The last time the Georgetown men's basketball team ran onto the court at MCI Center, the Hoyas were a team that wasn't deemed good enough to play in the NCAA tournament.
Today, when the Hoyas take the floor against Vanderbilt in their home opener, they will begin to see if they are worthy enough this season. For Georgetown (2-0), this is the first of a three-game stretch against major conference teams that could wind up in the NCAA tournament.
The Hoyas are playing their first game at MCI Center since March, when they hosted Boston University in the National Invitation Tournament. Next, they will travel to Oregon (3-0) on Dec. 3 and to No 15 Illinois (3-0) on Dec. 8.
Georgetown hasn't faced a nonconference run like this since the 1999-2000 season, when it played North Carolina, Florida and UNLV -- three eventual NCAA tournament teams -- in consecutive games. (The Hoyas lost all three.)
In Vanderbilt (3-0), the Hoyas face a team much like themselves. The Commodores, who lost in the quarterfinals of the NIT last season one year after advancing to the NCAA regional semifinals, have balance and experience. They have a versatile wing in 6-foot-6 sophomore Shan Foster, who leads the team with 19.3 points per game.
Vanderbilt "is obviously an experienced team, a veteran team," Coach John Thompson III said. "They know exactly what we do; they run the same stuff we run. But when you go through the league for a second time, people know what you are doing and it becomes a matter of execution."
Center Roy Hibbert has been the Hoyas' most dominant player thus far; the 7-2 sophomore is averaging 21.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Two other players are averaging 10 or more points per game, but the surprising thing is that neither is Jeff Green or Brandon Bowman. (They are guard Ashanti Cook and wing Darrel Owens.)
Forwards Bowman and Green were Georgetown's top two scorers last season, and there were only seven games in which someone other than Green or Bowman led the Hoyas in scoring. Both players shot 50 percent from the field last season.
In the first two games this year, Green and Bowman shot a combined 38 percent (14 for 37). Together, they have committed 15 of the Hoyas' 27 turnovers.
Neither Green nor Bowman played particularly well on the offensive end at James Madison on Monday; Green scored a career-low four points on 2-of-10 shooting, while Bowman had six points on 3-of-10 shooting. Both players had open looks at the basket and failed to convert them.
"For us to be successful, they have to play well," Thompson said. "But you can look at it as our two leading scorers have not scored [much], and we've still won two games. That's the nature of this team. We want to win games, and who scores the points is irrelevant."