South Florida-Georgetown Preview

Georgetown and South Florida each feature All-Big East

first-team players in Greg Monroe and Dominique Jones,

respectively. It’s second-team member Austin Freeman, however, who

has drawn the headlines with his health in question for the No. 22

Hoyas.

Freeman will try to put aside his past poor performances in the

Big East tournament Wednesday when Georgetown looks to gain revenge

for a regular-season loss to the Bulls.

The Hoyas (20-9) got a spectacular junior season from Freeman,

who averaged a team-high 17.3 points on a career-best 54.2 percent

shooting. His play, though, became a secondary matter when Freeman

was diagnosed with diabetes in the wake of a 78-64 home loss to

Notre Dame on Feb. 27.

After missing a game, Freeman made a triumphant return to the

lineup with 24 points in a 74-47 rout of Cincinnati on

Saturday.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Freeman said. “It was just good to be out

there again to be playing with my teammates and just doing what I

do. It was just a lot of fun to be out there. … It was just the

same.”

Freeman has had a minimal impact in four conference tournament

games, averaging 7.8 points. He scored eight and Monroe fouled out

with 13 in a 64-59 loss to St. John’s last year as the Hoyas were

eliminated in their first game.

Monroe, the Big East rookie of the year last season, was second

on the Hoyas in scoring (16.0) and fourth in the conference in

rebounds (9.6).

“Speaking for myself and probably most of my teammates, I am

very excited,” Monroe said. “Definitely for the Big East. I am not

looking past the Big East right now. I’ve been there and I know it

was only one game, this time I am trying to make a bigger splash

than we did last year.”

Georgetown looked to be in line for a high seed in the NCAA

tournament before losing five of its last nine, starting with a

72-64 home loss to South Florida (20-11) on Feb. 3. Jones scored 22

of his 29 points in the second half as the Bulls overcame a

nine-point deficit at the break.

“We were very fortunate, we played well at Georgetown,

especially in the second half,” coach Stan Heath said. “Dominique

had a phenomenal game and I am sure they will make some adjustments

against him.”

Jones led the conference in scoring in Big East games (23.2) and

helped the Bulls record nine league wins after never having more

than four since becoming a member in 2005. He scored 20 as South

Florida earned its first Big East tournament victory Tuesday, 58-49

over DePaul.

The Hoyas received a bye into this round and are secure in

knowing they should receive an NCAA at-large berth, but South

Florida is not. The Bulls, winners of four straight, need a strong

showing this week to gain their first NCAA bid since 1992.

The winner will advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals to face

third-ranked Syracuse, the top seed.