Why Georgetown is worst 'Giant' ever

Georgetown continued its habit of losing to lower-seeded opponents in the NCAA tournament. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

If Florida Gulf Coast is Cinderella, does that make <a href="Georgetown Anastasia or Drizella? The Hoyas have all spring and summer to choose, because, like Cinderella's stepsisters, they won't be wearing a glass slipper anytime soon. In fact, tonight's loss to Florida Gulf Coast sealed it: Georgetown is the worst Giant of all time, or at least since the dawn of the modern spreadsheet era (2006-07, when our Giant Killer data begins).


• In 2008, the Hoyas, a No. 2 seed, led the country by allowing opponents an effective field goal percentage of just 42 percent. And they were up by 17 points in their second-round game against No. 10 seed Davidson -- until they started turning the ball over and allowed a sophomore named Stephen Curry to score 25 of his 30 points in the second half. Georgetown lost, 74-70 -- and comparing the actual outcome to the projected result based on the teams' statistical strengths, Georgetown underperformed expectations by 18.5 points per 100 possessions. That's pretty bad, but nowhere near as awful as what was coming.

• In 2010, Georgetown was a No. 3 seed but trailed No. 14 seed Ohio all the way in their first-round matchup, allowing a blizzard of jump shots, including 13 3-pointers. In losing 97-83, Georgetown not only suffered the biggest margin ever in a 14-3 upset, but the Hoyas underperformed their expected outcome by 38.1 points per 100 possessions, the fourth-worst game ever by a Giant.

• In 2011, VCU, a No. 11 seed, steamrolled Georgetown, a 6-seed, on the Rams' way to the Final Four. The Hoyas shot 5-for-26 on 3-point attempts while giving up a dozen 3s, and committed 17 turnovers. Georgetown fell 39.5 points per 100 possessions short of expectations, the third-worst performance ever by a Giant.

• In 2012, Georgetown, a No. 3 seed, seemed to exorcise its demons when it threw daggers into our spreadsheets and vanquished Belmont in the Round of 64. But then they lost to North Carolina State, a No. 11 seed.

And now Florida Gulf Coast. The notion that the Eagles are actually a better team than the Hoyas is pretty silly. After adjusting for the strength of their opponents, Georgetown outscored opponents by 24.1 points per 100 possessions this season, versus 4.1 for FGCU. But on Friday night, Florida Gulf Coast played at a different speed. Georgetown never looked comfortable on defense, hardly ever even set, and basically chased the Eagles from behind and tackled them. One item on the stat sheet blinds every other number: Florida Gulf Coast took 44 free throws. In line with their season average, the Eagles hit only 30 (68.2 percent) -- but they could have shot 50 percent from the line and still won.

With this 78-68 loss, Georgetown again performed far worse than expected: 32.4 points per 100 possessions under water, which ranks as the No. 10 all-time horror show by a Giant. (For purposes of comparison, New Mexico played 23.4 points worse than expected in losing to Harvard. The worst loss ever by a Giant was Purdue's 94-76 destruction at the hands of VCU in 2011, clocking in at -44.2.) And since 2007, the Hoyas have played 92.2 points per 100 possessions than they should have in the NCAA tournament, over nine games. Uh, congratulations?

Georgetown has had impressive interior defense and offense for years -- but also has consistent problems allowing turnovers, wildly variable outside shooting and some seasons (like this season) surprisingly weak offensive rebounding. The Hoyas just haven't been built to dominate opponents, as we pointed out earlier this week. And Georgetown is the first team with four straight NCAA eliminations by teams seeded five or more spots lower.

As for Florida Gulf Coast, the Eagles have got three things going for them as they attempt to follow up their upset win with another in the Round of 32 on Sunday against San Diego State. They steal the ball on an impressive 12.6 percent of opponent possessions (ranking 25th in the NCAA). They position very well for offensive rebounds (ORs on 33.2 percent of missed shots, ranking 121st). And the players just won the biggest game of their lives, which is hard to quantify but would be foolish to dismiss.

Our model gave the Eagles about a one-in-seven chance to beat Georgetown, essentially because they generate so many extra possessions, and against the Hoyas, they showed they know what to do with those additional opportunities.

Now, our spreadsheets say FGCU has just a 16.3 percent chance to beat San Diego State, as the Aztecs take care of the ball and play smothering defense (allowing 88.4 points per 100 possessions, ranking 15th in the NCAA). Of course, San Diego State isn't as good as Georgetown.