I went to Georgetown University for undergraduate. I’m old, so that was a long time ago (graduated in 2003). Four years after my crew of people graduated, we made a Final Four run with John Wallace and Jeff Green, etc. Pretty much since that happened, we’ve been a semi-laughingstock of the NCAA Tournament after having good, above-average, or generally decent regular seasons. Everyone from Georgetown knows and realizes this. I feel like we’ve maybe reached the end of the road with JT3.
Before I start, let’s be honest about this: in all likelihood, JT3 isn’t getting fired. His dad is the most legendary coach in the program’s history. Graduation rates appear good. We make a cameo in the Top 20 every season. But goddamn it … March. It’s just not fun. A brief primer?
We were a 2-seed. We lost to a 10-seed (Davidson). This one felt bad at the time; in later years, it felt better because Stephen Curry became a legitimate superstar in the NBA. Davidson ran to the Elite Eight that year and lost to Kansas, who ended up winning it all. Not the worst one ever.
Funny story about this one, though: my friends and I were in a period of our lives where we met in Vegas on the semi-annual. In 2008, because we had a good regular season and were a 2-seed, we decided to meet for the Sweet Sixteen/Elite Eight weekend. So of course, we get out there and … Georgetown is already eliminated. I mean, we watched basketball and had fun and bonded with some super Wisconsin bros as they lost to Davidson as well, but still. Weird weekend.
This one was absolutely miserable. We were a 3-seed. Lost to a 14-seed (Ohio). It wasn’t even close. It was, quite literally, a romp. We got John Groce, their coach, minted: this win + mini-run got him a bigger job (University of Illinois). We looked awful from the beginning.
Sadly, I have a Vegas story about this one too: I was meeting up with a different group for the weekend this time. I got so drunk watching this Ohio loss that I overslept my 7:30am flight. I had to get a noon flight, layover in Minneapolis (where I ended up living 2 years later), and got to Vegas around 7pm local. Most of the other first-round games were ending, and I had been hungover and on flights all day. I entirely blame my alma mater for this, not my own poor decision-making.
We were a six-seed and VCU was an 11-seed off the play-in game, if I remember correctly. We got run out of the gym. VCU went to the Final Four that year so it’s not as big a sting, but … it was three out of four years at this point that we lost to a double-digit seed as a single-digit seed. It then got worse.
We were a 3-seed; NC State was an 11. I watched this game at my friend’s (Georgetown kid) apartment in NYC. He has a basketball history (as in, he played in HS). I was never really good at basketball despite being super tall — although I did do a 30-pointer against United Nations International School back in 8th grade, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. So my friend is watching this game and he’s all like, “We’re making defensive switches you wouldn’t make in Catholic League ball.” I agree, although I know nothing. (I mean, I have watched a lot of basketball.) This game felt like they shot the lights out on us and we couldn’t do anything.
This is probably the worst sports-related moment of my life. We were a 2-seed, and I think we were picked in something like 12-16 percent of ESPN brackets to win the entire goddamn thing. Instead we come out and lose to a 15-seed, mint their coach (he got hired by USC), and even give them a nickname in the process (“Dunk City” or “Lob City” or something; I can’t remember because it sucked so much). This game happened maybe six-seven days after I got married. If you took any two events in my life that were six days apart and tried to contrast them, I don’t think you’d ever find a bigger gap in one week than how I felt on my wedding day vs. how I felt after this loss.
In 2014, we were an NIT team — finished 18-15 overall, I guess. (Our worst season since 2008.) A couple of nights ago, with the entire world seemingly picking Eastern Washington as a trendy upset, we won that game. (Whew.) I didn’t know a lot about Utah, but it seemed like we could beat a middle-of-the-road Pac-12 team and make the Sweet 16. Plus, that game would be in Houston vs. (probably) Duke, and I could have driven to that. So I was a big fan of this idea, etc. And then of course, we come out and lose to Utah — not a double-digit seed, no, but in the end we lost by 11 and didn’t look good. (We were up in the first pretty nicely.) I got drunk and am now writing this hungover. I blame Georgetown again.
The Overall Deal
There are a couple of different ways to look at it. Sometimes my friends ask me, “Listen, what if you had a program that made a run every four years but besides that was pretty inconsistent and middling?” Hm. Sure. I guess that would be fun — to hit the Elite Eight every few years? Nice.
But here’s the way I look at it, honestly: every job on the planet has a specific set of deliverables, even if they’re vague and unclear. Like, let’s say you collect trash for a living. If people’s curbs are piled with trash and it reeks, you are bad at your job. Now, let’s say you coach college basketball for a living. If you consistently get your team into spots where people think they’re going to be good — 2-seeds, 3-seeds, etc. — and you consistently lose in those spots to teams that shouldn’t be as good, well, I think it’s hard for me to argue that you’re good at your job.
If you just scroll through the above, we’ve lost to a 10-seed, a 14-seed, an 11-seed, an 11-seed, and a 15-seed — and all of those came with us as a single-digit seed. Now, we’ve lost those “magic of March” games where Davidson or VCU make a run, sure … even Florida-Gulf Coast was that way a little bit. But this has happened five times. And now we haven’t been in a Sweet 16 in close to a decade. We’re a school where no one even knows we have a football program; if MSU is bad at basketball for a season or two, chances are their football side is Rose Bowl’ing it up.
It sucks, and I want a fresh start. So I’d go ahead and say it — fire JT3.