Game 2: Georgetown Hoyas (1-0) v Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders (1-0)
Series: First ever meeting
Where/When: Verizon Center, Tuesday 7PM
TV: Fox Sports 2 - a channel some people get, even fewer in HD
So what do we know about the Islanders?
Well we know that their campus looks like a Spring Break destination - they are literally located on an island, they've been playing D1 basketball since the fall of 1999, and they have a top 10 online graduate nursing program. That's it. That's the list.
Islanders lowdown: After a 12-game improvement in the win column last season, Coach Willis Wilson led Texas A&M-CC to its second ever postseason bid in the form of a 1-1 run in the CIT.
With seven upperclassmen and much of the roster returning, the Islanders have been picked to finish fourth among thirteen teams in the Southland Conference.
All you really need to know about First Team All-Southland Conference performer John Jordan is that the 5-foot-10 point guard won the Islanders Invasion dunk contest for the fourth consecutive time in October. He's crazy athletic and does a little bit of everything. Sophomore forward Rashawn Thomas had a great freshman season which earned him Second Team All-Southland Conference honors this preseason.
Last time out: TAMUCC begin a three-game roadtrip at the Verizon Center Tuesday night after a season opening home victory over something called Our Lady of the Lake. The Saints are an NAIA school so that game doesn't even really count which leads me to my next topic....
RPI: Even though they finished second in the Southland Conference last season the Islanders posted an RPI of 233. In fact the league only had four schools with RPI's better than 200 so don't expect this game to help seeding that much come Selection Sunday 2015.
Now on to your undefeated Georgetown Hoyas.
It's been a pretty good couple of days in Hoya Land with L.J. Peak having a record breaking performance on Saturday and then D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera making the initial Wooden Award Top 50 Watch List on Monday. After Coach John Thompson improved to 9-2 in season openers, let's talk about some of the more pressing issues heading into the second game of the season.
3-pointers: The Hoyas attempted just ten three-pointers - with two makes - in finally leveling the all-time series with St. Francis. Last season Georgetown attempted ten or fewer long distance tries just once in 33 games (2-of-7 in the loss at Providence that is best known for Jabril Trawick breaking his jaw). For the season the Hoyas averaged six makes in 18 attempts.
So how much of this had to do with D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera taking over the point guard duties? Probably not that much as last season Markel Starks had no problem handling the ball and hoisting up a team-high 175 three-pointers. If Reggie Cameron doesn't get more minutes - he took and missed two three-pointers in five minutes on Saturday - where are the other attempts going to come from outside of DSR? Tre Campbell seems the most likely suspect at this point.
Bench minutes: For the first time in what seems like forever, Georgetown had four reserves tally double digit minutes - Paul White (18 minutes), Isaac Copeland (17), Campbell (15) and Aaron Bowen (11). You might think that Bowen's minutes were a bit low but I think that's a function of JT3 knowing when he has in the fifth-year swingman.
Backup big: As mentioned above, JT3 did a great job giving out minutes to the bench - particularly the freshmen. However if there is a nit to pick it would be the lack of minutes for either Bradley Hayes or Trey Mourning. With JT3 starting two of the traditional four bigs on his roster, it seems likely that will eventually come to a game where Mikael Hopkins is in foul trouble and Josh Smith needs a break - at the same time. It seems rather important for either Hayes or Mourning to get some meaningful minutes before leaving for the Bahamas. They combined for just six minutes in Saturday's win.
Tough love: JT3 is rarely critical of his players in public which makes his post game remark about Smith's lack of rebounding being "unacceptable" carry even more weight than normal. The bigger Hoyas need to win the battle of the boards with the Islanders and Smith needs to pick up more than two rebounds - especially on the defensive glass.
Century Club: With one more block Hopkins will tie Courtland Freeman ('04) and Brandon Bowman ('06) for 16th on the school's all-time block list with 100. If Hopkins increases his blocks for a third consecutive season, it's realistic for the senior big man to finish in the Top 10 - just between Mike Sweetney ('03) and Jahidi White ('98).
Reason to be cynical: TAMUCC's point guard play could remind some of Florida Gulf Coast from 2013. If Jordan gets going, he might be hard to stop. Throw in the other six upperclassmen and the Islanders might end up hanging around much longer than anyone at the Verizon Center will be interested in seeing.
Reason to be delusional: As we all know, Peak still hasn't missed from the field. If we are lucky he will end up sending everybody on press row diving into the record books for the second consecutive game looking up random stats for stellar freshman performances.
Final thoughts: Georgetown should easily win the second of what are essential three preseason games before the Battle 4 Atlantis. Much like Saturday in which the Hoyas eased up a bit on their way to a first half blowout, all of the different lineups and looks will result in a lead of around ten or so at the break and a win of about 20 or so. Expect a lot of the same plus a bounce back game from Smith-Rivera. After a nearly perfect opening game as a freshman, the junior guard has now struggled in season openers against Oregon and St. Francis.