Series: 2-2, plus a no contest
Where/When: Imperial Arena, approximately 9:30 PM
TV: AXS TV - good luck with that
While the DC area is expecting some sort of Thanksgiving Eve snowstorm your undefeated Georgetown Hoyas are down in Paradise at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Aside from collecting a $2 million dollar appearance fee, the Hoyas need to pick up a quality win or two before returning to the District.
As we know from last season's trip to Puerto Rico, you don't have to necessarily win your first game (Northeastern - cough, cough) to pick up some resume boosting W's - but it sure helps.
Up first for Coach John Thompson III's squad are the nationally ranked Florida Gators.
So what do we know about the Gators?
Well they went to the Final Four last year. That's a good start.
Florida has been the most consistent SEC team this decade with four straight Elite Eight appearances before breaking through last season and returning to college basketball's final weekend for the first time since 2007.
Honestly this section was really for the lesser known teams so let's move on since you know all about Florida anyway.
Gator lowdown: If there's such a thing as a good time to get Florida this season, now would be that time. Billy Donovan's guys are a bit banged up.
Depending on which Twitter ‘reports' you believe, it sounds as though Eli Carter will miss the game against the Hoyas while Dorian Finney-Smith will likely play with some sort of protective gear on his left hand. Carter, a Rutgers transfer, has a sprained foot while Finney-Smith, formerly of Virginia Tech, has two hairline finger fractures.
So with those two out, Michael Frazier II is definitely the main man right now. The 6-foot-4 guard's scoring average is up four points to 16 per game and that's without getting hot from deep.
The last time these two teams played - more on this later - Al Horford was a Gator. This time it's his brother - Jon Horford - that is down low for Florida, averaging 12 points and five rebounds per game. If Donovan goes man-to-man, Horford will probably draw the first assignment of trying to slow down Joshua Smith.
Jacob Kurtz, who is receiving the first significant playing time of his career as a senior, is rewarding Donovan with nearly 10 rebounds per game. The walk-on is a bit undersized at 6-foot-6, 210 lbs meaning that the taller Hoyas should be able to control the glass in Finney-Smith's absence.
My gut says that Florida usually wants to run and push the tempo but given their lack of a roster and their recent scores, I think they are going to want to play more of a halfcourt game, probably with a bunch of zone. Georgetown usually does well with teams that want to run but I think this game will be more of a grinder thanks to what Florida has to do.
Last time out: Florida wasn't expected to enter this game with a loss but they came really, really close to showing up at the 3,500 seat makeshift arena in Nassau with a losing record after needing a rally to defeat Louisiana-Monroe in overtime.
Florida's lone loss came at the hands of the U in a game where they lead pretty much throughout.
RPI: Win or lose, this game will obviously help Georgetown's RPI at the end of the season. Florida finished last season with the top ranked RPI.
Now on to your undefeated Georgetown Hoyas.
After three games in eight days it seems as though it's been forever since Georgetown took the court. That all changes with three games in three days, so let's look at some of key factors before the quarterfinal matchup in the Battle 4 Atlantis against Florida.
Depth: Well unless you were clamoring for JT3 to give 11 guys minutes - and I think for a second I was - last week went about as well as it could have in terms of mixing in all of the new players and playing around with different lineups.
After drawing a comparison to Patrick Ewing Jr after the Texas A&M-CC win, Aaron Bowen didn't see the court until there were six minutes left in the first half against Robert Morris. My guess is that it JT3 knows what Bowen gives him while he's still trying to figure out what he will get from the frosh.
I'm predicting that we see Mr. Bowen much sooner against the Gators - possibly the first guy off the bench.
Shooting: We are three games in and I'm still not sure who the shooters are on this team. Reggie Cameron got his chance last time out but he went just 1-for-5 from deep. I'm still assuming that D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera figures it out - he shot about 40 percent from long range last season - but will he have a sidekick is the real question.
The Gators will likely play a decent amount of zone so hitting some shots to loosen that up will likely be a big deal. L.J. Peak seems to have the potential to hit some shots from deep while Jabril Trawick showed off his long range form last time out in going 2-of-3 from three.
But getting back to Cameron, he needs to be that guy that can come off the bench, spot up, and bury open looks.
Mr. Double-Double: The 180 that Smith did in the span of seven days was not something that many people were expecting. While his double-doubles were impressive, Smith probably won't grab any national attention until he does it against a legit opponent. Florida obviously presents that opportunity.
Reason to be cynical: This will be the first time the Hoyas - with four freshmen - go on the road and face a team with the experience - even with the injuries - to beat them. Georgetown hasn't trailed much this season so how they handle some possible deficits - especially in the second half - could be a worry if you like to do that kind of thing.
Reason to be delusional: Florida is hurt, Georgetown is deep, and the line in Vegas has moved in the Hoyas favor. With your relatives coming into town, a win over Florida will give you a reason to be anti-social on Thursday afternoon. It's all coming together so very nicely.
Final thoughts: After Georgetown fans everywhere scramble to find AXS TV, the Hoyas reward their efforts with enough to take down the undermanned Gators. A newly motivated Smith is going to be too much for anybody on Florida to handle. That, along with JT3's depth, will just wear Florida down on one of the best days of the year - Thanksgiving Eve.
Personal final thoughts: That 2006 loss to Florida in the Sweet 16 was crushing. It's all that comes to mind when I think of the Gators and it still stings.
Man I loved that team. Yes the next season was better but the 2006 team had seniors like Cook, Bowman, and Owens that had been through the bad times (Esherick). You wanted to see them continue their run especially with Villanova waiting in the Elite Eight.
Even though I can remember exactly how it ended I just watched the last five minutes online. Shocker it still sucks.
For me it comes down to that lucky ass shot Brewer threw in after it looked like Bowman had tied him up. I guess it doesn't even really end there because it somehow turned into an and-1.
I was cool with the Hoyas final possession. I wanted Owens to try and win it from deep and even though he was probably a bit deep, he was wide open. For what it's worth, Florida won every other game in that tournament by double-digits. Ugh what might have been.