Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas Take on Surprising Bulls

Saturday’s 11 a.m. game was not expected to be a big-time Big East matchup. South Florida and Georgetown were picked to finish 14th and 10th, respectively, in October’s Big East preseason polls.

Instead, both teams find themselves in the top five of the Big East. The No. 14 Hoyas are third with a 7-3 conference record, and the unranked Bulls are half a game back in fifth place at 6-3.

Georgetown’s ranking is reflective of its superior non-conference schedule and victories over the likes of Louisville and Marquette in Big East play. Conversely, South Florida has feasted on lesser competition. With a 13-9 overall record, the Bulls are 0-3 against teams ranked in the top 25 of the RPI, and their only Big East wins have come against teams in the lower half of the conference standings.

However, the Bulls are not to be overlooked, as the Hoyas know all too well. Two years ago, star center Greg Monroe and company — ranked seventh in the country at the time — were dealt an embarrassing home loss by Dominique Jones and the Bulls. The loss was even more inexplicable given the context, as it occurred in between easy Hoya victories over then-No. 8 Duke and then-No. 2 Villanova.

This year, South Florida is again sandwiched in the schedule between two major Georgetown rivals: UConn and No. 2 Syracuse.

Yet despite the Bulls’ average record, they haven’t gone away quietly against the tougher teams they’ve faced. South Florida lost to UConn by just three and to Southern Mississippi, ranked ninth in the RPI, by just a basket. On the other hand, the Bulls’ most important victory was a one-point squeaker against a mediocre Seton Hall team.

That the Bulls are fifth in the conference is largely due to the stellar defense they’ve been playing. Halfway through their Big East schedule, South Florida has held opponents to just 31 percent from behind the arc and has outrebounded most of its opponents.

The game’s featured matchup will occur in the trenches, as 6-foot-10 senior centers Henry Sims and Augustus Gilchrist will go head-to-head in the paint. Gilchrist leads his team with 10.7 points and 1.4 blocks per game, also grabbing 5.3 rebounds per game, the third-highest average on the Bulls. Sims leads Georgetown with 3.5 assists and 1.6 blocks per game while also contributing 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m Saturday at Verizon Center.

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