NCAA Basketball Game Preview: Tennessee vs. Georgetown

Tennessee Volunteers vs. Georgetown Hoyas

Tip-off: Friday, November 30, 2012 – 6:30 PM ET

Verizon Center, Washington, DC

Even when losing their top three scorers from the previous college basketball season and not having a senior on the roster, the Georgetown Hoyas have done a great job that’s been enough to earn some early national recognition by online sports betting experts.

With strong showings against two of the nation’s top programs already under their belt, the No. 20 Georgetown could face another difficult test against visiting Tennessee Volunteers tonight as part of the SEC/Big East Challenge.

The Hoyas (4-1) received a few votes in the preseason AP poll, but not much was expected this early after top scorers Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims moved on. That trio led Georgetown to a 24-9 record in 2011-12.

Everything was different when the college basketball team handed then-No. 11 UCLA Bruins a 78-70 defeat in Brooklyn on Nov. 19. The next night, the Hoyas took top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers to overtime before falling 82-72.

Coach John Thompson III has three sophomore starters plus a sophomore and a freshman as his top reserves and is seriously hoping those results on a big stage at the new Barclays Center will help his young team out.

The Hoyas performance in Brooklyn and a 72-50 home victory over Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday helped the program return to the Top 25 after it was ranked 15th in the final poll last season. Even so, coach Thompson does not want to get YouWager fans too much hope, especially after Georgetown led by only two at halftime Saturday.

Guard Markel Starks, who started 25 games as a sophomore last season, is averaging 19.3 points on 57.9 percent shooting in the last three college basketball games.Sophomore forward Otto Porter has averaged 16.7 and 9.7 rebounds as well.

The Hoyas would like to improve to 3-0 in the SEC/Big East Challenge and will take on the Volunteers (4-1) for the first time since losing 90-78 when both schools were ranked Nov. 28, 2008.

Tennessee is 2-1 in this event and have won two in a row overall since shooting an anemic 26.0 percent in a 62-45 defeat to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 16. Jarnell Stokes and Trae Golden combined for 37 points on 14-of-17 shooting in a 77-50 victory over the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Monday.

In their most dominating effort of the season, the Volunteers held Oklahoma State to 28.6 percent shooting and owned a 42-29 advantage on the glass.