New Big East affected JTIII's scheduling plans

New Big East affected JTIII's scheduling plans
September 2, 2013, 8:30 am
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(Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports)

Over the next few days, we'll learn the exact dates and opponents that will make up the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball schedule. What we know so far about the non-conference lineup is that it includes marquee games in historic and exotic locations. No, nothing with Syracuse, not this season anyway.

There is the regular season opener against Oregon at a military base in South Korea followed by the Puerto Rico Tip-off. There is a pre-Christmas visit to face the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence and the Super Bowl weekend matchup against Michigan State at Madison Square Garden.

Any fans hoping for a late scheduling surprise, whether the opponent is orange-clad or not, should stop hoping according to the head Hoya.

"That's enough, don't you think?" Georgetown coach John Thompson III cracked during a recent interview with CSNWashington.

Certainly seems like a formidable slate and the norm for the Hoyas under this Thompson. What's new is the changing Big East lineup, which means fewer of those overt national powers are part of the conference schedule. That change, Thompson said, "absolutely" affected his scheduling desires this season and beyond.

"Putting together a schedule is difficult because you're serving many masters," Thompson said. "You want your fan base to have some games they appreciate. There are dollars. Exposure is at the forefront of a lot of decisions. Maybe more important than any of that is getting your group prepared."

Thompson fretted about the schedule for his senior-less club before the season tipped last season. The current squad, led by seniors Markel Starks and Nate Lubick, comes loaded with experience. That will come in handy considering how the coach views the entire line up.

"We have a challenging schedule," said Thompson, who enters his 10th season coaching the program. "I think people will look at those marquee games and think that's all I'm talking about. What we tried to do is - even the games that aren't the super sexy games, those are against tough opponents."

The retooled, 10-team Big East will announce its schedule this week.

"We go into start a new league where we're into home-and-home. That's different than in the past where we knew we were only going to play three teams twice. It's completely different now. We put together a challenging schedule across the board."

For all the changes in the college basketball landscape, Georgetown's desirability as a coveted draw remains.

Thompson: "We're fortunate - and you can thank a lot of the people who played here before - that even in this time of change, I think we're still desired. We're fortunate to be in the position where people want us to participate in these special events. If give the opportunity and it makes sense, we're going to do it."

The Hoyas start the season against Oregon on November 8 at a U.S. Army base in South Korea. 

"You get a chance to go to Korea and it's not just a chance to see the world. It's truly an opportunity for our guys to get some semblance, some understanding of what those in the military do for this country," Thompson said.

That contest will give the coach some understanding of his team before the next test. Less than two weeks later, Georgetown heads away from the U.S. mainland again to play in the Puerto Rico Tip-off from November 21-24. 

Starks and crew begin the tournament with Northeastern and could face Kansas State in their next game. Michigan, 2013 NCAA Tournament finalist, and VCU are on the other side of the bracket. 

One month later, Georgetown starts its four-year series with Kansas, playing the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse on December 21.

Outside of the Big East, the home schedule remains the biggest mystery. One report has the Hoyas hosting Wright State on November 13.

As for facing longtime rival and new ACC program Syracuse, it will happen. Perhaps during the 2014-15 season if the scheduling gods cooperate.

"We're going to play them," Thompson stated. "Not this year, but will eventually start up a series with them, absolutely."