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Big East Season Preview: Georgetown Hoyas

Georgetown is looking to bounce back after a tough season on The Hilltop. Luckily, things are on the up and up for the Hoyas in the 2014 season.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

2013-14 Record: 18-15 (8-10); Lost in 1st Round of Big East Tournament to DePaul

Coach: John Thompson III enters his 11th season as Georgetown men basketball coach, looking to have a better season than the team did last year. This season, the Hoyas are projected to be one of the top teams in the Big East, alongside longstanding rival, Villanova.

Key Returnees: D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera (17.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 44% FG, 87% FT), Joshua Smith (11.5 PPG, 3.1 APG, 9.1 RBG, 65% FG,  63% FT), Jabril Trawick (9.1 PPG, 3.1 RBG, 1.7 APG, 60% FG, 69% FT)

Notable Losses: Markel Starks (Graduated 17.6 PPG, 2.3 RBG, 4.1 APG, 41.2% FG, 87% FT, 32.6% 3 PT), Nate Lubick (Graduated 5.1 PPG 5.4 RBG, 1.7 APG, 0.6 SPG, 58.2% FG, 53.1% FT)

Additions: L.J. Peak (4-star recruit), Isaac Copeland (4-star recruit), Paul White (4-star recruit), Tre Campbell (4-star recruit), Trey Mourning (3-star recruit)

Projected Starting Lineup: D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Jabril Trawick, Isaac Copeland, Mikael Hopkins, and Joshua Smith

Key Nonconference Matchups: November 26 vs. Florida, December 10 vs. Kansas, December 21 vs. Indiana

Last Season at a Glance

Georgetown took a huge downfall when Joshua Smith was ruled out due to academic issues. Combine that with a slew of injuries all at once, and the Hoyas took a pit fall once the conference season began. While they did fight hard -- going on a four-game winning streak in early February -- they could not tussle hard enough, falling on the wrong side of the coin in a number of contests.

In numerous games, Georgetown had big lead and then crumbled towards the end. One that sticks out is their matchup against Xavier in January at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. Georgetown had a 17-point lead with 10 minutes left, but the Musketeers stormed ahead and would go on to win by double digits.

Defense was one of the main issues that hindered them from being as succesful as they would have liked to be. In the 2012-13 season, the Hoyas were second in the nation in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, a metric that measures points allowed per 100 possessions. One year later, they finished 107th in the category.

Also, they lost a few games that they really should have had no business losing, highlighted by the miserable loss to DePaul in the first round of the Big East Tournament. The Hoyas' season ended in the second round of the NIT, where they fell to Florida State in Tallahassee.

2014-15 Outlook

With a talented recruiting class coming in, that has different componemts that will help Georgetown this year, some of the freshman will play at some point during the season. Georgetown has depth at almost every position. Jabril Trawick can play the point guard position or shooting guard, and will likely be put in situations were he will need to play the three.

Tre Campbell will be one the freshman who gets time immediately at the point guard, because John Thompson III will want Trawick most likely at the two because of his size. All of the older guys have been impressed with all of the freshman, but the player that stands out to them is L.J. Peak, whose athleticism is on another level for someone just coming into college.

Georgetown is projected as the No. 2 team in the conference, with the Villanova Wildcats leading the charge. With Joshua Smith losing some weight over the summer and getting back in shape, he should prove to be a huge piece to the puzzle if they want to go far. Smith has been able to run the floor better and can stay on the floor for a long time, which was a problem for him, one that he referenced at Georgetown's media day, when he said he felt burnt out after the game against Oregon.

Smith-Rivera is looking to be one of the leaders on this team and he will be. He has take a leadership role because of all the freshman, especially Campbell, who will likely be the point guard of the future for this tema. One of the things that he will need to do is score and also play a balanced game by passing and scoring when he needs to. Isaac Copeland and Paul White will be big additions as well, because they both can shoot the ball around the mid-range area and are both really aggressive when they attack the basket.

Projections

With all of the talent that this team has this season, Georgetown will be one of the best team in the conference and is an underdog nationally. Mostly all of the freshman that are on the team will play at some point during the season, if not at the beginning. I believe that Georgetown will not have a lot of injury issues, and their defense will return to be one of the best in the conference. With the amount of shooters they have, this team should be much better around the perimeter this coming season. Expect the Hoyas to be it in to the end with Villanova, and should likely make it to the NCAA Tournament to make up of how sour their season was a year ago.