I looked at the Georgetown men’s basketball schedule, which came out last week, and I have good news: you’re not going to need to camp outside of the Verizon Center at six in the morning in the freezing cold.
That’s not exactly what you want to hear before you shell out $125 for season tickets, but the sad truth is that the home schedule this year is weak. It’s not a bad schedule—there’s no way it could be, with nine Big East games—but let’s just say that fans aren’t likely to see President Obama courtside this year.
John Thompson III did his job with the non-conference schedule, setting up a challenging but manageable slate to prepare his team for the rigors of conference play. But entertaining the home fans fell slightly lower on his list of priorities. The Hoyas will play seven games on the road before Big East play begins. That’s the most since Thompson came to Georgetown. In fact, it’s the most since his father was at Georgetown; the Hoyas haven’t traveled this much in the first semester since 1980.
The past two seasons may have spoiled fans, with Duke (albeit in January) and Memphis the year before in the home game lineup, but there have always been games to go to in the fall. This year, it’s just Tulane, Utah State, Appalachian State, and Loyola, plus UNC Asheville over Thanksgiving weekend. Utah State is a good team, but as the highlight of the schedule, the Aggies leave something to be desired.
At the same time, it’s hardly an easy schedule for the Hoyas. HoyaSaxa.com ran the numbers, and based on opponents’ RPI from last season, Georgetown is playing its toughest non-conference schedule since before 2002, and the most difficult in the Big East. The Hoyas will play five teams that finished in the top 60 last year, and Utah State is the only one they’re playing at home. You’ll have to enjoy watching the likes of Memphis, Missouri, Temple, and Old Dominion on television.
The conference slate, meanwhile, is out of Georgetown’s hands. But the schedule-makers in Providence did not do Hoya fans any favors, either. The Hoyas are facing perennial powerhouses Villanova and Connecticut on their home courts. The conference title rematch against West Virginia will take place at the Verizon Center, but four days before classes start in January.
So should you pass on season tickets this year and blow $125 to watch the Heat play the Wizards and see some names you know? Of course not. This is still Georgetown basketball. In the end, it should always be the blue and gray jerseys that you’re going to see, not the visitors’. And the games are sure to be exciting, whether Georgetown rolls to a 30-point blowout or plays another nail biter against Rutgers.
The road ahead isn’t entirely bleak either. There’s an ESPN Big Monday matchup against Louisville, and a game against Big East favorite Pittsburgh on the first night of spring semester.
And of course, there’s the most important game of all, the match against the hated Orange. One thing the schedule-makers got right this year is the ‘Cuse game. After playing in New York earlier in the month, the Orange will come to D.C. at the end of February for Georgetown’s first Saturday game since 2004.
It also happens to be Georgetown’s final home game, giving Chris Wright, Austin Freeman, and Julian Vaughn the first real senior day since Roy Hibbert and Co. said goodbye with their last-minute win over Louisville. (Sorry Jesse Sapp, but you got screwed with DePaul over Spring Break.)
And that’s the real reward for slogging through an otherwise uninspiring home schedule. Make it to the end of February, and you’re in for the most meaningful, drunkest, and—depending on records—most important Syracuse game in years. That’s worth the price of admission alone.