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Next Up - Georgetown

Perhaps no school in America is more indelibly physically identified with a
coach than Georgetown is with John Thompson the elder, who put the school on the
basketball map. So when his son decided to take his father's old job, it
was a bit of a risk, and not just because the younger Thompson is a good bit
less imposing than his massive father. There's a lot to live up to.
Early signs, though, suggest that the new Thompson is going to carve his own
niche, and do so fairly well, despite dropping two early games this season.

While his father carved a reputation as a fierce defensive coach, his offense
was, to be kind, often lacking. This was on display when he was the
Olympic coach in 1988, and provided an early example of U.S. teams not quite
grasping the more subtle international offenses.

His son, though, while coaching solid defense, brings strong influences from
his playing and coaching careers at Princeton, where he learned the brilliant
Princeton offense, which is designed to open the court, move the ball, and while
deliberate, often lethal.

Thompson has spoken of merging that with some more up-tempo concepts, but so
far this season, the Hoyas have only averaged 68 ppg, which is arguably better
than most teams running the Princeton offense, although Air Force is coming in
at about 76 ppg (Herb Sendek's Arizona State team is averaging 64.5). But
it's not particularly up-tempo.

That may partly be due to having a much younger team. While Roy Hibbert
(23.8 mpg), Jonathan Wallace, (32.2 mpg), Jeff Green (30.5 mpg) and
transfer Patrick Ewing, Jr.(9.3 ppg), are all juniors logging heavy minutes, the
seniors are getting three minutes total, which means about half the minutes are
going to freshmen and sophomores.

Green is scoring at about the same pace as he was last season, but he's
taking less shots.

So it's a very different team, but then again, so is Duke.

Last year, Georgetown exposed Duke's relative lack of athleticism and back-doored
Duke to death.

This year, that'll be harder to do, with Duke playing really good defense so
far holding opponents to an average of 52.2 ppg, but the offense is a different

Duke, considerably younger than the also-young Hoyas, has struggled on the
offensive end. So far, only DeMarcus Nelson and to a lesser extent Dave
McClure have been consistent.

Georgetown is likely to have matchup problems if they go man-to-man if only
because 7-2 Roy Hibbert is going to have to guard someone, and whoever he guards
isn't going to sit under the basket.

Josh McRoberts is a nightmare for Georgetown, and it's not clear who else
Hibbert can guard, other than Brian Zoubek. He certainly can't go outside
with Lance Thomas. That ugly matchup may force Georgetown to use a zone
against Duke, something the elder Thompson was not fond of.

In an ideal world, in fact, the roles would be reversed, and between
McRoberts, Nelson, Gerald Henderson, and Thomas, Georgetown would have to figure
out how to stop Duke's penetration, while Jon Scheyer sat outside and exploited
the breakdowns.

But it's not an ideal world, not anything close to it. Duke has had a
number of issues, not least of all turnovers and getting the ball in scoring
position, things which would likely get better fairly quickly if Greg Paulus
were in game shape.

We got a preview of this in the last game, when he got burned on defense, but
also when Duke's ball handling and confidence suffered greatly when he fouled

He's really important. At full health and presumably advanced as a
sophomore, he is the most likely guy to get the ball to his teammates in scoring

Duke should have a leg-up this year, with Air Force serving as a stand-in for
Georgetown's offense. But regardless, they still have to score