The fun annual tradition of piecing together Georgetown's non-conference schedule through tournament announcements and other school's press releases is finally over as the Hoyas became the 247th team in college basketball to make their own schedule official earlier this afternoon. Hey, when you share an arena with other tenants it's going to take time!
After Arkansas State earlier this week became the latest school to announce a schedule that included the Hoyas, all that was really left to speculate on was the final two teams needed to round out the schedule. The state of North Carolina provided the final two entries on Coach John Thompson III's thirteenth home schedule in the form of Elon and UNC Greensboro.
As we've known for months the Hoyas challenging 2016-17 non-conference schedule will be highlighted by visits from Maryland and Connecticut as well as a trip to two polar opposites in Syracuse and Maui. It will be the first time since 1993 that Maryland will play the Hoyas in their home arena and it will be the first time that Georgetown has gone back to the Carrier Dome since Otto Porter Jr turned out the lights in 2013. While in Maui the Hoyas will play at least two (Oregon and Wisconsin/Tennessee) and possibly three excellent teams.
Statement Game: There's a lot to choose from given the heavy hitters on the Hoyas schedule but beating a likely Top 5 Oregon squad in Maui would be headline worthy and virtually ensures that Georgetown faces three quality opponents on the island. Syracuse and Maryland are right there in terms of statement game opponents based on the bad feelings and pride always involved.
Feast or Famine: Six of Georgetown's eight non-conference home games will be played against schools that had an RPI of 230 or greater last season. Three of them - USC Upstate, Coppin State, and Howard - were all worse than 300. The other two home games are high quality affairs against Maryland and UConn that could go a long way towards resume building. Last season, by comparison, Georgetown had five home games against schools with RPIs below 200. The Hoyas went 2-3.
Home upset alert: After dropping three unexpected home games last season it seems reasonable to try and sniff out the possible spoiler candidate this season. As mentioned above there isn't a lot to pick from so - mainly by default - the award goes to the Elon Phoenix out of the Colonial. Elon had a decent RPI of 162 last season and they return seven of their top eight scorers, all of whom averaged double figure minutes a year ago.
Back on Campus: The Hoyas will be playing a regular season home game at McDonough Gym for the first time since the Snowpocalypse season of 2009-10 when they take on Arkansas State on Nov 17. Georgetown lost to Old Dominion in the first of many blizzards that season. The smart money this season is on a Hoyas win without an El Nino based snow event. JT3's record in regular season home games on campus is 4-2. Five of those games happened in his first four seasons on the Hilltop.
Conference Break: When the Hoyas host UConn on Jan 14 it will be just the third time in JT3's 13 seasons that a non-conference foe will come into the Verizon Center in the middle of BIG EAST play. Georgetown won the previous two times this happened - both against Duke - in 2006 and again in 2010.
First Timers: Arkansas State and USC Upstate are the only newcomers on the Hoyas schedule. Georgetown has the possibility to make it three teams should they play Oklahoma State in Maui. The Cowboys are on the other side of the bracket.
First Time in a Long Time: When Georgetown faces LaSalle on Dec 10 in Miami it will be the 25th time that the Hoyas and Explorers have squared off but just the second time since 1965. Georgetown gets a chance to chip away at the series deficit as they trail 15-9 all-time.
Well if history is any indication the BIG EAST schedule should come out shortly. Last season it was released on Sept 8.
Below is the non-conference schedule with the home games bolded.
11/12 USC Upstate
11/17 Arkansas State (McDonough)
11/21 Oregon (Maui)
11/22 Wisconsin/Tennessee (Maui)
11/23 TBD (Maui)
11/30 Coppin State
12/4 Elon (BB&T)
12/10 LaSalle (Miami)
12/17 at Syracuse
12/22 UNC Greensboro