- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2011

The turmoil buffeting the Big East seemed distant at McDonough Arena on Thursday, cloaked by thumping basketballs and happy shouts from the Georgetown team that opens practice on Saturday.

But the exodus of stalwarts Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the uncomfortable question of what the Big East will look like in the next year or the next decade couldn’t help but seep in.

Leaning forward in a chair facing the bleachers during the Hoyas’ media day, John Thompson III drew a simple analogy.

“Sometimes you wake up in the morning and your dog is sick,” Thompson said. “You hadn’t expected that and you’ve got to take the dog to the vet.”

Laughter followed.

But there is little humor for the conference stuck with the brunt of the realignment of college athletics. Thompson felt this was coming. He calls this a transformation, an evolution. Something that leaves the Hoyas in a unique position given their reliance on basketball, not football.

“It’s a reality that football is driving the ship right now as far as the television dollars associated with it,” Thompson said. “Frustrated or not, it’s what we’re living.”

But Thompson reiterated his position as a basketball coach, leaving no doubt where his loyalties lie. He believes the Big East remains the country’s toughest conference.

And, sure, Georgetown’s rivalry with Syracuse could be one victim of the evolution.

“Might that not be able to happen again? Maybe not,” Thompson said. “But time will tell. That’s life. That’s change. You live with it. You move on.”

And hope the future, whatever it looks like, doesn’t bring another visit to the vet.

NOTES: Thompson said his team is healthy, aside from Moses Ayegba, out for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament over the summer. Freshman Tyler Adams, sidelined for the China trip because of an ankle injury, has recovered. … In advance of the Maui Invitational, ESPNU is filming a behind-the-scenes look at the Hoyas that will focus on freshman Otto Porter, among others. Kansas, Memphis and UCLA will also be featured in the series of four hour-long episodes. A film crew was on hand for Thursday’s media day. … Though Thompson started an all-veteran lineup during August’s China trip, he left open the possibility a freshman could start this season.

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