin Ward's first year with the Hoyas directing the offense?
The Hoyas perhaps arrived back on the national scene a year ahead of schedule in 2015, putting together a 10-win season with its six losses coming to Notre Dame, Towson, Duke, Virginia and twice to Denver. Among the wins: Loyola, Marquette (twice), Hofstra and Villanova. Kevin Warne's bunch is focusing on keeping the trend upward. "Things are just really different this year," Warne said. "It's got a lot to do with the guys inside the lines. As we built from being 4-10 the year before and saying we want to change some things, those seniors did a great job. Now, our guys want to take it to the next level."
2. They have a deep group of impact sophomores.
There are only five seniors on the roster, so there is plenty of room for growth among a talented freshman bunch and even a 12-member junior class. But keep an eye on a 14-player sophomore group as well. Starting goalie Nick Marrocco is among them. Peter Tagliaferri could take some faceoffs this year. Stephen Quinzi posted 29 points as a freshman. Craig Berge was an honorable mention All-American midfielder and started all 16 games. Ryan Hursey started seven games as a midfielder. That's only half of the sophomore group.
3. The Hoyas are hungry for more.
"We've just been worried about ourselves," Warne says. "I know that's so cliché, but we're not going to care about who we play against this year. We'll show up for a game and do what we need to do. We got to a point last year where people are patting us on the back, but we still haven't done much. That's a good thing. Guys are hungry. There's a sense of urgency."
Nick Marrocco (So.)*
* returning starters
The junior midfielder was on his way to All-American status before season ending-ankle injury. In seven games, he scored 19 goals out of the midfield. Has a burst and keeps defenses on high alert. One rival coach said Conley was the best midfielder in the Big East. "Sometimes you never know what we would have been if he was healthy the whole year," Warne said.
The Under Armour and US Lacrosse All-American, a freshman from Ward Melville, was one of the top high school seniors in the country last season. The lefty scored 141 goals with 95 assists in his final three seasons at Ward Melville, and should step right on the field for the Hoyas, although Stephen Quinzi, another lefty, scored 20 goals and nine assists for Georgetown as a freshman. Another freshman, Chris Donovan, should also get a significant amount of time as a point-behind attackman and will have an excellent mentor in offensive assistant Justin Ward, who played terrific X-attack for Loyola in his college days.
The goalie started all 16 games as a freshman and posted a pair of 18 saves twice. He made 12 stops in the Hoyas Big East semifinal win against Marquette, Georgetown’s first postseason victory since 2007. “He’s been playing really well,” Warne said in the fall.
Biggest Question Mark
Can they get to the NCAA tournament?
Georgetown played a strong non-conference slate that helped them onto the NCAA tournament at-large bubble come Selection Sunday. But they didn’t have enough big-time wins. If the Hoyas take care of business elsewhere and squeak out even one against the likes of Virginia, Duke or Notre Dame, their chances dramatically increase. Or taking just take down Denver in the Big East. Easier said than done. An unsettled faceoff situation could dictate a lot.
Before a season-ending injury, Peter Conley had 19 goals in seven games for a Georgetown team that make a big leap in 2015. (John Strohsacker)
What rival coaches say about the Hoyas
"Will miss [Bo] Stafford and [Reilly] O'Connor but they have plenty of young talent who can contribute right away. Conley is the best midfielder in the Big East and has plenty of talent around him to make noise."
"Big season last year for the Hoyas. They were one big win away from a NCAA tournament berth and can't imagine this team will not be knocking on the door again. Credit to the coaching staff last year especially with a defensive minded head coach to playing more at a pace conducive to offense which paid dividends for them."
"Lose a few key pieces but also get some back through a few very talented freshmen and Conley returning from injury. Big issue for this team last year and one that must be solved to get this team to the next level is the faceoff game."
"One of the programs that is up and coming. May still be a year away. Two freshman, Donovan and Bucaro, will have a lot to say about that."
"Kevin Warne would text from the shower if he thought his phone was waterproof. The intensity of his commitment to securing great recruits is rivaled by only a few others. I see Georgetown making steps in the future, the near future, but I am not sure this is a program that makes a big splash in 2016."
"I was impressed with them last year and been impressed with their recruiting. They may be a little young to really do last weekend kind of damage, but they're clearly a team that is a postseason-caliber team. I think they have that kind of talent in the program and are headed in the right direction. It's a program that is trending upward in our sport."
This was Georgetown's ratings percentage index (RPI) on Selection Sunday last year, the highest of any team that didn't make the NCAA tournament. Say what you want about RPI, but the number serves as baseline for the tournament selection committee. The Hoyas had one of the tougher strength of schedules in the country, and it's the same story this year, probably even tougher. Fairfield is a new opponent, replacing Vermont.
20 vs. Notre Dame
27 @ Towson
19 @ Duke
March 26 at Marquette
This will be the first conference matchup for both teams. It’s a rematch of last year’s Big East semifinal and a fiery regular-season matchup last spring at Georgetown, won by the Hoyas 10-9. This one will be in Milwaukee, where in 2013 Marquette went on an 8-1 second-half run to beat the Hoyas 11-10. You can go ahead and call it a Big East rivalry game, and one that will figure prominently in the national and league landscape.
A season-opener in Georgia. The Hoyas begin the season Feb. 20 against returning final four team Notre Dame at Kennesaw State University in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Denver and also plays Duke in the same venue that day.
Georgetown isn’t going to sneak up on anyone this year but they also have good mojo heading into the spring. Can the Hoyas sustain it?
comments powered by Disqus