It’s an interesting story line. Just don’t expect Coach John Thompson III to get sentimental about it as he and his team attempt to reverse a recent trend of earning a high seed, then exiting early.
“We are a different team. They are a different team,” Thompson said Sunday at a Selection Sunday gathering on Georgetown’s campus. “I’m not going to look at tapes from their 2007 team. They’re not going to look at tapes from our 2007 team. We’re going to get ready for this year.”
The Hoyas (23-8) received a No. 3 seed and will play in the Midwest Region. The 45 minutes the team had to wait to hear its name announced on television seemed like an eternity to senior Jason Clark, particularly because recent losses to Seton Hall, Marquette and Cincinnati might have given the NCAA tournament selection committee enough reason to seed them lower.
“It took a while, so it was nerve-racking waiting for your name to be called,” Clark said. “Because all you want to find out is where you’re playing, who you’re playing, when you’re playing.
“I actually whispered to [fellow senior Henry Sims], ‘What if we didn’t get in?’ ” Clark cracked. “A three seed is well deserved by this team.”
Georgetown will face a 14th-seeded Belmont team that sports a 27-7 record, claimed the Atlantic Sun Conference crown and has won 14 games in a row. The Bruins are averaging 81.5 points per game, which ranks fourth in the nation, and 17.4 assists, which is fifth best.
Belmont Coach Rick Byrd “has seen everything there is to see in this game,” Thompson said. “His teams in the past, there’s a lot of movement, there are a lot of shooters and I think this year’s team is not any different.”
Clark recalled watching the Hoyas defeat Belmont, 80-55, on television in a classroom at O’Connell High School in Arlington five years ago. At the time, Clark was a junior who had already committed to the Hoyas.
During his tenure on the Hilltop, though, Clark has experienced more heartbreak than success in the postseason.
Last season, the sixth-seeded Hoyas were eliminated by 11th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams advanced to the Final Four.
In 2010, Georgetown earned the No. 3 seed and then was stunned by 14th-seeded Ohio.
The year before that, the Hoyas were sent home after one game in the National Invitation Tournament.
“The last two years were a disappointment, we all know that,” Clark said. “We try to get it out of our heads, but it doesn’t leave your mind.”
Asked about those disappointments, Thompson dismissed any connection between those teams and this season’s.
“This group we’re going to take into the game on Friday didn’t play in any of those games,” Thompson said. “Some of the people did. But this group, as a whole, the team we are now is 0-0.”
Hoyas note: The top-ranked high school senior in the class of 2012, 6-foot-10 center Nerlens Noel, attended the Selection Sunday party. Noel, who is also considering Kentucky, Connecticut, Syracuse and North Carolina, received a standing ovation from the approximately 800 fans, who chanted, “We want Nerlens.”