When Georgetown travels to Cincinnati to take on Xavier on New Year's Eve in the BIG EAST opener for both schools, it will be the Hoyas first true road game of the season. Now to be fair Georgetown has played four games at neutral sites against legit competition going 2-2.
So how unusual is it for a team from a high major conference to skip out on a road trip before the start of conference play? Is it something to be worried about? I tried to figure some of these things out.
So what I did was I looked at all of the teams in the BIG EAST, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, and Pac-12.
You could argue that I should have included conferences and teams such as the American, Atlantic 10, Mountain West, as well as the likes of Gonzaga, Wichita State, and BYU but I stopped where I stopped.
Here's what I found.
Georgetown is only team in the BIG EAST that didn't play a true road game in the non-conference season. Seton Hall and DePaul played the most games on the road with three each.
Two of our old friends from BIG EAST days gone by - Notre Dame and Boston College - haven't played a true road game just yet. The Irish have put together a nice 12-1 record but their RPI as of Sunday night was 100. The Eagles are just 6-4 with an RPI of 164.
Everybody in the Big XII went out on the road at least once - even if some of them were part of the Challenge with the SEC - so there's nothing to see there.
Ironically enough the only Big 10 team not to go out for a true road game just got done losing a neutral site thriller to the Hoyas at MSG this past Saturday. Indiana posted a nice 10-3 non-conference but - and I'm noticing a trend here - they have a poor RPI of 105.
In the Pac-12, Oregon is the only team to stick to home and neural site games. The Ducks are 8-3 with an RPI of - you guessed it - 118.
Thanks to Kentucky's travels this past weekend all of the SEC schools can claim at least one road game.
So of the 75 schools I looked at, just five will be playing their first true road game of the season in conference play. Of those five, Oregon plays the latest road game - January 15. That seems very Syracuse of the Ducks.
How Georgetown differs from those other four schools is that the Hoyas have a pretty solid RPI of 35 so there's no actual damage on the resume from a numbers standpoint.
From a practical perspective, it seems a bit risky to wait until conference play begins before you enter your first truly hostile environment.
So how unusual is it for Georgetown under JT3 not to play a road non conference game? Well recently, its' the norm to stay away from real road trips.
JT3 has played 21 true non conference road games in his eleven years in charge but just twice in the past four seasons - at Kansas last year and at Alabama - have his Hoyas gone on the road before being force to do so. Actually that trip to Tuscaloosa was forced as part of the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge.
With a 15-6 record in those true road games, JT3 has had success in playing at high majors (Michigan, Oregon), mid majors (ODU, JMU), and even low majors (Savannah State).
In JT3's second and third seasons, Georgetown went a combined 7-2 in true road games. Those seasons ultimately ended with trips to the Sweet 16 and Final Four.
On the flip side Georgetown played zero road games before going 6-3 in BIG EAST road trips and grabbing a share of the conference title two seasons ago.
The new scheduling blueprint seems to be to play in neutral site games and/or tournaments. On the surface this makes total sense since you don't have to go on the road in March but the end results aren't there right now.
With the reality of the new BIG EAST not being as strong as it once ways it seems as though there will be a bit of a shift in scheduling philosophy with trips to Syracuse and Connecticut on the horizon to go along with other series such as Kansas.
What I'd like to see is a switch back to some of the earlier JT3 scheduling with road games like ODU, JMU, and Navy brought back. I was at all of those games and even though JMU and Navy weren't very good teams at the time, the games had a lot of energy and you definitely felt like you were away from home. Worst case scenario is you pick up a loss but it won't actually hurt you that much in the long run. So adding one mid major road trip per season would be my recommendation in an effort to simulate an uncomfortable situation against a different type of team before March.
Of course all we can do is sit back and watch it unfold as the Hoyas try and steal one at the Cintas Center with three key players that have never played a collegiate road game.