Georgetown Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup 

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PG Markel Sparks, sophomore
SG Jason Clark, senior
SF Hollis Thompson, junior
PF Nate Lubick, sophomore
C Henry Sims, senior

Key reserves: Otto Porter, freshman; Mikael Hopkins, freshman; Jabril Trawick, freshman

Georgetown has been disappointing the last few seasons. The Hoyas haven’t finished higher than eighth in the Big East the last three seasons. Also the Hoyas have been ousted early in the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons by 14th seeded Ohio and 11th-seed Virginia Commonwealth.

This year will only be more difficult for the now younger Georgetown squad. Head coach John Thompson III lost Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, and Julian Vaughn to graduation.

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His top returner is senior Jason Clark. Clark should be a good three-point shooter, but his three-point percentage dropped by seven percent from sophomore to junior seasons.

Clark, along with returners Hollis Thompson and Nate Lubick , will need to up the production tremendously.

Henry Sims, who played limited in his first three seasons, will more than likely become the starting center. With the starting backcourt leaving there are huge question marks at point guard.

Sophomore Markel Starks played in 30 games as a freshman.

On a positive note Georgetown have six incoming freshman, so coach Thompson can build a strong program in the upcoming years.

The last few season have not been good down in D.C. and this year doesn’t look very promising. The Hoyas may as well look forward to the future and build the program with the six first-year players.

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Louisville Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

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G Peyton Siva
G Chris Smith
G Kyle Kuric
F Jared Swoopshire
F Rakeem Buckles

Key reserves: Stephan Van Treese, junior; Chane Behanan, freshman; Wayne Blackshear, freshman; Mike Marra, junior

Louisville battled through injuries last season and looked good going into the NCAA Tournament, but after a shocking loss to Kenneth Faried and Morehead State had me scratching my head.

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But Louisville comes back looking strong in 2011-2012. Peyton Siva showed that he can be a dynamic point guard in the Big East and I believe he will have a breakout season.

Jared Swoopshire should be coming back after a missing all of last season with an injury.

Louisville also has a great core of guards: Siva, Chris Smith, and Kyle Kuric. The backcourt is the strength with an undersized frontcourt.

Even if Cardinals have a so-so year, it’s okay because Rick Pitino has set the foundation for the future. Louisville had the 8th incoming freshman class according to ESPN. Forwards Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear look to make immediate impact this season.

The only concern I have with the Cardinals is Pitino. Never been a fan of Pitino, especially

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when he ran the Boston Celtics into the ground. But to me it appears Pitino is just waiting to make that jump to the studio. Even after a stunning first round exit last season, Pitino had no problem providing analysis throughout the rest of the tournament. Is Pitino more focused his team or his future career?

ESPN, CBS Rick Pitino is walking through that door.

Pittsburgh Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

PG Tray Woodall, junior
SG Ashton Gibbs, senior
SF J.J. Moore, sophomore
PF Nasir Robinson, senior
C Dante Taylor, junior

Key reserves: Lamar Patterson, sophomore; Khem Birch, freshman; Talib Zanna, sophomore

Last year’s Big East Conference regular season champion is plagued with postseason failure. A third-round loss in the NCAA Tournament to Butler didn’t help the Panthers case after a couple of hiccups in the postseason.

It’s another tough season in the Big East and to me the Panthers can’t keep up with the top tier, UConn and Syracuse.

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Yes, they have Ashton Gibbs, one of the nation’s sharpest shooters, but I feel this isn’t nearly as good as last season’s. The only other returner is Nasir Robinson. Robinson is undersized, but is a hard-nosed player at 6-foot-5. Robinson will be teamed with Dante Taylor in the frontcourt, who is replacing the graudated Gary McGhee (I’m pretty sure McGhee’s ankles are still floating around the court of Madison Square Garden).

The Panthers will be a tough interior defensive team is freshman Khem Birch, a McDonald’s All-American can contribute early. But the frontcourt provides little on the offensive end.
Gibbs is going be more aggressive this season scoring. Pitt’s second option is small forward J.J. Moore.

This season postseason failure may not be a disappointed as I don’t feel this team shouldn’t have high expectations from the previous seasons.