- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2002

Seen and heard yesterday at Madison Square Garden in New York:
DANCING MACHINE Normally reserved Georgetown coach Craig Esherick went bonkers after his Hoyas edged Providence, racing to the opposite end of the floor at the buzzer to dance with his team. Esherick gamboled about awkwardly in a scrum with Wesley Wilson, Harvey Thomas, Drew Hall and Kevin Braswell, a mixture of euphoria and relief on his face.
"I'll tell you what I was thinking when I was running across the floor I was thinking about practicing law," said Esherick, who also holds a law degree from GU. "I've got to get out of this business. We've had too many close games this season, and I was thinking I need to find another profession.
"Honestly, I thought Drew and Wesley made two great plays down the stretch. And that's what happens when you win games like that. You do some crazy things. I'd like to see it on film to see exactly how quick I was getting down there. I've been telling Drew and Kevin that I'm still quick enough to guard them, and today they saw how quick I am."
SHOOTAROUND In a classic Georgetown moment, the entire team spent half an hour after the game shooting free throws. After finishing their interviews, Braswell and Hall joined their teammates. The lights at MSG were off. The fans were gone. But the Hoyas were still hard at work after their season-worst 19 of 39 effort from the line.
"We missed almost as many free throws as they attempted [20]," said Wilson, the primary culprit after making just one of six. "Coach wasn't real happy, so we might be here awhile."
UP NEXT Miami dropped the Hoyas 79-71 at MCI Center in the teams' only meeting this season. The Hurricanes (23-6) feature the tallest starting lineup in the league. 6-7 point guard John Salmons (13.3 points, 6.1 assists) and 6-10 swingman Darius Rice (15.3 points) pose major matchup problems for Georgetown's smallish backcourt.
"That's definitely an issue with them, because they like to try and isolate those guys near the basket and exploit that size," said Braswell. "But I think the main problem we had with them the first time was youth. That was our first Big East game of the season, I think Tony and Drew were still trying to get accustomed to the pace of the college game. And Harvey wasn't even playing much back then. We're a totally different team now, and I think we'll be ready."
On the positive side, Miami does not defend nearly as well or as enthusiastically as Providence, and the Hurricanes literally don't have a bench. No Miami reserve averages more than 2.7 points or 1.9 rebounds. On the negative side, the Hoyas will have to conquer the fatigue factor against Miami, which was resting while the Hoyas were sweating. No team in Big East history has won four games en route to the title, proving that the opening round bye is a huge advantage.
"I think the key to beating them is defending their 3-point shooters," said Braswell. "They really rely on Salmons penetrating and finding Rice and Barnes on the wings for triples. Gerald [Riley] will probably start on Salmons, because he's pretty long, too. Gerald has to keep Salmons in front of him."
NCAA RESUME The Hoyas (19-10) are still thin in the win column. The NCAA tournament selection committee doesn't recognize non-Division I wins, meaning the Hoyas' victory over Division III Marymount does not count in the eyes of the committee. A victory over Miami today would give the Hoyas 19 legit wins, five straight and a fourth win over a ranked opponent. Most analysts think that will be enough to get the Hoyas an at-large bid. But much probably depends on how fellow bubble teams Syracuse, St. John's and Boston College fare in the tournament. The Hoyas have a major edge on BC and Syracuse after finishing 3-0 against them this season.
Barker Davis

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