Georgetown's about to go on break

Sports,College,Craig Stouffer

After game vs. Eagles, Hoyas don't play for two weeks

Georgetown might as well gripe about the Big East while it's still a part of the conference.

One week after they were among the seven teams announcing their departure from the league, the Hoyas (9-1) will play their last tuneup before league play begins against American.

Like the academic institution itself, they then will lie dormant for the holidays. Georgetown has a rare two weeks between games before it heads out on the road for its first Big East contest of the season at Marquette on Jan. 5.

Up next
American at No. 15 Georgetown
When » Saturday, noon
Where » Verizon Center

"It was not by design, to be honest with you," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "Every other year, we have a Big East game between Christmas and New Year's, and we had anticipated having a Big East game between Christmas and New Year's. And then the schedule comes out, and we don't. It was just hard to fill it in at that late of a date, to get another game."

After a short break for Christmas, the Hoyas will stick to the confines of McDonough Gymnasium, while the Golden Eagles will host N.C. Central on Dec. 29 and their Big East opener against Connecticut on Jan. 1.

"It's a love-hate type of thing. You love to have that break," Hoyas junior guard Markel Starks said. "It's great to be able to rest your body. But at the same time, Marquette would've played [twice] during that span of time when we're here. It's going to be interesting to see whether that helps or hurts."

Despite a six-game winning streak that has propelled it to 15th in the country after it started the year unranked, Georgetown still has plenty to refine before conference play gets under way.

The Hoyas are 14th among Big East teams in rebounding (33.0 per game) and 14th in scoring (66.8 points per game), in part because they are ranked 13th in 3-point shooting (31.2 percent). Georgetown was third in the league from behind the arc last season. Greg Whittington's breakout performance against Western Carolina (career-high 25 points) provided a much-needed boost.

The Eagles (4-7) have a trio of players who regularly shoot 38.6 percent or better from the 3-point line to complement the inside presence of 6-foot-8 forward Stephen Lumpkins (15.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg).

Thompson, meanwhile, insisted that the Hoyas' conference realignment saga hasn't been disruptive to his team. But the players have been paying attention.

"It's obviously been a pretty big cloud for everyone in the conference," junior forward Nate Lubick said. "So it's nice to get that out of the way and for us to be able to control our own destiny of where we're going. Unfortunately -- or fortunately -- it won't affect me, but I know [the underclassmen] are excited, and I think the league will stay strong."

It remains to be seen whether Georgetown leaves the Big East in time for the 2014-15 season or whether it will have to wait until the following year.

"If you are certain that change is coming, then it probably would be beneficial to everyone if you get to the change as soon as possible," Thompson said. "We'll see how that plays out."

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