Last night’s contest against UMass was one of GW’s worst performances of the year, on par (in a bad way) with games against NC State and Marshall. The offense appeared anemic against the UMass zone and the defense – while forcing 29 turnovers – still surrendered an inordinate number of three-point shots down the stretch. All that being said, however, the Colonials still won and are now 11-0 in conference play and 21-1 overall. Because GW is so good, I understand the impulse to expect the Colonials to dominate every opponent en route to a double-digit victory, but it is entirely unrealistic.
Much has already been said about the psychological impact of playing a highly ranked team has on other squads. GW gets the best effort of every team it plays. As a result, team’s that are generally inferior to the Colonials still have the opportunity to win on any night. Very few people thought Marquette would defeat UConn or if Georgetown would beat Duke before both of those games took place. This is Division I college basketball after all, everyone can play and has the ability to have an outstanding night.
That the Colonials can play some of its worst basketball of the season and still win is more an indicator of how good this team is than anything else. Last season, suffering under the expectations of its top 25 ranking, GW folded under the pressure and was not able to close out games even after playing poorly. This year, GW defeated two teams that are better than their records indicate while shooting under 40 percent and slightly better than 50 percent from the charity stripe. Although it is tempting to view the team as being only as good as its last game, looking at the statistics from a number of games prior to the St. Joe’s contest reveals a team that had been extraordinarily hot from the field.
The team defintely could have played better last night, but it is not as though there are a dearth of instances during the season when the Colonials impressed everyone with their play. Admonish the team for poor play last night, but there is little need to contemplate jumping ship just yet.