A good loss is a rare event in sports. But as Georgetown found itself on the losing end of a 68-65 matchup with the No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament Thursday, it seemed as though the Hoyas and their fans had just witnessed one of those elusive score-sheet defeats and moral victories.
The Badgers (6-0) are an incredibly talented team. Center Frank Kaminsky and forward Samuel Dekker both will have NBA careers and are returning as a group of four starters from last year’s Final Four run. The fact that Georgetown not only kept the game close, but also was winning for much of the day, by as much as nine at one point in the second half, is an incredibly encouraging sign. And, of course, junior guard and co-captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s huge night less than 24 hours after leading the Hoyas over the No. 18 Florida Gators established a true veteran star on a roster full of freshman and senior talent. Georgetown may not be undefeated anymore, but it might just be a better team than it was Thursday morning.
The Butler Bulldogs are up next in the third place game. The conference rivals took down No. 5 North Carolina in the opening round of the tournament but could not overcome Oklahoma in the semifinals. Friday will be the first of three games between Butler (4-1) and Georgetown (4-1) this year and will feature two of the teams leading the charge in a torrid start for the much maligned Big East this season. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. on ESPN.