There is only one certainty as the Georgetown Hoyas Men’s Basketball team travel to College Park for a historic regular season matchup with the Maryland Terrapins tonight and that is, the Hoyas did not expect to enter this game with an 0-1 record. However, after what has been characterized as a stunning double OT home opening loss at Verizon Center last weekend to the Radford Highlanders (most questions were “where are they from? answer: Virginia), tonight the Hoyas face the #3 ranked team in the nation and all eyes will be watching to see if that stunning loss was indeed a fluke.
It’s been 22 years since Coach John Thompson Jr. faced off against Coach Gary Williams at the USAir Arena in 1993, a contest that Maryland won 84-83 in overtime. Pops retired in 1999, and his son JTIII became the Hoyas head coach in 2004. The reasons for the regular season hiatus is the subject of many other articles. The important point is the Game is Back On and tonight is a new beginning. The only two other times Georgetown and Maryland have played were in the Sweet 16 of the 2001 NCAA Tournament (Maryland prevailed) and the 2008 Old Spice Classic. Some fans have been waiting forever for the resumption of this local rivalry. However, Hoya fans aren’t exactly feeling confident after the loss to Radford.
With the Hoyas an 8-point underdog, the Terps host the Hoyas on Tuesday night as part of the inaugural [Dave] Gavitt Tipoff. Next season the Hoyas return the favor at the Verion Center. That’s the extent of the new relationship as we know it.
Some believe this is Maryland’s best team since William’s 2002 national championship team. Mark Turgeon replaced Williams in 2011, and on Friday night, Maryland had a quite different home opener, blowing out local Mount Saint Mary’s, 80-56.
Things to Watch for the Hoyas:
- Bradley Hayes vs. Diamond Stone: Senior Hoya center Hayes had the game of his career against Radford, despite the Hoyas’ loss. Diamond Stone is the Terps’ 5-star freshman recruit at center. Will Hayes, who saw little action until this season, except for a Perfect Ten Minutes in the first round of the NCAA championship against Eastern Washington U. in March, demonstrate more of the talent and poise that we saw last weekend?
- Will DSR Lead from the Outset? DSR spoke about his frustrating start against Radford. On the other hand, RU’s guard Davis put on a complete game show. Tonight will Hoya fans see the DSR that we know can lead and shoot the lights out from the outset of the game and prevent the Hoyas from falling behind, which could be lethal against the Terps on the road.
- Who Else Will Step Up for the Hoyas? Sophomore forward Paul White was out with a hip injury against Radford; his skill and scoring was missed. Isaac Copeland, LJ Peak and Tre Campbell will all need to be playing at the top of their games to compete with the Terps. No Hoya except perhaps Hayes was in that category (top of game) last Saturday. Will we see more solid play from freshman center Jessie Govan and better play from freshman Marcus Derrickson? Will upperclassman Reggie Cameron catch fire this season?
- Will Trey Mourning Play and Be a Factor? Hoya Fans have heard about, and some have seen, the great improvement of sophomore Trey Mourning since last season. Mourning received nary a minute of play against Radford. Will we see the Hoya with the greatest hoops pedigree on the court tonight?
- The Coaching Matchup: JTIII vs. Turgeon? Which Coach will lead his team to victory? This is not soccer, where coaches do the majority of their work before the match and let their team play, with few substitutions providing the game-time work. Hoya fans are looking at JTIII, especially after the disappointing Radford loss, to see how he coaches in an early Big Time game.
Absurd ? Stat of the Day: In Joe Lunardi’s/ESPN’s RPI Ranking, today Radford is #100 and Georgetown is #337, close to last.
Prediction: Honestly, I haven’t a clue. Everything looks in the Terps’ favor, with experience, personnel and home court advantage. A close game (loss) by the Hoyas (single digit) would be expected. A squeaker win by the Hoyas, perhaps a small chance?
Will the Hoyas Have the Last Bite Tonight?