Wednesday, March 15, 2006 Noon ET

College Basketball

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Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 15, 2006; 11:00 AM

Washington Post staff writer Camille Powell will be online Wednesday, March 15, at noon ET to discuss the Georgetown Hoyas and the NCAA tournament.

Submit your questions and comments any time before or during today's discussion.

Post Coverage: Men's College Basketball

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Camille Powell: Hello and thanks for joining me today -- I figured that after two days of chats with Prisbell and Steinberg, there wouldn't be any questions for me. Happily, there are, so let's get to them. But first, I have two requests:

1. My colleague, Tom Heath, is looking for people whose employers are banning them from watching NCAA games on their computers at work. If you know anyone (or are one of the unfortunates), please e-mail him at heatht@washpost.com, or post something to the chat and I'll pass it along to him.

2. Where should I eat in Dayton? Other than Steak-n-shake, of course.

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Washington, DC: Camille, thanks for doing the chat today. Since you tend to cover Georgetown, I'd be curious to know your thoughts on a few matters.

First, did the Hoyas really deserve a 7 seed? South Florida aside, they were 10-6 in Conference, beat duke, and advanced to the Semi-Finals. They certainly could have been seeded above Oklahoma.

Second, how has Thompson tried to prepare this Team for the Tournament? Having never been, I wonder if the seniors will pull it together and make a strong run.

Finally, I think they could make a strong run to the Elite 8, if they don't lose to UNI. Where do you see them finishing?

Camille Powell: This seems like a good one to start with. As I was watching the selection show and saw the seeds for some of the other BE schools pop up (Syracuse - 5, WVU - 6), I thought that G'town was going to be seeded in the same kind of range. I agree that they could've been placed ahead of Oklahoma.

This team hasn't been tothe NCAA

Camille Powell: tournament, but they have the experience of playing in the NIT (having to prepare for unfamiliar opponents, etc), and they've gone through the pressure cooker of the Big East tournament.

And again, I tend to agree with you -- if G'town gets by UNI, I could see them winning a couple of games. But it wouldn't shock me either to see them lose on Friday.

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Fairfax, Va: Hi Camille,

Yesterday Dan Steinberg took some heat from Mason fans because the Post didn't run any Mason articles when Georgetown, GW and NIT bound Maryland received some ink. Seeing today's paper made everyone feel a lot better. Please let extend our apologies to Dan and let him know those comments weren't directed at him, just the paper for a perceived slight. Mason fans understand the college hoops pecking order in DC, but when we see NIT stories running and being left out, you can imagine our unhappiness.

Camille Powell: Just wanted to post one this for Dan. I'm really looking forward to getting to see both G'town and Mason on Friday in Dayton. The one time I was planning on driving out to Fairfax during the regular season, we got hit with the blizzard.

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Washington, D.C.: Thanks so much for great coverage all year. Loved your article on Darrel Owens -- and all the player profiles...

I love and respect JTIII and wouldn't presume to second-guess him, so can you please explain the logic behind not calling time out with 9 seconds and the ball in the Syracuse game? Why not set up a play?

Also, do you think slowing the ball down so much in the 2nd half ultimately broke their rhythm and made it more difficult to protect the ball, score and manage the clock?

Predictions for the Hoyas in the Tourney?

Camille Powell: JT3 was asked that very question in the postgame press conference, and explained that if you call a timeout, it gives the defense a chance to set up. If you don't call the TO, you get the ball in right away and maybe have mismatches. If you remember last season, G'town won two games (at Villanova and against Notre Dame) on last second plays, and in both cases, no timeout was called. So it did not surprise me that he didn't call timeout against Syracuse.

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Woodbridge, Va: Are you covering both Georgetown and Mason for the Post on Friday?

Camille Powell: I will be covering both teams on Friday, along with Mr. Feinstein and Mr. Wilbon.

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Washington, DC: This is to the GW fans, who I know read this chat (just as I read the GW chat).

OK, you got shafted with the 8 seed, more so when you take the North Carolina factor into considertaion. But at most you deserved a 7 seed.

And now, a rule. When pointing out that you deserve a higher seed, you MAY NOT point to your 2 loss record, best in the nation. You played no one. The only reason you have any wins against a tournament team is because of one of those losses. The teams with only 3 losses got those against actual teams (UCONN and 'Nova split, for example). You moved up the rankings all years, not because you won games, but because teams ahead of you lost. Your SOS is above 200 (not entirely your fault) and your non-conference SOS is above 300 (entirely your fault).

Should you be a higher seed? Probably. But you can't complain about a situation you put yourself in.

Camille Powell: Just wanted to post this. Any GW fans want to respond?

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Alexandria, Va: What does the incoming recruiting class look like for next year? To what extent do you believe JT III is laying the foundation for Georgetown to return to the status of a major national program, a place where highly touted recruits want to attend?

