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Court Reports

Hoya madness: room for a breakout?

To many members of the Georgetown community, the news that the Hoyas were seeded fourth in one of the weaker groupings (Duke, the #1 seed in Georgetown’s grouping, has both good wins and shocking losses) was great – a nice chance to watch Georgetown beat up a weak team before going on to play some more difficult games.

For other fans, however, it might bring up a dreaded sense of déjà vu.

In the past 6 years, including this year, Georgetown has been seeded five times in the NCAA tournament, and every time has been seeded sixth or higher, generally reflecting the prestige of Georgetown and the Big East. In 2010, Georgetown, a #3 seed, lost to Ohio University (not Ohio State University) 93-87, despite being led by future first round center Greg Monroe. In 2011, Georgetown, seeded 6th, lost to Virginia Commonwealth University, survivor of the first “First Four” in tournament history, 74-56. In 2012, Georgetown, seeded 3rd, actually managed to beat its first round opponent, Belmont, 74-59. It promptly lost to North Carolina State, the 11th seed, 66-63. Finally, in 2013, in perhaps the most infamous of the upsets, Georgetown, a #2 seed, lost to Florida Gulf Coast University, 78-68, in the first round.

Combined with losing to Davidson during its run with Stephen Curry (despite Georgetown having both Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green), Georgetown has managed to play the unwitting Fairy Godmother to the most famous recent tournament Cinderellas. Thus, it is no surprise that Georgetown has already become a popular choice to flameout in the first round, to Eastern Washington, and very few prognosticators have Georgetown getting past #5 Utah in the second round.

Is there anything that distinguishes this team from the teams that failed to escape the first weekend of the tournament? Looking at the talent of the older teams is not helpful – teams manned by Greg Monroe and Otto Porter both lost in the first round. Relative success in the Big East Tournament has not proven a useful predictor either – the 2010 team made a run to the Big East Finals before losing to Ohio.

One major difference is that virtually all of the players have changed since that time. Of the starters playing against FGCU in 2013, only Jabril Trawick and Mikael Hopkins remain. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, a key bench player in 2013, has become a leader of the team this year, along with transfer Joshua Smith. Smith might make a difference – in 2013, surprisingly for Georgetown, the Hoyas lacked a traditional center, instead playing with a combination of Nate Lubick and Mikael Hopkins awkwardly playing that role.

Georgetown has traditionally found its strength from a sturdy defense, with a slower-paced, deliberate, Princeton-style offense accompanying it. The pattern has proven mostly successful in the regular season, though seems to have come up short in the tournament. After the 2013 loss to FGCU, Coach John Thompson III could not explain the upsets, saying, “I’ve tried to analyze it, think about it, look at it, think about what we should do differently and I don’t know.”

Looking on the other side of the court, the Cinderellas that have beaten Georgetown have taken different forms. VCU is perhaps most famous for its never-ending full court press, and won mostly due to its defense.  On the other hand, Florida Gulf Coast was more well-known for its aggressive offensive play, and became known as “Dunk City” during its tournament run.

Eastern Washington, Georgetown’s first round opponent, is from the Big Sky Conference, a small conference (though so were all of the teams that beat Georgetown, other than NC State). For the most part, rankings don’t treat it kindly, but Eastern Washington did beat Indiana. Additionally, Tyler Harvey, one of Eastern Washington’s players, has scored the most points in college basketball this year, and Eastern Washington is the third-highest scoring team in college basketball. 

Unfortunately for Georgetown, it allows a relatively high number of three-point shots, which Eastern Washington relies on. Thus, unless Georgetown can either make a strategic shift to combat three-point shooting, otherwise disrupt their long-range shots, or count on Eastern Washington to miss more than its average number of three point shots, it could be a long night for Hoyas fans. 


Learn everything there is to know about GULC's new saunas

The Law Center’s high-temperature relaxation facilities are set to get a major upgrade. A Student Bar Association (“SBA”) resolution passed February 24 authorized the replacement of the hot tubs in the Sport & Fitness Center locker rooms with saunas.

At a glance, it may seem that the new saunas are simply a move to increase the prestige of the Law Center’s recreation facilities. However, in a campus-wide email, SBA President Andrew Warner wrote that “[O]ur expectation is that the saunas will be more popular with students, easier to maintain, and less expensive to run.”

The resolution, despite being passed by SBA, still requires a final decision from the Law Center’s administration. They are awaiting research on costs and timing. Overall, the gym management company that the Law Center works with has found that other gyms overwhelmingly favor saunas.

The resolution was introduced by SBA Representative Sam Smith on February 10. “I introduced the resolution after talks with folks involved in facilities and student life here at the Law Center,” said Smith. He learned that the current whirlpool hot tubs are well past their expected operational lifespan, causing their maintenance costs to skyrocket. SBA Representative Bryan Almeida said the current hot tub constantly breaks down, and requires expensive special order parts before they can be repaired.

