This is only the beginning of a long discussion for the Georgetown program and its fans. No one person is likely to dope out the true nature of the problem. But, as JTIII said to The Post’s Jason Reid: “Obviously, we have to do something. . . . You have to find [what’s wrong] and fix it. . . . But I will find it.”
That could be an emotionally and psychologically tough trek for Thompson if it means revisiting Carril’s methods, which he has already altered to a degree.
Ironically, Big John had just the opposite philosophy — end-to-end pressure defense as an option when needed, plus constantly pushing for a faster tempo. The best Hoyas teams of that era thrived in a chaos that they had created. Taught by Red Auerbach as a Boston Celtic, John Thompson Jr. believed in the fast break, the spontaneous explosion of talent. And part of him just loved to raise hell and see what happened next.
No coach can deviate too far from his core personality and be successful. Thompson’s son is meticulous, unemotional and studious by nature. He’s more a teacher of techniques and, for me, probably a better game coach than his father. He’s already done far too much, including a trip to the Final Four in 2007, to require any radical makeover. And he’s run a classy program whose players graduate.
But something needs to change.
If the Hoyas could just get past the first weekend, their style of play and Thompson’s coaching instincts would probably do extremely well deeper in March because the same factors that have produced Big East success would translate to the tougher teams they’d face then. Remember how the Hoyas tore up North Carolina to reach the Final Four in ’07?
Perhaps, late in the regular season, Thompson could emphasize some faster-tempo approaches that would be options if the Hoyas find themselves in early-round trouble. The Hoyas have months to consider those, and countless other ideas. They shouldn’t change too much, because they’re closer to their goal than their March results suggest. But they haven’t just been unlucky to hit hot teams. The Hoyas have often looked lost at sea, too.
Good thing Thompson went to Princeton. If he can figure out this mind-bending puzzle, then March may become a happy month on the Hilltop. But it sure isn’t now.
For previous columns by Thomas Boswell, visit washingtonpost.com/boswell.