Lost in the hoopla of Hoya Paranoia pt. 2 is the tremendous achievement of the George Washington Colonials.
GW has made it to the NCAA Tournament three years running (a longer streak than any other DC area men's team), and they're looking to notch their second win in as many years.
Last year, in one of the most awful hose jobs on recent memory, GW was given an 8-seed after finishing 26-2. Not only were they an 8-seed, the Colonials got to face UNC Wilmington and overall 1-seed Duke in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sweet deal. Compared to that, this year's seed is a gift-wrapped basket.
Three reasons George Washington can advance to the Sweet 16...
The seed. As an 11-seed, George Washington University will play 6th-seeded Vanderbilt University in the first round. If they get past Vandy, they'll match-up with either Washington State or Oral Roberts. GW can beat all three teams. Washington State is so inexperienced that no one on their team has ever played in the NCAA tournament before. Oral Roberts, seen by many as a Cinderella candidate, is still the weakest team in this pool. Also, all these games will be played in Sacramento, California, not exactly a home-court advantage for anyone.
The athleticism. The Vanderbilt match-up is great for GW. Their athleticism could push them by the slower Commodores. I envision Regis Koundijia and Rob Diggs unleashing hell on the defensive end and when going for up-for-grab rebounds. Steals, blocks, and fast breaks will lead to big wins for GW.
The experience. Another key strength of the Colonials is their veteran experience. Carl Elliot is a senior and Maureece Rice is a junior. Never underestimate the importance of guard play in the early NCAA rounds. Never. They've been dancing three years running and a Cinderella splash is not out of reach.
Although the Colonials didn't win the Atlantic-10 regular season crown, (they finished 3rd behind Xavier and UMass), they did string enough victories together to claim the A-10 Tournament Championship. Some might say their title might be tainted because they didn't do any of the leg work. After all, Rhode Island took out Xavier and St. Louis took out UMass. However, GW opportunistically made the most of their chances by wiping both SLU and URI out. Can't blame them for that.
Normally, I don't look favorably on teams that snuck into the NCAA Tournament through the back door, but GW's speed, experience and strong back court will make them a difficult out. I got 'em dancing all the way to the Sweet 16 before bowing out to the Hoyas. But who knows, maybe this year's George Mason is the other other 'George' team from D.C.
A homer? Me? No way.