College basketball preview: Georgetown Hoyas
Coach: John Thompson III. Ninth season, 184-82; 252-123 overall
Last season: 24-9, NCAA round of 32
Key player: F Otto Porter. The 6-foot-8 Porter averaged 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds last season, but more importantly, things simply ran smoother for the Hoyas when the do-everything freshman was on the floor. With its top three scorers gone, Georgetown will look to Porter for more offense this year.
Biggest loss: C Henry Sims. The previously unheralded big fella was the nexus of the Hoyas’ offense, leading the team in assists and blocks, ranking second in rebounds and third in assists while constructing an impressive senior season.
Top newcomer: G D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Mainstay Jason Clark’s graduation opens up a starting spot, one Smith-Rivera could easily claim. Either way, there’s playing time to be had for the Indianapolis product who is arguably the jewel of the Hoyas’ recruiting class.
Best case:Porter is every bit as effective as a main cog as he was a supporting player from day one, Markel Starks is more comfortable in his second go-round as the Hoyas’ point guard and the freshmen and sophomores develop quickly to set up a multi-weekend NCAA tournament run.
Worst case: The worst case usually doesn’t happen with the Hoyas. But there’s certainly the possibility of a slow start thanks to a difficult early schedule (Florida, UCLA, Tennessee, Texas and possibly Indiana in the first eight games) could create a hole Georgetown needs a while to climb out of.
Nov. 9 vs. Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. The Hoyas open the season on the aircraft carrier USS Bataan. Regardless how it turns out, it will be a memorable experience.
Jan. 5 at Marquette. The Big East opener is against a team, like Georgetown, expected to be a first division team in the conference. The Hoyas and Golden Eagles meet again Feb. 11 at Verizon Center.
March 9 vs. Syracuse. The back end of a home-and-home with the Orange (they play at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 23) and possibly the last meeting between the teams as conference rivals; Syracuse leaves for the ACC next season.
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