Last season: When UConn and Georgetown met last season in Washington, both were considered potential Big East frontrunners and had gotten off to decent starts. The Huskies, ranked 13th, were 11-3, 2-1 in the Big East; Georgetown, ranked 12th, was 11-2, 2-1.
The Huskies played exceptional basketball early, leading by 19 in the first half, 15 at halftime and 17 early in the second. But the Hoyas, behind a magnificent performance by Austin Freeman, came all the way back and won, 72-69. Freeman had 28 of his career-high 33 points in the second half.
It was the first of many frustrating, demoralizing losses for UConn, which wound up in the NIT largely because of sloppy and inactive offense that surfaced that day. Georgetown went on to finish 23-11, 10-8 in the Big East. The Hoyas lost to West Virginia in the Big East tournament championship game and to Ohio in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Who's gone, who's back: After two years with Georgetown, center Greg Monroe is off to the NBA. A terrific passer and low-post force, he was the perfect centerpiece to coach John Thompson's methodical offense. But while Hoyas have to compensate for the loss of their best player, they return enough players to again be a force in the Big East.
Freeman, who averaged a team-high 16.5 points last season and showed he is among the most gifted scorers in the nation when he is on, returns. So, too, does backcourt mate Chris Wright, who averaged 15.2 points last season. Jason Clark, who averaged 10.2 points last season, also returns. Julian Vaughn and Hollis Thompson could step up in the absence of Monroe.
Nate Lubick, a 6-9 forward from St. Mark's in Massachusetts, leads a four-player recruiting class and also could provide help up front.
The UConn-Georgetown rivalry: The Hoyas lead the all-time series, 33-27. The teams first played in 1958. The Huskies have lost their last four games to Georgetown after winning 11 in a row and 18 of 20.