- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 11, 2012

GEORGETOWN

Record: 23-8, 12-6

Coach: John Thompson III (183-81, eighth season; 251-123 in 11 seasons overall)

Conference: Big East (at-large)

Last NCAA appearance: 2011 (round of 64)

Starters, Pos., Yr., Pts.

Jason Clark, G, Sr., 13.9

Otto Porter, G, Fr., 9.5

Hollis Thompson, F, Jr., 12.7

Nate Lubick, F, So., 3.5

Henry Sims, C, Sr., 11.7

Critical juncture: After a feeble defensive performance in a Jan. 28 loss at Pittsburgh, the Hoyas held four opponents below 50 points during a 6-2 February that featured an overtime loss at Syracuse. That stretch solidified Georgetown as one of the top teams in the Big East.

Reason for optimism:Sims. Georgetown’s offense runs through the big fella, who blossomed as a senior at both ends of the floor. Sims averaged 6.2 rebounds and a team-best 3.5 assists during the regular season and his skillset might be the most difficult facet of preparing for the Hoyas.

Reason for pessimism: The absence of extended winning streaks. Georgetown hasn’t won more than two consecutive games since mid-January, and its last three-game run featured victories St. John’s, DePail and Rutgers. A memorable run will require ending that pattern.

Wild card: Greg Whittington. The freshman has demonstrated a knack for scoring at times this season, which comes as no surprise to those who followed his high school career. His defense, though, is better than expected, and he can provide help at both ends of the floor in a pinch.

The draw: Despite dropping two of its final three games, the Hoyas held on for a No. 3 seed in the Midwest regional, which they will play Friday at approximately 3:10 p.m.. Georgetown will play Belmont, the winner of the Atlantic Sun, in a rematch of a 2007 first round game the Hoyas won 80-55.

Number of note: 0

Combined NCAA tournament victories for Georgetown’s roster. The Hoyas have lost to Davidson (2008 second round), Ohio (2010) and Virginia Commonwealth (2011) in their last three NCAA games.

Projection: These Hoyas don’t look like the sort to suffer a first-round flameout like their two immediate predecessors. It is a group that plays well together and smart in general. But they haven’t done much of note away from Verizon Center since the start of 2012, and a stay deep into March seems unlikely.