NCAA Bracket 2012: How Georgetown Basketball Got To March Madness

Mar 8, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Georgetown Hoyas guard Markel Starks (5) gets tripped as he drives to the basket by Cincinnati Bearcats in the third round of the 2012 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Cincinnati Bearcats defeats the Georgetown Hoyas 72-70 in double OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

The Georgetown Hoyas were expected to struggle this year after losing two key seniors, but they've performed above expectations.

With the graduation of seniors Austin Freeman and Chris Wright, expectations were not particularly high for the Georgetown Hoyas this season. Coming into the year, they were ranked 10th in the Big East preseason writers' poll. They significantly exceeded expectations, racking up big wins and avoiding embarrassing losses en route to a 12-6 conference record and a 23-8 overall record.

Georgetown's only non-conference loss was a neutral site loss by just four points to the Kansas Jayhawks. Though the teams they beat for their two biggest non-conference victories got worse after losing to Georgetown, they beat both Alabama and Memphis when both teams were ranked. In conference, their only home loss was to Cincinnati.

As the No. 5 seed in the Big East Tournament, the Hoyas earned a first-round bye before beating Pittsburgh 64-52 in the second round. Georgetown fell in the quarterfinals, though, losing 72-70 after two overtimes to fourth-seeded Cincinnati. The Hoyas enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed in the Midwest and will face No. 14 Belmont.

While Freeman and Wright are gone, other players have stepped up to take over the veteran leadership roles. Seniors Jason Clark and Henry Sims are having excellent seasons, while junior Hollis Thompson has made serious improvements from last year. They're supplemented by talented freshman forward Otto Porter, who has improved as the season has gone on.

For more on the Hoyas, head over to Georgetown blog Casual Hoya. Join our 2012 NCAA Bracket pool to compete against the best and brightest from around the network.

For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.

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