The loudest complaint you will hear from media members about the Georgetown Hoyas this season is about the schedule. That, in year-one of the Patrick Ewing era, the Hoyas have decided to line up the non-conference docket with a bunch of cupcakes.
That is a factual take. Also true? People outside of the media and super-fan bubble will not worry or care about that in the slightest when the end of the season hits.
Georgetown, widely projected to finish as the Big East’s cellar-dweller this season, is playing a game of optics. Media members — and others who believe they are in the “know” — can scream all they want about how invaluable those victories will be, but when Johnny McCasualfan revisits the overall record at the end of the season, seeing far more wins that the Hoyas should probably have, he will view it as a success.
In an incredibly blunt and direct way, Georgetown is banking on Ewing cashing in on his own goodwill. That he, and his legend, need a season or two to adjust to the collegiate game, and to help make it as consumable as possible for fans within the Georgetown bubble, the Hoyas are going to provide some wins — even if they are coming against the University of Broken Dreams and Club State Pool Cleaners of the world.
Yes. Yes. You might “get it.” The media member “knows” Georgetown will actually be bad. But that isn’t what any of this is about. It is a planned tactic by the university to both allow an adjustment time for Ewing, as well as to sell (even if false) year-one improvements to people who support the program.
When the Big East Conference schedule hits, and the Hoyas have a deceptive yet impressive win-loss record, there will be two separate, yet equally important observers. Those who see it as the scam that it is, and those who prefer to be willingly ignorant about it.
Either way, the Hoyas were never going to be good this year. Not in the first year of a new coach who is taking over a dumpster-fire. Might as well sell some counterfeit goods, because leaving this season with an awful record isn’t serving the program. People can scream about “getting better by playing better opponents” all they want, but this team is too far removed from competence to worry about that.
What it can worry about is trying to sell a new — or, maybe, reclaimed — culture from the Hoya Paranoia record. The easiest way to do that is with wins, no matter how they are acquired.
Every Team Should Be Ranked
I have written about this before, but I can’ remember for what outlet or where it is. Wanted to preface that section with that, as a form of disclosure before moving forward.
We’re only a few days removed from me saying preseason polls are worthless. And they are. However, as we noted then, they are valuable for one specific reason, no matter the time of year. For the sake of keeping the casual fan in the loop.
The coveted “casual fan demographic” is a somewhat false phrase us college basketball writers use to politely say “uneducated consumer.” After all, no one likes to be called dumb — though, that is never a writer’s intention when saying “casual fan.”
Alas, casual fans aren’t consuming so much basketball in a given week that they know who is good in the Pac-12 and also what sleeper team from the AEC is worth keeping an eye on.
A way to fix this is to have an official ranking of every Division I team in the country. All six-billion of them.
Some media outlets actually do this during the preseason, but do not keep up with it after the season begins (god bless them if they tried).
What if someone — or, really, something — did? What if you turned on ESPN during the non-conference portion of the season, presumably to watch the aforementioned Hoyas play the University of Broken Dreams, and there is an official ranking next to each team?
#203 Georgetown Hoyas vs #3,042 University of Broken Dreams
We would all know what is at stake, and what is expected, even if we are unaware of each — or both — of the teams’ abilities for this season.
This theory doesn’t work as well when two “bad” teams are playing, but it would work awesomely to help paint the picture of a looming upset.
As an example:
Say at some point early in the season that Duke ends up being the top-ranked team in the country right before it is set to play Mercer (it is Mercer for the sake of NCAA Tournament jokes). How awesome would it be if the game started by having the “1” next to Duke and the “200” (or whatever) next to Mercer, then as the game progresses and the upset seems like a real possibility, you are able to put some context into how massive of a deal Mercer’s victory would be?
Without the ranking, a casual fan (or just those who only follow power conference hoops), would know it was an upset, but would fail to realize the scale.
Scale matters. Just ask your…
Other Musing (Getting Old Stinks)
Some people will try to spin getting older as a good thing because you gain wisdom. Those people are liars.
Just because you lived longer than someone else, doesn’t inherently mean you are wiser. That should probably go without saying, but it needs to be said, as memes all over Facebook pretend otherwise.
I am 34. That’s not old by most definitions, yet I feel different. I pee in the middle of the night, feel the being phased out of cool young people stuff in real-time, and it has dawned on me that I am that “old guy” teenagers probably make fun of as I cut the grass.
As an aside in an aside (and worth mentioning): I know like cutting the grass. Never in my life was that the case. A possible side-effect of being old, I am guessing.
Being my age is that weird transitional point in life when responsibilities are important. So important, in fact, all that neat stuff that came with youth — having dreams, friends, a life — truly goes out the door. You can have some of those things, however, they can only operate within your daily life in a much smaller way.
You (me) need to put others and responsibilities over all those (selfish) things we (me) took for granted only a decade earlier.
Do I like some of the stuff that comes with getting older? Yes. Only a few things, though, and they all fall in the selfish category (ex. I really like being a dad).
Nevertheless, if anyone tries to tell you getting older isn’t as bad as people make it seem to be, clutch your youth will all your strength, then kick that person right in the face.