Smith also cited lower operating costs and environmental friendliness in his decision to offer the resolution. 

Saunas and other forms of high-temperature ablution are common worldwide. While the word sauna is Finnish in origin, sauna-like traditions developed in the Americas, Rome, and Turkey as well. Broadly speaking, they work by heating the air, historically using heated coals or stones and pouring water on them to generate steam. The humidity of the bath determines the air temperature, with the driest, hottest Finnish saunas reaching upwards of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The proposal was not without opposition. After being introduced at the February 10 meeting, it was tabled until the February 24 meeting in order to allow Representatives to gather more information. Section 1 Representative David Costello said “[B]oth delegates from Section 1 posted a poll on our Facebook page to gauge our Section’s interest. Based on this Section discussion, both Section 1 delegates voted against the proposal.” 

Costello also expressed surprise at how quickly the resolution was called to question on February 24, ending the debate. “[The] haste with which it was called [to question] caught the delegates who were planning to speak against it off guard.” In the end, the resolution still passed, and the plan moves forward. 

Alongside the sauna issue, SBA overwhelmingly passed a resolution authorizing the creation of a mental health task force.  While mental health for law students is certainly a more pressing and more impactful issue, Smith reinforced the notion that student governments cam tackle issues big and small.  “[The saunas] will likely cut long-term costs and benefit students, both of which are goals of any administration or student government.”

What do you think of the new saunas? Vote in the Law Weekly’s poll here!


Review: GG&SS presents "And Then There Were None"

The Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society brings Christie’s novel to life in Hart Auditorium. Photo by Laura DonnellyGeorgetown Law Weekly’s own had the pleasure last week of seeing Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, directed by Georgetown 2L Alex Bassett. A far cry from the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s tongue-in-cheek production of Spamalot this past fall, the winter show was a gritty murder mystery full of the very twists and turns you would expect from Agatha Christie. From the very beginning, Bassett and company set the stage (literally) with period music and an elaborate set, which placed the audience inside a living room of a house in the 1930s. The set was all the more impressive with the knowledge that it was painstakingly crafted by the show’s own cast of students, alumni and community members.

Standout performances include a marvelous performance of General McKenzie by Dan Snow, who played his character’s ominous predictions to perfection, as well as Amy Reno, who played Emily Brent’s sour and judgmental demeanor to a T.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of the whole show was a most unfortunate stage slap, which could have been seen for miles away. But considering some of the décor featured what appeared to be faux portraits of the distant relatives of Keanu Reeves and Jude Law, perhaps that too was an effective and intentional bit of levity in a dark and ominous show.

Another great aspect of the show was Bassett’s decision to integrate other forms of media into the production. What seemed to be a fan favorite were the title cards projected above the stage that introduced each character as they appeared. The title cards, which appeared on stage to the sound of an old-school type writer, projected from above while the cast froze in place. This addition was just enough to give the audience a casual reminder of the play’s origins, making it seem as if the audience was living in the book without the fourth wall being completely broken. 

All in all, it was another successful production from the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, which brought the audience into the engrossing world of Christie’s 1939 novel of the same name through excellent acting and fascinating twists. We look forward to the next production from the group!

Laura Donnelly contributed to this review.


DC on Screen Tournament

What’s the best television show based in DC? It’s time for you to decide! 

We’ll be posting a poll everyday during the month of March. 


Court report: what's next for Hoya men's basketball

The Georgetown men’s basketball team’s trajectory is familiar to all those who have followed the Hoyas for the past several years. Georgetown started off relatively underrated, with one player singled out as someone to watch this year (this year, it was D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, voted Big East Player of the Year during the preseason). The season began with a relatively difficult non-conference schedule, with one seemingly impressive win (against Florida, though this is not the Florida of the early 2000s, or even of last year), and several impressive close losses (against Wisconsin and Kansas). 

Then the conference schedule began, and confirming the worst fears of Hoyas fans, it began poorly with a 17-point loss to Xavier. However, Georgetown recovered relatively quickly, and beat then #4 Villanova at home in an easy win, 78-58, and even claimed first place in the Big East, albeit temporarily. 

What trends can be made out of the season so far? Unlike previous years, Georgetown has not (yet - knock on wood) lost a game to a clearly inferior opponent.  In recent years, Georgetown has dropped at least one game to a team with a losing record, including DePaul, South Florida, and Providence (back when Providence was an also-ran, not a contender). Instead, Georgetown has lost to Xavier (twice), Providence (twice), and Villanova. Both of the losses to Providence were close, with one going to overtime.

