By George, It's a Hotbed of Hoops

By Tony Kornheiser
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Seeing as how today is Washington's birthday, I cannot tell a lie: What a great time it is to be named George, live in D.C. and play basketball!

Three locals -- George Washington, George Mason and Georgetown -- are ranked in the coaches' top 25 and headed for the NCAA tournament. (Alas, George Solomon University's Fighting Typists appear to be on the bubble.)

This is the greatest bonanza for "George" since George Foreman named his five sons George, George, George, George and George so he wouldn't forget their names. It's also the greatest confluence of Georges since Costanza went to work for Steinbrenner, and since Bush 41 begat Bush 43. (Hey, did I mention that 11 days ago Dick Cheney shot a man, mistaking him for a bird? No, it has nothing to do with George, but, come on, it's gold, Jerry.)

George Washington, 22-1, is a dead solid lock for the tournament, maybe as high as a No. 3 seed. At the moment, GW is ranked sixth nationally -- though to be fair, GW's nonconference schedule was as soft as David Wells after a five-course meal.

Georgetown is going in, too. The Hoyas have that huge win over Duke, and another over No. 9 Pitt. The Hoyas have three games remaining: Rutgers and Syracuse at home, and South Florida on the road. One win will give Georgetown no worse than a 9-7 record in the Big East, the best conference this year.

For the NCAA to have any credibility with all its mid-major programs, George Mason simply has to get in. The Patriots have 21 wins, including a noteworthy one Saturday at Wichita State. Currently, George Mason's RPI is 20! That's a showstopper, and better than Georgetown's or GW's. Even if the Patriots somehow lose in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, the NCAA should make the CAA a two-bid league and invite George Mason.

Tomorrow: Maryland contemplates changing its name to George Herman Ruth.

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