1st Rd. Georgetown Takes on Belmont

John Thompson is on the bench and Patrick Ewing is on the court. Once again, Georgetown looks primed to march through March.

A quarter-century after Thompson and Ewing led the Hoyas to the 1982 national title game, their famous-named sons have surging Georgetown ready for another run through the NCAA tournament.

Oddsmakers have made Georgetown -17 point spread favorites (College Basketball Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 124 total points (View College Basketball Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 75% of bets for this game have been placed on Georgetown -17 (View College Basketball Bet Percentages).

John Thompson III has coached the Hoyas (26-6) to wins in 15 of 16 games and to the No. 2 seed in the East Regional, where they will play 15th-seeded Belmont (23-9) in the first round Thursday.

``It'd be good, not only because they did it, but because we're doing it,'' Patrick Ewing Jr. said Wednesday. ``Every college player wants to make that run, and we feel like we're in a good position to make that run, so hopefully we'll do it.''

The older Ewing was a freshman star on the elder Thompson's 1982 team that reached the national title game before losing to North Carolina, then two years later won the program's only national title in intimidating, physical style.

A generation later, their sons are two of the key components of the team that has Georgetown dreaming big again.

``I feel like Georgetown is back,'' Big East player of the year Jeff Green said.

The Hoyas haven't been seeded this high since 1996, when they also were a No. 2 seed and the senior Thompson led them to the East regional finals.

``I hope that when you look at our teams, you see some similarities between what we do and what they did, but at the same time I don't get caught up in 'Let's do this because Pops did it this way,''' Thompson said.

Instead, the son of the Hall of Fame coach's trademark is the methodical, precise offensive system he learned as a player and coach at Princeton. It helped them breeze through the Big East tournament and cemented them as a chic pick to reach their first Final Four since 1985.

``In this day and age, with access to information and the world we live in, you'd be a fool to think they were not seeing'' praise and predictions, the younger Thompson said. ``Our group has been focused. We understand that it's about us, and it's irrelevant what people think or what people are saying. You have to come out and play.''

Belmont is trying not to get caught up in ``Hoya Paranoia,'' even though some Bruins said they grew up idolizing Georgetown low-post threats Alonzo Mourning and Ewing's dad.

``Being a center myself, watching those guys back in the day, I've always kind of looked up to Georgetown as a 'post university,''' Belmont's Boomer Herndon said.

The Bruins bring a seven-game winning streak into the tournament, and have three starters back from last year's team which also was a No. 15 seed with a difficult first-round opponent.

Belmont's players admitted to being star-struck before their first-ever NCAA appearance, a 78-44 loss to eventual national runner-up UCLA.

``It's very hard not to be just happy to be there when your school goes for the first time, and I didn't do a good job of negating that because I was just happy to be there, too,'' Belmont coach Rick Byrd said. ``This year, we're more focused, but that doesn't make us as good as Georgetown.''

The Hoyas are 16-1 in their last 17 first-round games, with the lone loss coming against Charlotte in 1997 - the same year Belmont made the jump from NAIA.

``As long as you're in the tournament, you should be in it to win it,'' Ewing said. ``Whatever seed you get, whoever you play in the first round, that shouldn't really matter. You should always have that same goal - to get to the championship game, and win it.''

by: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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