Thank, G'Town Class of '94

Camille Powell: JT3 was already laying the foundation before this season even began. He already had commitments from three of the top seniors in the country, plus one from a DeMatha star -- and that was before the Hoyas beat Duke, won 10 BE games, made the NCAA's. This year's success can only help.

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Buffalo, NY: I know you're covering the Hoyas primarily but have you heard anything on the status of Pops for Thursday?

Camille Powell: I'm putting a call into Steinberg right now, so hopefully I can give you an update before the end of the chat.

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Woodbridge, Va: So when Powell, Feinstein and Wilbon go out to dinner, who picks up the check?

Camille Powell: Not Powell, that's for sure. I was in Worcester, Mass., for the first round of the NCAA's last year with Feinstein, and he took me out to dinner twice. We went to the same Chinese restaurant and he ordered the same dish both nights. Seriously, both men are very kind and generous with their younger colleagues.

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Washington, DC: There are arguments for and against GW and much depends on how one views the A10.

What can be said is this team had a target on its back all season in the A10 and went undefeated against solid teams in some very hostile atmospheres (at Xavier, St. Joe's, Charlotte, etc.).

Also, GW was perhaps the only team in D-1 to not lose a regular season game it shouldn't have. No Vanderbilts or USFs and if you look at all the top teams with the exception of maybe Uconn, they all have some bad losses, some very bad ones.

GW played all year with a high profile and was circled on all their opponents schedules and just won.

If you want to tear them down, you can find numbers to support it, if you want to recognize their achievements you can find the numbers to support that as well.

Camille Powell: A response..

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Washington, D.C.: You may have already fielded this question already, but is there any update on whether Pops Mensa Bonsu will play for GW tomorrow night?

Camille Powell: According to Dan Steinberg, who is somewhere along I-85:

It sounds like Pops will play Thursday, Hobbs said the other day that he hopes to get 10-15 minutes from him. Pops participated in drills on Monday but said he's not 100%. Team did not practice yesterday, and they don't practice until later today.

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GW Response: So, GW wins all but two games? Is that IN-FACT not the best record in D-1 basketball? (not saying GW is the best team) Looks like they are teaching fuzzy math at that school down the road.

Camille Powell: Another GW response. I need to find some G'town questions to answer to avoid turning this into a GW chat...

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Washington, DC: Should I be concerned?

The Hoyas are 4-5 over their last 9, with one terrible loss and no wins over ranked oppenents.

The Big East run was comforting, but what am I missing? Is this really a sweet 16 team?

Camille Powell: I would be concerned about the losses to USF and Syracuse, just because of the way that G'town essentially hurt themselves and lost control of games that they should have won. But I think that the Hoyas will be prepared for Friday.

One of the reasons why I think they can be a sweet 16 team is that they're going to be a very tough team to prepare for on such a quick turnaround, because of their style.

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Washington, DC: "Another GW response. I need to find some G'town questions to answer to avoid turning this into a GW chat..."

Good luck, they are all probably too busy talking about GW on their message board and too nervous about UNI to say much.

Camille Powell: I have to admit I laughed when I read this one.

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Washington, DC: Georgetown is such a balanced team. If you had to point to one or two players, who's going to be most valuable to the team in its next few games?

And in the future?

And what do you think of Pat Ewing Jr? He had a pretty shaky season before coming to Georgetown last year. Smart recruiting move on the part of JT3 or mistake?

Camille Powell: Jeff Green is always going to be one of the keys for G'town, because he does so much for the team. The offense seems so much smoother when he's on the court, and he's one of the best passers in the BE. Darrel Owens is often the x-factor, because when he comes off the bench and is shooting well, it opens things up for everyone else.

I haven't gotten to see much of Ewing Jr., outside of Midnight Madness and one Kenner League game. I was definitely impressed with his athleticism, and JT3 has talked about how he is the one player who really goes after reboudns and just gets the ball. He also might be the emotional leader that G'town seems to be lacking this year.

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Chinatown Hoya: Camille,

Brandon Bowman got a lot of credit in the ND and Marquette games for playing a more complete and inclusive game. Is this an isolated incident or intriguing trend?

Camille Powell: For the Hoyas' sake, I hope it's an intriguing trend. I like Bowman, but he drives you nuts most of the time with his bad decisions or effort. Bowman has been dying for this moment, so I expect to see more of the good Brandon. He said that he didn't bother to watch the Final Four last year because he was so upset after losing to South Carolina in the NIT. I think the urgency of knowing that he's at the end of his career will help him.

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G-town Response: To the first Colonial, you're right, GW only lost one game they should have one. And I bet you if I went down to the local elementary school and mug schoolchildren, ten times out of ten I win the fight.

