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Is Georgetown better off without Greg Whittington? Yes and no

Jan 31, 2013, 1:08 PM EDT

Greg Whittington

Dan Hanner did some excellent work this week breaking down the splits of teams that have dealt with injuries to key players this season.

I suggest you dig through his work, because it’s quite informative. But I’m going to highlight the most interesting splits that Hanner found. Here is our look at Georgetown.

Georgetown started Big 12 play 0-2, got drubbed by 28 points at home by Pitt and then saw starter Greg Whitting get ruled academically ineligible.

Doomsday, right?

Well, not exactly. Since Whittington has been out, Georgetown’s offense has gotten significantly better — 1.100 PPP, adjusted, which would slide them in somewhere around No. 30 nationally — while maintaining one of the stingiest defenses in the country, and that’s without a 74-52 win over Seton Hall factored in.

The Hoyas are now 5-1 without their second-leading scorer. So was Whittington really that much of a detriment?

No.

John Thompson III has made two change to the way that he uses his team, and it’s one that may have happened even if Whittington was still eligible. For starters, the offense has stopped going through Mikael Hopkins as much. Instead, JT III is putting the ball in Otto Porter’s hands more often and allowing Nate Lubick to play a more significant role at the high-post in Georgetown’s Princeton-esque offensive attack.

JT III has also committed to playing a deeper rotation and a smaller lineup. With Whittington in the mix, Georgetown would routinely have four players on the floor that were 6-foot-8 or taller. Whittington was the off-guard, which was a position he can play but probably isn’t ideally suited for. Without Whittington, Georgetown is using smaller lineups. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Jabril Trawick are seeing more playing time, and are sharing the floor with Markel Starks for more minutes. JT III has also devoted a spot in his rotation to the uber-athletic Aaron Bowen, who’s ridiculous, reverse tip-in was the game-winner against Louisville.

The irony here is that Whittington is actually a perfect fit for this group. He’s long, he’s athletic, he can defend and he can make threes.

But he was being used out of position, and it bogged down the Georgetown offense. His suspension was beneficial in that it forced the Hoyas to change things up, but it certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing if he became available for the Hoyas before the season ended.

To see our take on Duke, click here.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.