Georgetown Hoyas

NCAA Division: Division I

Conference: Big East

Past Conferences: Eastern Intercollegiate, Independent

City: Washington, DC

Stadium: Capital One Arena

NCAA Tournaments: 1943, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2021

Championships: 

National Championships: 1

Conference Titles: 8

Team History

Until John Thompson took over at Georgetown in the 1970s, the program had sporadic success. It was quite nomadic in its early years, playing in gyms throughout the capitol region.

The 1942-43 team reached the title game in the NCAA Tournament, only to fall to Wyoming, and there was a one-and-done NIT trip 10 years later, then another in 1970. But that was it, and the 1971-72 team hit rock bottom, winning just three times in its 26 games to post the worst winning percentage in school history.

Thompson was the remedy, taking over the floundering program and immediately injecting talent and discipline into the ranks. He authored a nine-win improvement in his first season and got the Hoyas into the NCAA Tournament in his third, 1974-75.

There was a narrow first-round loss that year plus another the following year, but Georgetown was on the map. 

In 1978-79, the team’s last season as an independent before joining the Big East, it had a freshman guard named Eric Floyd. Better known to the basketball world as “Sleepy,” he led the team in his first year with a scoring average of 16.6 points. That team was ranked as high as ninth in the nation at one point; it returned to the NCAA Tournament.

Georgetown was one of three teams to finish 5-1 in the Big East in the league’s first season, with John Duren winning co-Big East Player of the Year honors. The NCAA Tournament run went a bit further this time, as the Hoyas reached a regional final before falling to Iowa by a point.

Patrick Ewing

At this point, the Hoyas were two years into what would become a 14-year run of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances – all under Thompson. Floyd was a senior and Patrick Ewing – a 7-footer born in Jamaica who starred in high school in Cambridge, MA – was a freshman on the 1981-82 team that began to take the program from good to great.

With Ewing manning the middle, that squad was defensively dominant. Georgetown Hoyas team stats showed a unit that held opponents to just 53.5 points per game that season. The stifling defense was even better in the postseason, as the team’s first four opponents were held to 46 points or fewer in a run to the national title game.

The Hoyas were up one late in the championship game against North Carolina before a Tar Heels freshman by the name of Michael Jordan hit a go-ahead jumper. Georgetown guard Freddy Brown then committed a turnover in the closing seconds, when he threw the ball directly to a North Carolina player thinking it was a fellow Hoya. 

It was a disappointing end to a great season, but also laid the groundwork for further dominance in the Ewing era.

The 1982-83 team was ranked No. 2 to start the season but failed to live up to expectations, exiting the NCAA Tournament in the second round. But nearly all major contributors were freshmen or sophomores, and the Hoyas would again begin the following season in the top 5.

This time they’d never leave, going 8-1 in non-conference play and steamrolling to the Big East title with a 14-2 mark. An overtime win against rival Syracuse gave Georgetown the conference tournament crown.

The Hoyas survived a major scare in the first round against SMU with a 37-36 win before rolling into the Final Four in Seattle’s Kingdome. Against Kentucky in the national semifinals, Georgetown held the Wildcats to 11 second-half points to pull away and then survived a matchup with Hakeem Olajuwon and Houston for the national title.

Hoyas Ranked No. 1 the Entire Season

The following season saw the Hoyas ranked No. 1 for nearly the entire duration as they were barely challenged en route to the Big East regular season and conference titles. The No. 1 seed then flew to another national championship game with five wins by an average of 15.6 points and drew No. 8 seed Villanova, a conference rival that Georgetown already defeated twice during the regular season.

Despite shooting 54.7 percent, the Hoyas were unable to force enough misses on the other end. The Wildcats, -9.5 underdogs on the NCAAB odds sheet, shot an incredible 22-for-28 and stunned Ewing’s crew in what many still believe is the greatest upset in the game’s history.

It was a cruel end to a remarkable tenure for Ewing, the easy No. 1 pick in that year’s NBA draft. Georgetown made it to the NCAA Tournament in 11 of the next 12 years, but never returned to the Final Four under Thompson. 

He did have a No. 1 seed and a 29-win season in 1988-89 with a pair of freshman centers starring alongside one another. Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo, who combined to block 7.3 shots per game, led the Hoyas to another set of Big East regular season and conference crowns.

Elite Eight Twice

It nearly became the first No. 1 seed to lose a first-round game when the back-door cutting Princeton Tigers took mighty Georgetown to the wire before falling 50-49. That team made it to the Elite Eight and Thompson got there again in 1996 behind a lightning-quick point guard in Allen Iverson, who averaged 25.0 points as a sophomore that season before going first overall in the NBA draft 11 years after Ewing.

Thompson yielded to Craig Esherick a couple years later and, eventually, John Thompson III took over. Like his father, Thompson III engineered a turnaround following some down years, had his second team -in 2005-06- in a Sweet 16, and his third in the Final Four.

The younger Thompson won 278 games, fewer than half his dad’s total, in 13 years on the Georgetown sidelines, reaching eight NCAA Tournaments. After back-to-back losing campaigns in 2015-16 and 2016-17, he gave way to Ewing, who had been an assistant coach with several NBA teams at this point.

Ewing’s second season led to an NIT berth and, after the 2020 COVID-shortened campaign, he guided the Hoyas back to the 2021 NCAA Tournament with a wild run in the second half of the season.

That Georgetown team was 3-8 and 1-5 in Big East play before turning it on. It won six of its last eight in the regular season and then won four games in four days -including an upset of No. 1 seed Villanova- to claim the Big East conference tournament. 

The Hoyas were unable to build off the return to the Big Dance, however, falling flat in 2021-22. They were 6-5 going into conference play before losing all 19 league games and then falling in the opening round of the tournament. Overall, it was a 21-game losing streak to end the season.

In need of a talent upgrade, Ewing has been active on the recruiting trail and in the transfer portal. Betting tips suggest it may take some time for much of it to come to fruition, but Ewing is committed to elevating the program back to national prominence. 

All-Time Records

Points Scored

Sleepy Floyd: 2,304

Patrick Ewing: 2,184

Reggie Williams: 2,117

 

Rebounds

Patrick Ewing: 1,316

Alonzo Mourning: 1,032

Othella Harrington: 983

 

Assists

Kevin Braswell: 695

Joey Brown: 677

Michael Jackson: 671

 

Wins

John Thompson Jr.: 596

John Thompson III: 278

Elmer Ripley: 133

FAQs

What Is the Highest Win Total in Program History?

The 1984-85 team was destined for a second straight championship, but ran into a red-hot Villanova team in the finals. Despite the shocking loss, it finished with a program-record 35 wins.

 

What Was the Worst Season in Program History?

While the 3-23 record in 1971-72 resulted in a worse winning percentage, last season’s 6-25 showing was more painful. It came under the direction of program legend Patrick Ewing, and it included a 21-game losing streak to end the season.

 

Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?

This is an easy one, as Ewing is head and shoulders – quite literally – above everyone else in program history. The team was in the national title game in three of his four years as a Hoya, for whom he remains the all-time leader in rebounds and blocks while ranking second in scoring.

 

A two-time Big East Player of the Year, Ewing was the No. 1 pick in the 1985 draft to the New York Knicks. He starred in Madison Square Garden for 15 seasons and is regarded as one of the top centers in NBA history.

 
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