However, Georgetown’s losses to Xavier, as well as its loss to Villanova, were all by significant margins, well over ten points each. Several similarities emerge between the losses. First, Joshua Smith, who has otherwise displayed the talents that led Georgetown to recruit him from UCLA, has struggled, fouling out in multiple losses. Additionally, Georgetown has failed to consistently score in the beginning of most of the losses. In particular, Smith-Rivera, who leads the team in average minutes, points, assists and steals per game, failed to score in the first half against Villanova.

As would be suspected, Georgetown gave up large shot percentages in the games they lost, with Villanova hitting 50% of 3-point shots and Providence shooting 53.5% overall.

Despite these negative signs, Georgetown still maintains a strong record that should appeal to the selection committee for March Madness. Georgetown lacks any bad losses, with the losses coming to teams that also have strong records. Ironically, Georgetown may hope for Xavier to do well, as Xavier’s record, other than beating Georgetown twice, does not look as strong as Georgetown’s (Xavier has lost to DePaul and Creighton, both of whom are struggling this year). At this point, Georgetown has played most of its toughest games. Thus, Georgetown should ensure that it sweeps St. John’s, positioning itself well for the Big East playoffs, before taking on Butler and Seton Hall to finish off the regular season.


Event recap: APALSA celebrates Lunar New Year with dinner and performances


Students enjoy the APALSA Lunar New Year event, which took place on the 12th floor of Gewirz.

As President’s Day Weekend and the Georgetown Law Faculty Retreat approached (known colloquially as “Fake Break” before the “real” Spring Break), students gathered together to celebrate the upcoming 2015 Lunar New Year. This year’s celebration was held on Tuesday, February 10 on the 12th floor of Gewirz, ahead of the official 2015 Lunar New Year date, which fell on February 19. The event was hosted by the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), who pre-sold tickets for $5 but also sold them for $7 at the door to partially fund the celebration.

Given the theme of Lunar New Year, APALSA decorated the room with Chinese lanterns and red tablecloths, Lunar New Year-themed utensils, napkins, and plates, and additionally arrayed oranges on gold-tinted plates. Food tables with Asian cuisine, a dessert table with beautiful cake and fortune cookies, an open bar and a performance stage completed the layout of the room.

Students arrived promptly at 7:00 p.m., and soon the food line extended from the food table on one end of the room to the performance stage at the other end. In contrast to last year’s Lunar New Year celebration, the food surprisingly ran out within the first hour. APALSA then announced they had ordered extra food, which was delivered around 8:30 p.m., but the additional round of victuals disappeared almost immediately; it seems “Hungry Hungry Hoyas” is no joke here at Georgetown Law! Despite this setback, an air of festivity permeated the air, as students seemed glad to take a break from school. When food seemed scarce, they engaged in further rounds of beer and wine and caught up with fellow students.

APALSA not only provided food and drinks, but also scheduled performances from both the Georgetown University Filipino Dance Group and our very own Lawcapella group. While there were some audio issues with the dance group at first, both performances were loudly applauded by the audience. Some students even approached APALSA board members afterwards and suggested that they would have paid up to $10 for the food as well as the performances!

APALSA also allowed Georgetown Law Weekly to secure a one-on-one interview with the current president of APALSA, 2L Daphne Lin.

GU LAW WEEKLY: So, Daphne, who organized this event?

Daphne Lin: It was members of APALSA: fourteen of us in total organized everything.

LAW WEEKLY: What are your goals [as an organization] on campus?

Lin: We have professional goals, academic goals, [and] social networking goals. APALSA is on Georgetown Law to bring the different Asian Pacific American people or the people who identify with that together, to celebrate [events and customs like] the Lunar New Year together, because we don’t have a federal holiday for that.

LAW WEEKLY: What did you think of this year’s event?

Lin: We did phenomenal! We sold close to 130 tickets, and were able to have performances from the Filipino Dance Group from Georgetown undergrad and Lawcapella from on this campus. Everyone who came up to me afterwards said that they loved the decorations, they loved the food, and they loved the performances, and that they loved coming to our event.

LAW WEEKLY: We hear you sell out every year?

Lin: That’s right—we did sell out, as we had 124 seats.

LAW WEEKLY: What was different about this year’s celebration from last year?

Lin: Well, last year we had no performances. People just came in, got food, and sat down. Our event was more structured, more organized this year, and had a better flow. For example, [this year] you had to look under a tape under your chair to find out if you have a ticket to get a red envelope [that we were giving out]. We only had 35 of those surprise gifts.

LAW WEEKLY: Given that the New Year has come, what’s your wish for this new Lunar Year?

Lin: I wish that our upcoming “Trailblazer” event on March 19th will be a success. We will have a very big keynote speaker, Denny Chin of the Second Circuit, come speak to us on Asian diversity issues on campus, along with four panelists as well.

Michael Jen is also a member of APALSA and serves as the Community Chair on the APALSA Board.