In The Doghouse

         Three straight losses and four out five have the Hoyas in an unfamiliar place- at the bottom of the Big East Conference sporting a 1-4 tag.

        Georgetown started the season hot, going 11-1 in their nonconference games, including wins over ranked teams in Missouri and Memphis on the road, but so far their only win in Big East play has been over DePaul. In their 12 nonconference games, as a team, the Hoyas were scoring 81 points per night on 52.8% from the field and a scorching 42.6% from behind the arc. Through 5 games in Big East play, Georgetown is 1-4, averaging 57 points on a woeful 43.5% field-goal clip and an even worse- 23.6% mark from 3-point range.

        The Big East is talented and deep no doubt, placing five teams in the AP Top 10 and another two in the next 15 (not including the Hoyas obviously). But the depth doesn't end there. Marquette can play any one tough (lost to Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt by less than 5 points), but can catch fire any time- just ask Notre Dame. Add in St. John's, a team that has already beaten Georgetown just two weeks ago, and we could be looking at an astounding NCAA record 10 or 11 teams in the tournament this year.

        What's been the crux of Georgetown's lackluster play so far? Pre-season All-Big East second-teammer Chris Wright's points are down, turnovers up and shooting percentages have taken a dip across all the categories. With a closer look, Wright is averaging 8.6 points per game in the Hoyas' five losses, nearly 6 points per game less than in their 12 wins (14.3 points per game). His assists are down two per game in losses versus wins (4.2-to-6.5).

        Poor defense, poor free-throw shooting and off nights from their senior point guard have hampered Georgetown's success. In their three-guard Princeton offense featuring lots of passing and cutting, screening, rolling and popping, the Hoyas are averaging a lowly 10 assists per game, including just 5 in the latest offensive disaster at home against Pittsburgh.

        To make matters worse, guards Jason Clark and Austin Freeman can't get going without Wright running the offense. He picked up two quick whistles against Pittsburgh and wound up on the bench for most of the first half. Clark scored 5 points and Freeman was 5-for-13 from the field.

        Slumping Georgetown's remedy may be its upcoming schedule; their next two games are against teams ahead of them in the standings, but road games against Rutgers and Seton Hall should pose little problems. Those two games and throw in a mixed-bag St. John's team that has already beaten Georgetown just two weeks ago could either have the Hoyas on their way back upů or even deeper in the Big East bottom.

By Corey Ruff - 1-13-11