- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) - Georgetown coach John Thompson III usually measures his words carefully and avoids big-picture statements whenever possible.

But he has made a very un-JT3-like declaration about the Hoyas’ chances in this year’s NCAA tournament, telling a gathering on selection Sunday that: “We plan on being around for a while.”

A long run is indeed a possibility for Georgetown in a year with no runaway Final Four favorites. The Hoyas are seeded No. 2 in the South and begin play Friday against Florida Gulf Coast.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ John Thompson III took the microphone and made a very un-JT3-like declaration.

Speaking in front of the Georgetown players, cheerleaders, pep band and the 1,000 or so students and other fans who had crowded into the campus dining hall to learn the Hoyas’ NCAA tournament seeding, Thompson thanked them all for coming and added: “We plan on being around for a while.”

And, no, he was not talking about loitering for an extra hour or two by the hot dog and nacho bars.

The coach who almost always measures his words carefully and avoids big-picture statements whenever possible has, in his own way, let it be known that he’s expecting more than the usual when his Hoyas, seeded No. 2 in the East, begin the NCAAs with a round of 64 game against Florida Gulf Coast on Friday in Philadelphia.

As the crowd began to filter out from the Sunday gathering, Thompson was asked if his statement was a reflection of his expectations for this year’s team. He answered simply: “Yep.” Asked to explain himself further, he laughed and playfully said he was indeed talking about sticking around in the dining hall, then eventually shut down the topic with: “I’m not commenting. Next question.”

His players were more than happy to interpret.

Forward Nate Lubick: “I think he realizes we’ve got a pretty good group of guys this year, and we’re going to be a tough team for any team in this tournament to beat.”

Big East player of the year Otto Porter: “We’re looking to go to the Final Four.”

Thompson has been to the Final Four with Georgetown, taking a team led by Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert to the national semifinals in 2007. Since then it’s been nothing but early exits, with no Hoyas team advancing past the first weekend.

Asked how the squad can learn from those defeats, junior point guard Markel Starks said: “It’s the thing between your ears, and the thing off to the left of your chest. It takes a lot of that. … Having those losses, it puts an extra chip on your shoulder.”

Thompson doesn’t speak with the bombast of his Hall of Fame father, who coached Georgetown to three Final Fours in the 1980s, but that makes the younger Thompson’s best sound bites all the more memorable. It was on the day he was hired in 2004 that he said: “A few people have forgotten about Georgetown, but we’re going to work our butts off to remind them” _ a quote that inspired T-shirts in the student section at the Verizon Center and proved prophetic in the years that followed.

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