Seton Hall Preview
Jan. 25, 2009
Sunday morning I'll get on a Hoya Blue bus and take in my sixth BIG EAST away game during my four years at Georgetown. With no offense to the Naval Academy and Old Dominion, two other Hoya Blue roadtrip destinations of the past four seasons, early-season local roadtrips are nice but can't compare to the BIG EAST. Especially among the founding members of the conference, there's a shared tradition and importance when you visit another BIG EAST arena. Even unaided by scoreboard gimmicks, other fans understand context and significance intuitively. Nowhere is this more pronounced than at Villanova and Syracuse, where Hoya fans are bound to be treated with hostility because, well, we're Georgetown. Walking through the concourse, you're just as likely to get needled about a game or player from five years ago as how ugly your hat is. It's one of the reasons that the BIG EAST Tournament is one of the best sporting events I've ever gone to. There's no match for the combination of players, coaches, and personalities (on-court and off) that you see over a four-day span in Madison Square Garden.
One of the reasons I keep going on these trips--aside from the joy of spending hours in a bus with 50 other Hoyas and whatever Eurodance music is popular at the time--is that seeing the Hoyas play on the road is a great way to get some perspective. Perspective means a number of things, not least of which includes seeing in person how the team reacts to a hostile crowd. There are a fair amount of things that can't get picked up on TV, like watching the team in huddles during media timeouts and seeing shootarounds that point to a certain player's composure.
Speaking of perspective, it's a lot easier to see the whole court and watch off-ball motion from the upper deck of the Wachovia Center/Carrier Dome/WVU Coliseum than among hundreds of students in the lower bowl of Verizon. The more salient perspective, though, is that every time I've gone on a BIG EAST roadtrip I've learned something valuable about the team we had on the court or the Georgetown basketball program in general.
1/19/07: Georgetown 74, Seton Hall 58 (Continental Airlines Arena): Jon Wallace scored a career-high 21 in his first of three games at Continental Airlines Arena that year. Putting faith in his outside shooting in East Rutherford would pay dividends later against North Carolina.
2/17/07: Georgetown 58, Villanova 55 (Wachovia Center): That year, Jeff Green was who you wanted to have the ball when you needed a game-winning shot.
1/29/08: Georgetown 58, West Virginia 57 (WVU Coliseum): The 07-08 Hoyas were going to be defined by their poise late in the game and their games that came down to the last possession.
2/16/08: Syracuse 77, Georgetown 70 (Carrier Dome): Three years at Georgetown will teach you to dislike Syracuse, but to get that real, deep, authentic rivalry hatred going, there's nothing better than being an opposing fan in the Carrier Dome.
2/18/08: Georgetown 68, Providence 58 (Dunkin Donuts Center): The Dunk is no Carrier Dome.
It's safe to say that this year's Georgetown team is at a fairly critical juncture. With what is allegedly the most difficult stretch of the schedule over, the team is either about where you expected or wildly underperforming, depending on how much stock you put in the win over UConn. With a stretch of games coming up against less-heralded teams, the Hoyas have a chance to right the ship and correct some of the problems that have popped up in the first half of the season. If previous history holds, right about now is when we as fans learn something important about the identity and prospects of this year's team. I personally can't wait to wake up at 7:00 on a Sunday morning and know that I'm about to find out something very important.
For those of you who aren't trekking on either the Hoop Club roadtrip or the Hoya Blue Bob Sinclar Express, here are the details for Sunday's game:
Georgetown (12-5, 3-3) at Seton Hall (9-9, 0-6)
Prudential Center (Newark, NJ)