The Washington Times - November 24, 2008, 07:28PM

You start looking for things in the middle of blowouts.

Anything, you know, to take your mind off the bludgeoning at hand.

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Usually, wading through Al Gore’s Invention does the trick for me. But I didn’t have an outlet at courtside on Saturday, so I was pretty much stuck trying to amuse myself with what was going on between Georgetown and Drexel.

You know, the reason why I was there in the first place.

It took a little while – until the latter stages of the first half – but I found something of interest.

It was the back of a jersey, with the spelling M-E-S-H-C-H-A-R-A-K-O-U.

This was quite different than the spelling of Nikita Mescheriakov’s last name in the media guide, on the game program, on the roster, etc.

For those who literally want that spelled out, it’s M-E-S-C-H-E-R-I-A-K-O-V.

Which contrasts quite a bit to this (and thanks to Washington Times photographer Joe Silverman for his indulgence and willingness to snap a photo for blog purposes):

Russian Hoya

This was quite the puzzler. Did an equipment manager have a really bad day? Or did the Hoyas simply run out of letters?

Fortunately, Georgetown SID Mex Carey was willing to help out with this wild-goose chase and clear up any questions about Mescheriakov‘s/Meshcharakou’s real identity.

Turns out the name in the media guide/roster/pretty much any printed material about the team is the translation of the name out of Russian. The name on the jersey is the translation out of Belarusian.

The sophomore is from Belarus and – per Carey – he is fine with either spelling of his name.

Thus solves one of the most harmless (yet also intriguing) mysteries of this young college basketball season.

Patrick Stevens