Also, teams that achieve a lot in the regular season, and likely have secured NCAA bids, sometimes ease off the accelerator in conference tournaments. It’s human nature to let up a little bit when you’re already in a good place. But that’s not how Georgetown operates.
Thompson maintains a narrow focus. It’s all about the challenge in front of him. No big-picture stuff until the season is finished.
“We don’t want to sit and take stock of the season and say, ‘Ah, I’m satisfied,’ ” Thompson said. “We don’t approach the season, the games, like that. You have enough good halves, that turns into enough good games. You get enough good wins, then that turns into a good season.”
Georgetown’s season was headed in the wrong direction in January. The Hoyas twice scored fewer than 50 points in starting 0-2 in Big East play. They were 2-3 after a road loss to South Florida, which has no other wins against conference opponents. Georgetown hasn’t lost since.
The Hoyas’ run has coincided with forward Otto Porter Jr.’s emergence as a national-player-of-the-year candidate. Clearly the best player in the Big East, Porter seems to make all the timely shots and big plays for Georgetown. It would be a mistake, though, to call Georgetown a one-man team.
The tough-minded bunch is outstanding defensively. “They do such a good job” on defense, Rutgers Coach Mike Rice said. “Everyone [in the conference] talks about how well they communicate and how well they switch.”
A formula of defense and Porter’s scoring has fueled Georgetown’s steady climb in the standings and polls. Against Syracuse, Porter scored a career-high 33 points — the most ever by a Hoyas player against the Orange — as Georgetown ended Syracuse’s home-court winning streak at 38 games.
“We’ve just got to keep it going,” Porter said. “We’ve got to stay working at it . . . coming into practice with the same mind-set that we want to win.”
That’s what has gotten the Hoyas this far. They’ve already had a great season and are making a strong case for a favorable spot in the postseason. It’s an argument that should be hard for the committee to ignore.
For previous columns by Jason Reid, visit washingtonpost.com/reid.