The Georgetown men’s basketball team (0-2, Big East) will be looking for its first win Friday night, when it faces Wisconsin (2-1, Big Ten) at New York’s Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic. Tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m.
It’s the first of two games that the Hoyas will play in New York this weekend as part of the 2K Classic. The tournament also features No. 4 Duke (2-1, ACC) and VCU (2-0, Atlantic 10), who will face off in the second game Friday night. The Hoyas will face either one of those two teams on Sunday afternoon depending on the outcome of Friday’s games.
The Blue and Gray are 0-2 to start the season for the first time since the 1998-99 season after falling to No. 3 Maryland (2-0, Big Ten) Tuesday night. The Hoyas led by as many as seven points, 61-54, with 4:30 to go, but succumbed to a late three-point shooting barrage from the Terrapins.
“I think that we made key mistakes at key times. They made key plays at key times,” said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III at the team’s media availability Thursday afternoon. “We got to get past that. It’s hard. We’re going to NY 0-2 and going to play against two very good teams. We have to continue to learn on the fly and improve on the fly.”
Thompson, however, is not letting his team get caught up in the possibility of an 0-4 start to the season. He emphasized that the Hoyas have to get better one play at a time.
“We just have to get better. We have to improve. We aren’t looking at it like, “Ooh, let’s not let two (losses) get to four,’” said Thompson. “It’s ‘let’s go out and play well the next game. Let’s go out and play well the next half. Let’s go out and play well the next possession.’ If we take care of that, the big picture will take care of itself.”
This is the second consecutive season that the Hoyas will play Wisconsin. The two teams met last season in the Battle 4 Atlantis, where the Badgers won 68-65. The Badgers went on to play in the national championship game against Duke last year, led by the play of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker who now play in the NBA. (https://primer.com.au/) Although their personnel may be different, Thompson emphasized the continuity that the Badgers have within their system.
“Wisconsin’s Wisconsin,” said Thompson. They don’t change much. They’re always very very good. They don’t beat themselves.
“You have to play very well to beat them, at both ends of the court,” he later added. “They execute, through the years, as well as any team in college basketball.”
Senior center Bradley Hayes will seek to continue his strong start to the season. The seven-footer is averaging 17.5 points and 10 rebounds after two games. He also has shot 68 percent from the floor on 15-of-22 shooting. Thompson is happy to see his senior get off to a strong start after an almost non-existent first three years on the Hilltop.
“He cares about winning. He’s a selfless player,” said Thompson. “He wants to do any and everything that it takes to win. Two games in, I’m glad to see him get a reward for the work he’s put in.”
The Hoyas will be without sophomore guard Tre Campbell for the whole weekend. Campbell did not make the trip with team to New York due an undisclosed illness. Sophomore forward Paul White, who has missed the past two games with a hip injury, will be a game-time decision.
“Everybody has to be ready to contribute,” said Thompson. “We’ve got some forwards that we can put in the backcourt and they’re going to have to that.”
This will be the fourth consecutive year that the Hoyas will play a regular season neutral-site game at Madison Square Garden. The Blue and Gray have had success in all of those games, defeating Texas in 2012-13, Michigan State in 2013-14, and Indiana last season. Thompson hopes that the venue can help kickstart the Hoyas’ season and get his team their first win.
“We like going up there,” said Thompson. “We do think of it as a home away from home.”
The Voice will be up in New York this weekend to cover both of Georgetown’s games in the 2K Classic. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @GUVoiceSports for our live tweets and coverage leading up to, during, and after the games.