When he heard that Kansas had lost Friday night and Providence had fallen Saturday, Georgetown Coach John Thompson knew there would be no need to sit by the telephone yesterday awaiting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
So he went out recruiting, to the city championship game at Cole Field House knowing the NIT should call by early evening. It did. The Hoyas, ranked as high as 14th in the wire-service polls last week, will play virginia at Charlottesville at 8 o'clock Wednesday night.
five minutes after the Hoyas got the word, Thompson had them practicing at McDonough Gym. "That's the way we function here," he said, with a laugh.
The Georgetown-Virginia survivor will play the winner of the March 10[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] That quarterfinal also will be played at a regional site, with the winner advancing to the March 19 semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
Guard Derrick Jackson, the Hoyas' all-time leading scorer, is expected to be released from Sibley Hospital today. He has been getting treatment for a bleeding ulcer since Wednesday, when the Hoyas, without him, lost to Virginia Commonwealth in the ECAC playoffs.
Thompson reported that Jackson was feeling "much, much better." He said the senior's availability for the NIT was questionable, "not because of what I know, but because of what I don't know." He should know more today after talking with Jackson and his doctors.
Georgetown has been gearing for its third NCAA appearance. They had won the ECAC Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden and were taking a 21-4 record into their final regularseason game, only to be upset by Fordham. Then VCU stunned the Hoyas in the ECAC playoffs.
"You have to be disappointed, but at the same time we have a lot of things to be thankful for," said Thompson. "you have to be positive; it's tough to depend on what other people do (to get an NCAA bid)."
By that, Thompson was referring to his longshot hopes that the teams who should win conference tournaments would, leaving possibly two or three at-large berths available to the Hoyas. But it did not happen that way. Syracuse, Kansas and Providence all went instead as at-large entries.
Georgetown now will have been to the NIT the past two years and to the NCAA the two years before that.
"I definitely feel proud the kids have been able to get to a postseason tournament four years in a row," Thompson said. "Of course, you aim toward the NCAA and, by the same token, I feel there are a number of people who wish they were in the position we are now."
The NIT makes many of its pairings based on box-office attractions and size of home arena. Therefore, Georgetown likely will have to win twice on the road to make it to Madison Square Garden.
McDonough Gym, Georgetown's homecourt, seats 4,500
"That's the only reservation I have about the NIT . . . that it's a national tournament and you play people on their homecourt. But this is something we knew about when we accepted the invitation, and we'll deal with that."