Georgetown started this NCAA tournament as the top seed and the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, and through the first two rounds of tournament play seemed to define the phrase "tournament tough."

Not a day goes by when Coach John Thompson doesn't say, "We're not unbeatable." Perhaps not. But it must be at least a little bit unsettling for his opponents that Georgetown appears to be playing better now than at any other time this season, going into Thursday's 9 p.m. East Regional game at Providence, R.I., against Loyola of Illinois.

The Hoyas (32-2) even are coming up with plays that seem impossible to counter, like a 1-3-1 zone defense that caused havoc for Temple in Saturday's 63-46 victory over the Owls.

Temple players acknowledged they could barely see their teammates through 7-foot Patrick Ewing or his substitute, 6-11 Ralph Dalton, who were at the top of the zone.

And the most formidable sight probably was Georgetown's use of the spread offense, which looked to score more than delay.

Michael Jackson, Georgetown's point guard, ran the four-to-score spread about as well as possible. When Temple played fine defense on the four cornermen, Jackson went one-on-one and scored layups or went to the foul line.

Jackson refused to take the credit himself. Asked if he watched North Carolina's Phil Ford run the spread in the mid to late 1970s, Jackson said, "I'd watch the way Carolina ran it as a team . . . Phil Ford got much of the credit, just as I'm getting now. But if David (Wingate) and Reggie (Williams) couldn't handle the ball as well, or if Pat and Bill (Martin) didn't know when to come up, or go back door, it wouldn't work as well.

"Sometimes we practice it an entire practice, the different aspects of it, the plays you can run off of it."

Those are just some of the things Loyola will have to worry about, especially since none of the Ramblers' regulars -- like Temple -- is taller than 6-9.