- Everyone will remember the Otto Porter led Hoyas, but not many have probably had a chance to become familiar with this group. Who are the players? What's the personality of this group?
To be honest, I think we're still trying to figure that out. What we do know is that Georgetown is going to live and die by its backcourt of Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Starks is one of the more steady point guards in the country and is the engine of this Hoyas team. If he gets into foul trouble and is forced to miss minutes, Georgetown is going to struggle offensively. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is the mercurial 2 guard who can shoot from the perimeter but also talk it to the hole. If he's on, I suspect this game could be close. If he's off, it will likely be a long afternoon for the Hoyas. In the middle we've got UCLA transfer Josh Smith, who has been up and down so far this season. He's a load to deal with in the post but Kansas can throw Embiid and Ellis at him and he'll probably struggle against quicker and more athletic bigs. Role players include senior forward Nate Lubick (who will likely resemble a number of the corn-fed folk in the stands), Mikael Hopkins (an athletic big who has a load of talent but is kind of like a runaway train) and Jabril Trawick (a defensive-minded wing who will probably guard Wiggins in man to man situations).
- Realistically you guys are a win against Oregon away from probably being ranked. The Northeastern game was a setback, but other than that it's been a decent start. That said, I don't feel like Georgetown is getting much respect. Thoughts on why that is? Or am I imagining that?
This is not your imagination and frankly, I think this goes all the way back to the Florida Gulf Coast game. That game left a really bad taste in the fanbase's mouth after what was such a successful season to that point. The opening loss to Oregon in the Armed Forces Classic was fine though it was a bit upsetting in that the Hoyas were right there the entire game and lost by a narrow margin despite shooting 1-15 from three. And just as we were all getting excited to go on a nice winning streak, the Northeastern game in Puerto Rico was a complete shitshow and brought out all the bad memories again. The Hoyas haven't lost since, but the games haven't been pretty, and two recent closer-than-they-should-have-been efforts against world-beaters Colgate and Elon haven't done much to convince us that this season isn't going to be a long one and certainly have yet to convince any pollsters to start casting votes in our direction. This, of course, all changes after we crush you on Saturday.
- What do you make of the new conference and how do you think it impacts the Hoya program longterm?
I don't really like it. I know there are some in HoyaLand who think this new Big East is great and are really excited to embark on this road with FoxSports 1, but to me it's the basketball that really matters and I'm having a hard time getting excited about new potential rivalries with Butler, Creighton and Xavier. I'm sure the rivalries will develop over time and I'm pretty amped to have Bill Raferty and Gus Johnson call some of our games, but right now I'm lukewarm to it at best. My only concern longterm is whether it ends of impacting recruiting, but Georgetown has a great class coming in next season so for now things are fine. If the new Big East starts sending a max of 3-4 teams to the Dance each season and Georgetown is one of the 'middling' teams fighting for a bid, however, I can see this changing the perception of the program for recruits and a gradual decline. Now I'm getting sad. Thanks very much for this question.
- What are the strengths of this Hoya team? Where do they pose the most potential trouble for Kansas?
If Starks, DSR and Smith play as they are capable, the Hoyas can beat teams from the outside and inside. The offense can wear out a team that isn't used to playing at Georgetown's tempo, and though Georgetown tends to stumble in the Big East against teams that are used to its style, the Hoyas have experienced great non-conference success over the years (in November and December at least) against those teams that aren't. The Jayhawks are a young bunch that may tend to overplay their man defensively which plays right into the hands of the 'Princetown' offense.
- Do you guys play zone ever? If not, you will this game so do you think you can be good at it?
I suspect you will see a lot of zone from Georgetown on Saturday as Kansas is simply too fast and athletic for our guys to win individual man to man matchups. Georgetown's zone was amazeballs last season as our wings had great length and could frustrate teams inside and on the perimeter. It's different this season without a great player like Otto Porter so the zone hasn't been as effective, but perhaps Georgetown's doesn't need to be great to stifle the Jayhawks who have struggles against the zone so far.
- You seem to have friends that are big fans of KUBoobs, is there a similar Hoya contingent that we should know about?
Yes, I have (ahem) many many friends who are big fans of this @KUBoobs phenomenon. Regrettably (or perhaps fortunately) there isn't a rival @GUBoobs at this point, however for your viewing pleasure I have provided links to three GU boobs that you may be familiar with: 1) http://www.biography.com/imported/images/Biography/Images/Profiles/C/Bill-Clinton-9251236-1-402.jpg 2) http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d88/kenwoodla/Georgetown/buchanan.jpg 3) http://www.blog.thehoya.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Screen-Shot-2013-01-31-at-4.28.41-PM.png
- Predictions on the game?
Everything suggest Kansas will win this game going away, but the Hoyas have a knack for showing up big when it counts (yeah yeah yeah, except in March blah blah blah) and should give the Jayhawks a competitive game. Georgetown has enough bigs to throw at Embiid to prevent him from having a huge game and the zone will force Kansas to beat us from the perimeter where it has struggled this season. I wouldn't be surprised if the more experienced Hoyas win this game, call it Hoyas 76 - Jayhawks 69.