- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

Back to life on the bubble of the Big East tournament, that is.
Everything appeared fine for the Georgetown Hoyas in qualifying for the conference tournament until about suppertime on Saturday, when Rutgers shocked No.9 Notre Dame.
The Hoyas (13-12, 5-9 Big East) now must win one of their two remaining games to clinch a conference tournament spot and become eligible for NIT consideration. If the Hoyas lose both games, the Scarlet Knights (12-14, 4-10) would have to drop their last two to enable Georgetown to back into the Big East tournament as the West Division's sixth seed.
Georgetown can eliminate any such drama with a win tonight over West Virginia (13-13, 4-10) at WVU Coliseum.
"It boils down to a lot. We need to get that win, get back into the gym and work and try to get that win and get into the Big East tournament," Georgetown shooting guard Gerald Riley said.
No charter member of the Big East which Georgetown is has failed to qualify for the conference tournament since the league adopted a 12-team field three years ago. The Hoyas are in fifth place in the West Division one game ahead of Rutgers and West Virginia. The top six teams in each division qualify.
The Scarlet Knights hold two tiebreakers over the Hoyas if the teams finish with identical conference records. Rutgers concludes its season with two road games against beatable St. John's and No.15 Syracuse. Meanwhile, the Hoyas wrap up their season Saturday against the talented Irish at MCI Center.
The Hoyas can control their destiny by winning tonight. West Virginia plays host to lowly Virginia Tech on Saturday in its season finale.
"We have to come ready to play," said forward Mike Sweetney, Georgetown's leading scorer at 22.8 points a game.
The good news for the Hoyas is that they have won their last two road games after losing their first seven. However, the inexperienced Mountaineers are much better at home, where they have gone 8-4 this season. In those four losses, the Mountaineers were blown out only twice by 19 points to No.8 Pittsburgh and 14 points to Syracuse.
The Mountaineers, who start three freshmen and two sophomores, gave the Hoyas a game in the first meeting of the season. West Virginia enjoyed a 74-69 lead with 1:02 left only to watch Hoyas point guard Tony Bethel send the game into overtime with a double-pump 3-pointer from the left wing with 2.1 seconds left in regulation. Georgetown went on to win 84-82.
The Mountaineers have lost four in a row but have been competitive. Three of the losses were by four points or less.
If West Virginia wins tonight, the Mountaineers would hold the tiebreaker over the Hoyas because of a better division record.
The Hoyas are coming off a tough 93-84 overtime loss to Syracuse on Saturday. The Orangemen slaughtered the Hoyas on the glass 60-43 and grabbed 24 offensive rebounds. Giving up that many second-chance opportunities this late in the season is cause for concern.
"Clearly, the West Virginia game is important," Hoyas coach Craig Esherick said. "The guys know it. They know the West Virginia game has become even more important."

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