First of all, it’s starting to look like a shame that this team won’t be in the NCAA Tournament.
Sometimes when I write my stories and columns (I, who has never taken a journalism class, hear there’s a difference), I worry that I’m being too optimistic. When we lost by 75 at Ohio, I somehow thought that meant GW had a shot at winning the BB&T. When the team had lost eight of 10, culminating in a loss at Dayton, I wrote that everything was ducky and the Colonials could win eight straight games. Then, when GW lost at Xavier, I somehow turned it around into yet another Ohio momentum loss that meant the Colonials were about to take two on the road.
So, now I’m cocky and think I know everything. With that in mind, let’s talk about Temple. Everyone’s been looking forward to this one for a long time. Thank George the Colonials won nine of 11 to make this one meaningful. As usual, it’s really a game with Xavier even though the Musketeers will be a thousand miles away. Xavier’s probably going to beat St. Joe’s at home, and so GW, one game up, has an interesting mission. Beat Temple, beat Xavier. Beat Xavier, get the bye in the A-10 Tournament, win it, go to the NCAAs. Or, lose the A-10s, and at least GW beat Temple, so the NIT will come a callin’. But lose to Temple and suddenly, it’s a coin flip to decide who gets the bye. A coin flip! Isn’t this kind of behavior an NCAA violation?
Anyway, GW has its future in its hands because of great performances on the road. I mean, spoiling two consecutive Senior Nights? Where’s the team that tanked at La Salle? Oh, they grow up so fast. And as a result, a 15-13 team (why does that sound so good?) has the opportunity of a lifetime to beat a great team and announce that Tom Penders and Co. have truly arrived yet again.
One might think that an upset is impossible (especially after St. Joe’s stole it). Just look at the info boxes. Sure, GW’s 3-0 in the last 10 years vs. top-10 teams at the Smith Center. But the Colonials are 1-14 vs. Temple. Temple’s impossible to beat even when everyone’s beating them. But it just seems hard to believe this team that we’ve got right now can be blown out at the Smith Center – even when any other result seems preposterous. I don’t know what’ll happen, but it might be special. This is a special team (Val, Chris, Bernard, Mike, Jason, Antxon leave one salivating for next year). The next few years may just start Saturday.
(Strangely enough, I think Tom Penders is worried that the crowd, which will be rocking, I assure you, may be a weakness. He knows Temple’s a great team, and great teams feed off an opposing crowd. Maybe he’s right. Noise is good, but perhaps personal insults – a GW specialty – are bad. And oh yes, don’t boo Roma, for God’s sake. I’ve heard enough about that.)
Well, on to Saturday. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since The Game. Perhaps it’s already time for a new one.
And Sam, Mark, Cisco – Godspeed.