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Hoyas Historic Underdogs at No. 2 UConn

Georgetown opened at +23.5. Largest previous spread for the Hoyas was +20.5 in 1999.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

When Georgetown takes the court against No. 2 UConn later tonight there will have already been some history made. It’s just not exactly the kind that Hoya fans will want to talk about.

Georgetown opened up as 23 and a half point underdogs on Monday afternoon.

Twenty. Three. And. A. Half.

It’s the largest number for the Hoyas since at least the early to mid 1990s - more on that at the bottom of this article - and it’s likely the largest number for Georgetown since the formation of the Big East. Now this can’t come as a total shock for those out there that like to scan sites like KenPom and such but it’s still wild to see a number this large between two schools that have combined to win 15 conference tournament crowns. Georgetown, of course, has eight.

Now I’m not saying that this will lead to any changes but we should pause for a moment to look back at the only other time something like this happened with a Georgetown game. That time it was followed pretty closely by a major move that rocked the Hoya fan base out of seemingly nowhere. Personally I remember logging on to AOL on some huge desktop computer when I was home on winter break and not believing what the hell I was seeing as the screen slowly loaded incrementally on a tube monitor. Shoot I probably used one of those disks with free hours while tying up the home phone line as my younger sister complained to my mom about needing to call a friend but I digress.

The only other time the Hoyas have been 20-point dogs came against these same Huskies last century. It was on Jan. 2, 1999 as the Hoyas (+20.5) lost 87-64 to then-No. 1 UConn. Hall of Fame Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr decided to retire from coaching less than a week later. Big John coached just once more before walking away 13 games into the season to focus on his personal life. UConn would of course go on to win the first of three National Championships under coach Jim Calhoun come April. Georgetown, under Craig Esherick, went on to make the NIT.

It really is rare to see spreads this high involving major conference teams, particularly in conference play. The last time a Big East game had a spread as large as 23.5 points it was - you guessed it - DePaul (+24.5) at - you also probably guessed it - Villanova back on Dec. 28, 2016. The Blue Demons actually put quite a scare into Jay Wright’s team that night losing just 68-65 but it wouldn’t be a sign of good things to come as they finished the season 9-23 (2-18). They did however pick up a late win at Georgetown that may have been one of the last straws for JT3.

OK so of the teams currently in the Big East only four - DePaul, Georgetown, Providence and St. John’s - have been a 20-point or greater dog in a conference match-up. DePaul is the leader in the clubhouse having been so seven times, St. John’s checks in at six while Providence and Georgetown have done so once. The Hoyas are likely to make it two later today. None of the teams have an outright win in this position combining to go 0-15. In looking at the teams that eventually left the Big East they, too, also failed to win in the same spot, going 0-14 from the mid 90s until leaving. Rutgers led the way of ex-Big East teams going 0-4. So that’s at least 0-29 outright winners when facing such unlikely odds.

Georgetown has flirted with being a 20-point dog twice under Ewing with both games coming against Villanova. Both lines ended up falling just short at 19. 5 and 19 points respectively.

If you are looking for some good news to help you believe that upsets are possible, it’s hard to find that info here. Since rejoining the league, Connecticut is 4-0 against Georgetown with three of the meetings being decided by double-digits. The closest game was a nine point Husky W. In the last three meetings the Huskies have scored 86, 96 and 98 points. Georgetown of course lost their conference opener last Friday by allowing Xavier to pour in 102.

So sit back and relax later tonight as you are guaranteed to see history one way or the other.

Note: For this post I used the database on I emailed the site a few days ago asking how far back their data goes but I’ve yet to receive a response. Based on search information it appears that their data goes back until the early to mid 1990’s. It seems unlikely that Georgetown would have been a 20-point underdog or greater at any point from 1980 to the mid 90s, particularly in conference play.