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Entries in Georgetown (5)


No. 2: Villanova vs. Georgetown, 1985

Villanova Beats Georgetown

Each Monday until the national championship is played in Indianapolis on April 5, One Great Season will count down the Top 10 National Championship games since 1979, when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson squared off in Salt Lake City. Today's No. 2 is the 1985 classic between Big East rivals Villanova and Georgetown in Lexington.

One Great Season

This game was so significant in the recent history of college basketball that HBO made one of its excellent sports documentaries about Villanova's remarkable upset.

Thanks to the growing popularity of ESPN and its college hoops pet project -- the Big East Conference -- the Patrick Ewing-led Hoyas had no trouble building its bully reputation in the early 1980s. Georgetown played on television frequently, and by the time the 1985 national championship game rolled around, fans of the sport either loved or hated the Hoyas.


+ No. 3: Kentucky vs Arizona, 1997
+ No. 4: Syracuse vs. Indiana, 1987
+ No. 5: Kansas vs. Memphis, 2008
+ No. 6: Michigan vs. Seton Hall, 1989
+ No. 7: Syracuse vs. Kansas, 2003
+ No. 8: Georgetown vs. North Carolina, 1982
+ No. 9: Duke vs. Connecticut, 1999
+ No. 10: Indiana State vs. Michigan State, 1979

In Ewing's impressive freshman season, John Thompson's team barely lost to North Carolina in the 1982 title game, won the championship in 1984 and found itself a year later needing one more win to get itself into the conversation about college basketball dynasties. Ewing was the undisputed team leader all four of his years there.

Upstart Villanova, with seemingly no match for Ewing inside or Reggie Williams on the wing, pulled off one of college sports' best-ever upsets because it was stronger in only one area: The Wildcats made nine-of-10 field goals in the second half and shot 79 percent from the field for the entire game.

Going into that game, the idea that even a hot-shooting team could beat Georgetown would get laughed out. Great wouldn't be good enough; you had to play perfectly to top the Hoyas.

And although that Villanova team will be remembered as one that played with great heart, Georgetown didn't lack fire or even play poorly. The game is remembered as an upset -- HBO's program is called "Perfect Upset," in fact -- but there was no fluky buzzer-beater or phantom timeout. It was just one team being slightly better than the other.


Tournament Takeaways: What Day 1 Taught Us

Georgetown Loses to Ohio

One Great Season

The first day of the first round of the NCAA Tournament brought great excitement into living rooms, sports bars and office cubicles everywhere.

We probably say it more than we remember, but I can't recall the opening day of America's greatest sporting event being as excellent as Thursday was. Here's what we'll take away from it:


+ BRACKET BREAKDOWN: Scouting Each Region
+ WHY TOP SEEDS WILL WIN: Kentucky | Kansas | Syracuse | Duke
+ RECIPE: 7 Ingredients For A National Championship
+ MYTH MADNESS: 3 Tournament Trends To Ignore This Year
+ FREE ADVICE: Here's How To Win Your NCAA Office Pool
+ QUOTEBOOK: Selection Chairman Dan Guerrero Explains Himself
+ NCAA TOURNAMENT: First-Round Pairings Announced
+ MARCH MADNESS: Tourney No Longer Leads To April Sadness
+ COUNTDOWN: The Top 10 Title Games Since 1979
+ LIST: The Top 10 Analysts In College Basketball
+ LIST: The Top 10 Play-By-Play Men In College Basketball

+ Georgetown, a popular No. 3 seed in the Midwest, didn't deserve the pre-tournament hype it got. I had a funny feeling about the Hoyas all year, remember? Sure they put together a nice run in New York last week, but let's remember, they took 10 losses into the tournament. A 14th-seeded Ohio University team from the Mid-American Conference hangs nearly a hundy on a rough and rowdy Big East side? Ouch. Gary Trent and Chad Estis are high-fiving somewhere.

