- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Georgetown is on the verge of not qualifying for the Big East tournament, ending a string of 24 appearances by one of the original members of the conference.

Last season the Hoyas were in a similar situation but managed to grab a berth in the next-to-last game of the season.

Georgetown’s postseason life on the edge took another turn Tuesday when Miami won at Villanova 59-56, pushing the Hurricanes into a 12th-place tie with the reeling Hoyas in the conference standings. The top 12 Big East teams qualify for the tournament.

Any combination of a Georgetown (13-12, 4-10 Big East) win in its last two games or a Miami (14-15, 4-11) loss to West Virginia (14-12, 6-9) on Saturday, clinches a spot for the Hoyas, who hold the tiebreaker over Miami.

The first of Georgetown’s two chances to make the tournament comes tonight when the Hoyas play Notre Dame (14-11, 7-7) at Joyce Convocation Center in South Bend, Ind.

Notre Dame is floating on the NCAA tournament bubble. If the Hoyas lose to Irish the tonight, they will have a seven-game losing streak, their longest since 1970.

“It’s been frustrating, and I think the team has handled it well,” coach Craig Esherick said. “Everybody on our team has won and wants to win and is doing the best they possibly can.

“It’s something you have to deal with and it’s something I have to watch myself in relation to getting too caught up in what happened in the last game, because we have two more games to play and the Big East tournament to hopefully look forward to,” Esherick continued. “I can’t beat them up or go over and over and over again mistakes. We have to get ready for Notre Dame.”

The Hoyas are coming off their worst loss of the season, a 75-48 no-show last Saturday at Seton Hall, and are 3-12 in their last 15 games.

Georgetown is still stinging from the humiliation of losing to a depleted St. John’s team with four walk-ons. The game is the only win in conference play for the Red Storm this season.

To their credit, the Hoyas rebounded pretty well from the St. John’s disaster by playing tough in losses to No.24 Syracuse (57-54) and No.6 Pittsburgh (68-58) at MCI Center.

“It’s basketball — this is what a lot of us have been doing since we were very young,” Georgetown center Courtland Freeman said. “Basketball is like life, you have ups and you have downs. This isn’t the first time that anybody in their whole basketball career has had a down period. We know it can always get better. We’ve got to make sure that we do the things that we can do to ensure that it does get better.”

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