To the second Colonial, maybe they teach foggy English in Foggy Bottom. Re-read my post and you'll see I do indeed say GW has the best record in the nation. Bravo. You played all but one cupcake, and you beat the tar out of them. And you were justly rewarded with a lower seed than Georgetown, who knocked off the number 1 seed in the NCAA tourney.

Camille Powell: Wanted to give equal time to G'town...

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Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: Has JTIII shown any frustrations with the Hoyas difficulty in closing out games? Obviously, this has been a great year, but there have been several games where 8 point in the final minute were reduced to one or two. And it finally caught up to them against Syracuse. In addition to a need to improve free throw shooting, do you think the Hoyas have a player who can take over a game at the end? That's what seemed to be lacking on Friday.

Camille Powell: The players keep saying that they know how to close out games, that that's one of the things they've learned over the course of the season, yet they still have problems. Missing those free throws down the stretch against Syracuse -- and Hibbert is a good FT shooter -- was inexcusable.

You raised a point that became very obvious when watching Syracuse's run through the BET -- do the Hoyas have anyone like Gerry McNamara, who can just take over a game and essentially will a team to victory? I'm not sure they do. Green might be that player -- he did that in high school when he led Northwestern to the MD 4A title.

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San Francisco, Calif: Next year's Hoya team: better or worse than this year's?

PE, Jr. and the recruits get glowing reports. Jeff, Roy, Jon and the rest of the team get a year older and better. And while the seniors are talented, they can be very inconsistent.

That's one side. Me, I think it is almost impossible to be better when you lose three senior leaders. What's your take?

Camille Powell: I think that the Hoyas will be better next year. Losing three seniors hurts, but there are plenty of players who will step into the leadership void -- the team will finally belong to the Wallaces, Greens, and Hibberts.

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Washington, DC: This is the first time in the NCAA's for these Hoyas, what suggests that they will be ready to beat a UNI team that is hungry and out to prove the strength of the MVC?

Camille Powell: I think the fact that this is the first time in the NCAA's for this team. These seniors have been waiting a long time for this moment. I think both teams are going to be plenty hungry.

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Washington, D.C.: As a long time Hoya fan, it is especially gratifying to see the improvement in the program since JTIII took the reins last season. Despite a couple of disappointing losses (none so much as Syracuse in the tourney), the Hoyas have had a chance to win in every game this season, and given their victory over Duke and very competitive away games against UConn and Villanova, the Hoyas clearly have a shot in every game they play.

Anyway, can you discuss what you see as the keys to the game against UNI on Friday? And to the GW fans, we weren't the pathetic ones who sent fans to your arena to root against you. Which team exactly is obsessed with the other?

Camille Powell: I think it'll be interesting to see what kind of role Hibbert plays on Friday. UNI doesn't have anyone who can match up with him physically.

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Washington, DC: Why is Wilbon traveling with you and Feinstein?

He had said he would be covering the Colonials?

Did he have a relapse in lazy punditry?

Camille Powell: I'm not sure why Wilbon is traveling with us, but I'm glad to have him. He has lots of great stories about the Hoyas, back from when he was beat writer in the 1980's.

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Ocean, NJ: In the wake of Monmouth's terrific showing against Hampton last night, how do you see the Hawks' chances shaping up against Villanova?

Camille Powell: I don't think they have a chance. Villanova is ridiculously good.

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Reston, Va: I have been out here on a work project for 2 months in Dayton and there are really only three decent restaurants out here: The Pine club near the UD campus (great steak house) the cafe boulevard and blue moon , both in the oregon district. Anything else comes with choice of drive through or take out.

Camille Powell: Thanks for all the great restaurant suggestions. I thought I'd post a couple for those people who are going to be following G'town and Mason to Ohio.

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Where to eat, Dayton, Oh.: If someone else is paying, both the Pine Club, for steaks and 50-year-old waitresses who call you honey, and Jay's, for seafood, are good. You should try to get some Skyline Chili while you're there- there's one on Brown St. Walnut Hills is good divey bar near UD, with board games on the ceiling. The other area to check out is the Oregon District- there's a bunch of bars/restaurants within a few walkable blocks there.

Camille Powell: another one...

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Kettering, Ohio: Eating in Dayton:Steak-Pine Club on Brown StreetSubs-Milano's, also on BrownBurgers, etc.-Tank's on Wayne or any "Cold Beer and Chesseburgers"Breakfast-Golden Nugget on Keowee, the one on Dorothy Lane burned.

Have fun!

Camille Powell: One final one. Sorry I didn't get to all of the questions -- I'm still new to this chat thing and I don't work as quickly as Prisbell or Steinberg. Matt Rennie will be on-line tomorrow, so be sure to badger him. Thanks, and enjoy the games!

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