>+ Mid-majors are back in style this spring. In addition to those OU Bobcats, Murray State (a 13 seed from the Ohio Valley Conference) beat No. 4 Vanderbilt (nice effort, SEC East) at the buzzer, and Old Dominion (11, Colonial) sent No. 6 Notre Dame packing. BYU (7, Mountain West) needed double overtime to oust Florida and Robert Morris (14, Northeast) should have beaten an abysmal Villanova team before falling in overtime.

>+ Just last week, I got some heat for offering up a not-so-fast reaction to Sean McDonough's claim during the broadcast of the Big East Tournament that the league is "clearly the best in the country." My take was that there might be some Big 12 folks who'd be happy to share a contrarian view. Thursday gave us three wins in four tries for the Big 12 and only one win in four tries for the Big East. And those three Big 12 wins were by an average of 15 points.

+ That one guy from BYU is as good as those two writers said he was back in mid-season. Good to see one of the nation's finest scorers get some national attention.

+ Good for Washington giving the PAC 10 -- pretty much a mid-major this year -- some much-needed street cred by beating a solid Marquette squad. I can't remember if it was CBS analyst Seth Davis or ESPN's Doug Gottlieb, but somebody said yesterday the winner of this game would advance to the Elite Eight. I'm a big fan of Lorenzo Romar, and I hope he and his Huskies do make a nice run.

One Great Season on Sports Nation

+ One other thing we learned Thursday was that ESPN's "Sports Nation" program has heard of One Great Season. The popular show tipped its hat to OGS in its "Site We Like" segment yesterday. The darling Michelle Beadle described OGS by referencing a story I wrote this week, saying, "They give us a great rundown of the seven key ingredients every national champion needs to have." Her co-host, Colin Cowherd, followed up with nothing short of authentic sincerity by calling the site "a must read." Thanks, gang! I'm still waiting to find out of this quailfies me for drinks with Beadle. I'll keep you posted.


No. 8: Georgetown vs. North Carolina, 1982

Fred Brown, John Thompson

Each Monday until the national championship is played in Indianapolis on April 5, One Great Season will count down the Top 10 National Championship games since 1979, when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson squared off in Salt Lake City. In observance of President's Day, OGS took last week off, but today's No. 8 is the 1982 title game between upstart Georgetown and a stacked North Carolina team.

One Great Season

It will forever be remembered by casual sports fans as the game where that one guy threw the ball to the other team.

But those who've followed college basketball closely over the years would say the 1982 national championship game between Georgetown and North Carolina was one of the best in the last 30 years.


+ TWASH TALK: Evan Turner Blasts Chris Kramer On Twitter
+ OLYMPIC HOCKEY: USA Gets Great Win, But Road To Gold Still Long
+ OPINION: Remember, Tiger Woods Is Just A Golfer
+ ANALYSIS: Lack Of Depth Will Be Ohio State's Undoing
+ FASHION WEEK SPECIAL: The Top 10 Looks In Sports

An imposing Georgetown freshman center named Patrick Ewing repeatedly was whistled for goaltending early in the game, but his coach, John Thompson, an intimidator himself, urged Ewing to keep doing it to send a message to the favored Tar Heels.

And eventually, Georgetown found itself in position to win the game until UNC's own rookie sensation, Michael Jordan, swished a baseline jumper with 15 seconds left to give his team a 63-62 lead. When the Hoyas brought the ball up to try to set up a game-winning shot, unpressured guard Fred Brown accidentally threw the ball to North Carolina's James Worthy near midcourt, and Worthy raced the other way until he was fouled with two seconds left.

The win gave legendary coach Dean Smith his first national championship, but Ewing and the Hoyas would play in two more title games in the next three years, winning the 1984 championship over Houston.


Tuesday Hoops Notebook

Wesley Johnson

One Great Season

I'm still unimpressed by Georgetown, and in the last month I've probably watched Syracuse more than any other team. After watching the Big East rivals square off at the Carrier Dome Monday night, I like the Orange a lot.

Lacking a true superstar, Syracuse beats you with good balance. Its lineup is stacked with many capable players. Looking for a three? Pass it to Andy Rautins. Want some interior strength? Kris Joseph, Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku are your guys. Need an all-around stud? Give Wesley Johnson a call.

