John Thompson has insisted it should not be. He has said his team should not be ranked so highly, that people should not expect all of those freshmen to produce all of those points and rebounds that they produced in high school.

He has said his team shouldn't be No. 5 in these preseason polls.

"I've tried to keep them sensible about this ranking stuff," said the Georgetown coach.

Tonight, the University of Southwestern Louisiana did something that made no sense at all. The Cajuns beat the Hoyas, 70-61, in the first-round of the Great Alaska Shootout.

This was to be the grand debut of seven-foot freshman center Patrick Ewing, who did play and did score seven points. But he got his fourth foul with 10:11 left to play and did not return.

Southwestern Louisiana led by 10 at the half and never had less than a six-point lead. Guard Alfred Turner scored 23 points to keep Georgetown's offense as frozen indoors as the streets of Anchorage are outdoors.

Georgetown, playing more like the No. 5 team in the Big East than the No. 5 team in the nation, will play a losers' bracket game Sunday at 2 a.m. EST against the loser of the University of Anchorage, Alaska-Washington State game, which was played late tonight.

Eric (Sleepy) Floyd and Eric Smith led the Hoyas with 18 and 16 points, respectively, in a game that was not exactly what the folks in 4,000-seat Buckner Fieldhouse had expected.

In their opener three weeks ago, Southwestern Louisiana ran out of gas against the Marathon Oil AAU team, 87-85. So you had to wonder about their chances tonight against the team that preseason polls insist is the fifth best in the nation.

But the Ragin' Cajuns started quickly, taking an 8-2 lead. Throughout most of a physical first half dominated by turnovers, many of them Georgetown's, Thompson sat quietly, looking as passive as a student listening to a college lecturer.

Southwestern Louisiana led, 35-25, after the mostly inauspicious college debuts of Ewing, Bill Martin and Anthony Jones.

As he had said he would, Thompson started Floyd and Fred Brown at guard, Ed Spriggs at center and Smith and Mike Hancock at forward. These are the Georgetown veterans.

But it was the Southwestern Louisiana players who were most significant in the first half. Forward Graylin Warner and guard Turner had 12 points each. Cajuns Coach Bobby Paschal used only six players in a fast-moving offense.

Thompson, who considers this first tournament of the season in the Last Frontier a mostly developmental thing ("But we will play to win," he said), used nine players.

Everyone in the Buckner Fieldhouse watched the Georgetown veterans, but waited for the freshmen.

They didn't have to wait long. Ewing replaced Spriggs 3:50 into the first half and 15 seconds later, he had his first intercollegiate points: naturally, a slam dunk.

Ewing played approximately 10 minutes in the first half and scored five points. It was an active 10 minutes, though. He drew two fouls, had two fouls of his own, blocked two shots, dribbled the ball once off his foot and made one of two free throws.

Jones, another of the fabled freshmen, scored on a 20-footer from the left base line moments after he entered the game. Martin, another freshman who has had his name publicized frequently, had a rebound five seconds after he entered.

Indeed, the freshmen were prominent quickly. But their first half in college competition, 4,000 miles and four times zones from McDonough Arena, was not exactly the kind that will continue to keep them a team of renown. Or a team with a winning record.