Georgetown vs. Belmont +3.5 O/U 133
First, let me establish the fact that Georgetown should be on upset alert right here in Round 1. Let’s start with the Hoyas miserable recent track record. They lost in their opening round game to VCU last year in blowout fashion (74-56 as 5.5-point favorites) before the Rams had built up their boatload of momentum. John Thompson III’s squad had the exact same result in 2010; a double-digit loss as a favorite in their first tourney game, losing 97-83 as 13.5-point favorites to Ohio. In ’09, they lost their NIT opener to Baylor. In ’08, they were upset as chalk in the second round by Davidson; another loss for the Hoyas as the higher seeded favorite. This track record of failure in the Big Dance is most assuredly a pattern, something we need to consider as the fragile Hoyas get ready for their opener on Friday.
The next step is to look at what caused the Hoyas to lose their eight games this year. The pattern was on full display in each of their last three losses to good, but not great, teams (Cincinnati, Marquette and Seton Hall). In each of those losses, Georgetown committed more turnovers than they forced, not valuing every possession the way they should. And in each of those three losses, the Hoyas couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from long range; a combined 12-of-43 from three-point land. Georgetown struggled defensively in all three defeats, whether they were committing an excess of fouls or they were allowing defensive breakdowns for easy looks. All three factors could come into play again here.
Lastly, we’ve obviously have to be sure that Belmont is good enough to pull off the upset – or at least come pretty darn close. The Atlantic Sun Conference champs won 30 games last year and hung tough for most of the game against Wisconsin in their first round NCAA tournament matchup before falling short. In their previous Big Dance appearance, they took Duke to the wire in the opening round, losing by one as 20-point underdogs. The Bruins have four starters back from last year’s tourney team, and won 27 games this season. They took Duke to the wire again in non-conference play, suffering a one-point loss in Durham, proving once again their mettle against superior foes. Expect a tight contest that could easily come down to the final possession, not a game where Georgetown can be expected to build and maintain any sort of margin.