The Georgetown-St. John's game at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night has piqued the interest of basketball coaches and cognoscenti. When the teams met Jan. 26 at Capital Centre, the Hoyas were ranked No. 1 and the Redmen third.
But since their 66-65 upset, the Redmen have been ranked first and Georgetown second in both polls.
How do some experts view Wednesday's game?
Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino: "It's going to be a classic.
"Their (the Hoyas') explosiveness is awesome. With Patrick (Ewing), they can do almost anything. The way to beat them is to slow the tempo down. Georgetown's tempo is up. They really rely on the break and Patrick swats everything away."
Pittsburgh Coach Roy Chipman: "First of all, it's a game between, by far, the best two teams in the country.
"It will be a game of styles. And the team who dictates the style will win. Georgetown runs and St. John's slows it down.
"John (Thompson) made a commitment to press; he made his team a 94-foot team. The running game is their big thing. And I like to see them playing this way. St. John's will run if it's there but in the final analysis they want to get it into a half-court situation -- to their bread and butter, (Chris) Mullin and (Walter) Berry.
"About a home-court advantage, I don't think so. It's (Madison Square Garden) a neutral site. If they were playing in Alumni Hall it would be more of a factor. . . All the kids have been to the NCAA (tournament) so they're used to it. . . .
Billy Packer, CBS-TV color commentator: "In watching their progress over the season, I think Georgetown started out as well as anyone. Even though they changed styles of play. Maybe they were too good too soon. And it frightened John (Thompson). Maybe he pulled them back a little to harness them.
"Just the opposite was true for St. John's. With Walter Berry coming on board, they were a little sloppy in early December, even up to the week before they faced Georgetown. . . But now the team has taken on the personality of Chris Mullin in that they really believe they can. They're a lot better team.
"Georgetown's a better team, because John is ready for the push. The game means more to him now (than when they first met). Both teams are primed to play better.
"I don't see any home court advantage. None. . . . The home court advantage, as we knew it in the old days, is insignificant.
"St. John's is difficult to press and that's Georgetown's strength. St. John's breaks the press with its secondary ball handler, unlike most teams. They use Mullin for that. Then they get the ball to (Mike) Moses in the open court. Moses gets the ball and he feeds Berry. No other team in the country goes at Georgetown with that kind of lineup. When you wind up with (Bill) Wennington and Berry on Pat Ewing, you can get him in foul trouble.
"I think it's about time for St. John's to get beat. I'd go with Georgetown."
Boston College Coach Gary Williams: "It (this game) has been in the back of their minds all along."
"Both teams have been playing well. St. John's was impressive against Syracuse, and Georgetown looked good against Connecticut.
"Georgetown has the speed. But St. John's is one of the few teams that is as big as Georgetown. In fact, St. John's is bigger than Georgetown's overall lineup.
"Georgetown's defense is so tough. They wear you down and make you take bad shots. St. John's will go at Georgetown with a man-to-man. It'll be one of the few times you'll see that.
"In the last game Georgetown had the pressure of the streak. But since St. John's has beaten them it takes the monkey off their backs. . . Sometimes it's easier to play when you're an underdog.
"St. John's beat Syracuse in the Dome and that's the toughest place to play. Madison Square Garden is Louie's (Carnesecca, St. John's coach) home court as much as Alumni Hall."
De Paul Coach Joey Meyer: (the Blue Demons were St. John's and Georgetown's only common nonconference opponent) "I'm an expert. I got blown out twice in the same game by Georgetown and once by St. John's.
"If you're going to beat them (Georgetown), you have to handle their pressure for 40 minutes. Georgetown's pressure got to us.
"Georgetown you look at as strong because of Patrick. I give the edge to Georgetown because of the man in the middle. You look at St. John's and Wennington is slow and Mullin doesn't seem that quick, but they get it done. You look on paper and you have to give the personnel edge to Georgetown.
"With the press and Ewing, I'd put my money on Georgetown."
Boston Celtics color commentator Bob Cousy: "It's almost impossible to beat a good team back to back. And now, Georgetown has the psychological advantage.
"St. John's will say in conversation that Georgetown is the team to beat, so they're just as motivated.
"Everyone, in their hearts, knows that Georgetown is really the No. 1 team in the country.
"Now you've got the best team in the country in my opinion, that is highly motivated having lost the first game, at home. . . I'll be surprised if Georgetown doesn't win and do so convincingly.
"St. John's, besides Mullin, can be very careless with the ball."
Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim: "It's the two best teams in the country. For sure. It's best to let them play and see what happens.
"In the beginning of the season, everyone thought there was one best team. St. John's has proved that there are two best teams.
". . . Georgetown won't be bothered by home courts. They've been through so much.
"I haven't seen two players like them (Mullin and Ewing) since I've been in the league. Mr. Outside and Mr. Inside.