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College basketball: Georgetown takes step back offensively

Pitchers duels, soccer and 2012-13 Georgetown basketball.

If offense is not your thing, these are for you.

While purists love the lack of scoring in the other two, it’s been hard to find art in Georgetown’s low numbers, especially lately.

Before beating up on hapless Longwood, 89-53, Monday, the Hoyas had been brutal from the field.

In three games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8, they averaged 49.0 points per game, a stretch that included their fewest points (37) in the shot-clock era and 35.9 percent shooting (17.0 percent from 3-point range).

All of that would be laughably bad except that Georgetown won all three games and not just against lightweights. It defeated Tennessee (37-36) and Texas (64-41) as well as Towson (46-40) in that stretch.

The Hoyas’ only loss this season came to No. 1 Indiana in overtime (82-72) so their ranking keeps going up even as their shots won’t go down. They’ve moved up to No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 15 in The Associated Press Poll.

After the Tennessee game, Georgetown coach John Thompson III seemed amused was asked when the last time he’d been involved in a game so offensively bad.

“I think I was 8,” he told The Associated Press. “Playing with St. Anthony’s. The game ended 13-11. I had 10 and we won that game too. ... If you just look at the numbers and the stat sheet and say we won the game — before the game, I’d say you’re crazy. I’d think it’s virtually impossible.”

After holding on to beat a bad Towson team, Thompson wasn’t quite as carefree.

“It’s got to get better,” he told ESPN. “I told the guys this, at this point we have a lot of growing up to do. We’re immature offensively, in that we have a lot of guys that are thinking, trying to figure out what to do, what reads to make and it’s something we have to work on.”

Still, to be 8-1 despite its woeful offense says something about the Hoyas defense. Georgetown had allowed its opponents 54.1 points per game, which was 10th best in the nation prior to Monday.

Nobody was every going to confuse Georgetown with a run-and-gun team anyway. But at 62.5 points per game prior to Longwood, the Hoyas were down 6.5 points from last year. Their scoring averages have dropped from 73.5 in 2009-10 to 70.6 in 2010-11 to 69.0 last year.

MY TOP 10 — Schools typically do not schedule tough games during final exams so finding a marquee matchup in the middle weeks of December is a rarity. So none of my top 10 teams challenged themselves therefore nobody lost:

1. Duke, 2. Indiana, 3. Syracuse, 4. Michigan, 5. Louisville, 6. Ohio State, 7. Florida, 8. Missouri, 9. Kansas, 10. Arizona.

For the rest of my top 25 visit the College Hoop Week Guide at GazetteNET.com/Blogs/UMassSports/.

GAMES OF THE WEEK: No. 5 Florida at No. 8 Arizona, Saturday 10 p.m., ESPN — After a mostly forgettable slate during the week, Saturday has a slew of good games. The best of which is the showdown between the undefeated Gators and Wildcats.

No. 6 Louisville at Memphis, Saturday 2:30, CSN — A nice matchup between a current Big East/future ACC team and a current Conference USA/future Big East team.

ATLANTIC 10 GAMES OF THE WEEK: No. 1 Indiana at Butler, Saturday 2 p.m., CBS — Butler already knocked off North Carolina. The Bulldogs defend and shoot well enough to make this upset possible.

Alabama at VCU, Saturday 4 p.m., CBS Sports — Former VCU head coach Anthony Grant brings his Crimson Tide to Richmond in a battle of teams that could be ranked before long.

NEW NICKNAME PLEASE: Auburn — There are 13 Division I schools that use Tigers as their nickname, second only to Bulldogs (15) as the most unoriginal. Conference realignment moved a third Tiger school (Missouri) to the Southeastern Conference joining LSU and Auburn. All three can do better.

Auburn boasts six NASA astronauts among its alumni, an impressive feat for any school. It also features a prominent airport and aviation school.

I’m suggesting Auburn Astronauts or Auburn Aviators. Both have the potential for interesting logos and feature alliteration, which is always a plus among nicknames.

Plus the rest of the country likes to pick on the south for its education system.

Boasting six astronauts among its alumni shows some impressive academics. Not being able to come up with a more creative nickname than Tigers does not.

CRUSHING BLOW — Mike Moser was a big reason UNLV was a consensus top-25 team coming into the season. But the 6-foot-8 junior forward, who was considered a likely NBA draft pick, suffered a dislocated right elbow Sunday and could be out for the season, dealing a sizable blow to the Rebels’ potential.

THERE SHOULD BE A SYLLABLE LIMIT — Fans are pretty numb to sporting events having title sponsors, but there should be a length limit when naming a game.

The aforementioned game between Indiana and Butler is officially called the “Boston Scientific Close the Gap Crossroads Classic.” Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

ON THE ROAD TO — Two already enshrined Hall of Famers (Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim) coaching in the Final Four?

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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