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And don't forget Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine, who, combined with Rautins, average a combined 29 points and 13 assists per game. That's a pretty nice trio of guards.

After surrendering 14 points to open the game, Syracuse steadily crept back into it and even took a lead into halftime. The Orange stretched the margin to more than 20 points after the break, and cruised to its sixth straight defeat of Georgetown.

The best play of the night wasn't a dunk or a trey or a SportsCenter-esque swat. It was actually a long, left-handed bounce pass from Rautins at the top of the arc to Johnson near the low block. Johnson went up for a dunk, but a foul caused him to pull back, though he still converted the deuce and made the subsequent free throw to stretch the Syracuse lead to 55-40 midway through the second half.

If Syracuse can stay healthy, then surly coach Jim Boeheim looks to have a deep and balanced team that will contend for a Final Four spot in Indianapolis.

FINAL FOUR PICKS: Speaking of the best event in all of sports, I'll be making Final Four predictions each week here on OGS. Here's my first guess:

+ EAST: Syracuse
+ SOUTH: Kentucky
+ MIDWEST: Kansas
+ WEST: Texas

TUBE TIME: Keep your schedule open for the following games this week:

+ Tuesday: Michigan State at Michigan (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
+ Tuesday: Kentucky at South Carolina (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
+ Tuesday: Not televised -- Kansas State at Baylor (8 p.m. ET)
+ Wednesday: Vanderbilt at Tennessee (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
+ Wednesday: Florida State at Duke (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
+ Thursday: Wisconsin at Purdue (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
+ Saturday: Duke at Georgetown (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
+ Saturday: Kansas at Kansas State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

CONFERENCE RANKINGS: If the Big East didn't impress you in the first few weeks of league play, Saturday's non-conference wins over the weekend (Connecticut over Texas, West Virginia over Ohio State) should have done some convincing. Here are my conference rankings through Monday night's games:

1. Big East
2. Big 12
3. Big 10
4. ACC
5. SEC
6. MWC
7. Atlantic 10
8. PAC 10


Basketball Notebook: College, Pro Tidbits

Is Georgetown The 11th Best Team?

One Great Season

Flipping the channels around last night, I noticed a few things about the great game of basketball:

+ If Georgetown is the 11th-best team in the country, I don't think college basketball is very good this year. The more I think about rankings, the more worthless I think they are. Not because I think the ranking of a particular team is way out of line, but because there always seems to be a disconnect between the top tier of teams and everyone else. Sometimes that top tier can be six or eight teams, but this year, I think the cut-off separates just Texas, Kentucky and Kansas from everybody else. One of these three teams will win the national championship.

+ I like what Bruce Pearl continues to do at Tennessee, but for some reason I just haven't accepted the Vols as a serious threat in the national landscape. Sure they're an SEC power, and that league is better this year than last, but I just don't think they're there yet. UT is no better than a Sweet 16 team come March.

Gonzaga Beats St. Mary's

+ Gonzaga finally appears to have developed a nasty streak. I watched some of the Zags' game against a good Saint Mary's team, and as expected, Matt Bouldin had a nice night with 22 points. But although freshmen are a hot topic this year, one youngster not getting much hype is Elias Harris, who had 31 points and 13 rebounds. But overall, Gonzaga killed St. Mary's on the boards and played with a physical edge not typically seen from Mark Few's bunch or many west-coast teams in general.

+ On to the NBA, where the Jazz and Cavaliers played the best fourth quarter I've seen in a long time. Utah's 21-2 run gave the home team a 12-point lead, but Lebron James answered by scoring 18 of Cleveland's next 20 points, ultimately leading a 25-7 run that he punctuated with a pair of long-rang threes and a pair of foul shots. Cleveland led, 91-85 with 32 seconds left. But Utah clawed back and won at the buzzer with a three-pointer from Sundiata Gaines, a Queens, N.Y., native signed from the D-League last week, making just his fifth NBA appearance. The game-winning shot was his first NBA three-pointer. The Jazz scored 12 points in the final 32 seconds, a rate of 270 points per quarter.