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UConn men’s basketball 2022-23 opponent preview: Georgetown

Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas have reloaded with some familiar faces.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Fast Facts

Head Coach: Patrick Ewing (Sixth season)

2021-22 Record: 6-25 (0-19 Big East)

2021-22 Conference finish: 11th (last place)

Final 2021-22 Ranking: No. 175

2022-23 Conference Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 10

2022-23 KenPom Rating: No. 102

2021-22 in review

After a miraculous Big East tournament win and NCAA appearance in 2021, things looked good for Patrick Ewing, who seemingly had cemented himself as the Hoyas’ head coach for at least a little while longer after four years of what can only be described as mediocrity (62-59 through four seasons). But after losing much of their core to graduation and big man Qudus Wahab to the transfer portal, Ewing was back on the hot seat after leading Hoyas to their most embarrassing season in program history.

Georgetown went 6-25 and an abysmal 0-19 in Big East play, defeating just two teams (Syracuse and Longwood) in the top 150 in KenPom. The Hoyas struggled to make shots, ranking 349th out of 356 schools in 2-point percentage last season, and were nearly as bad at defending the three, letting opponents shoot nearly 37 percent from deep. To make matters worse, star freshman Amina Mohammed, the Big East Freshman of the Year last season and arguably the best foundational piece on the roster, chose to turn pro and signed with the 76ers as an undrafted free agent.

With nowhere to go but up, Georgetown decided to retain Ewing for at least one more go around — such is the leash when you are the greatest player in program history — but with new assistants. Former LSU recruiting director Kevin Nickelberry has joined the staff as associate head coach, with former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee head coach Pat Baldwin and Clinton Crouch, previously GU’s special assistant to the head coach, rounding out the staff.

2022-23 preview

Ewing and Nickelberry knew the Hoyas needed to reload and did just that with transfer class that ranked No. 4 in the country per 247. With seven new transfers in the fold, Ewing and the Hoyas have bolstered their roster with talent and experience. Akok Akok, the former UConn product with impressive shot blocking and shooting abilities, joins Wahab, who is back after a stint at Maryland, in the starting front court to form arguably the top defensive unit in the conference. Primo Spears, who lead Duquesne in scoring as a true freshman last season, enters the fold and is competing with returning point guard Dante Harris for a starting spot. Throw in Brandon Murray, a a 6-foot-5 guard from LSU who averaged double figures as a freshman and the Hoyas have a young and intriguing backcourt.

Jay Heath, an Arizona State transfer who spent two years at Boston College, is pending a waiver to play this season. If he receives one, he should slot right into the starting five at the shooting guard position after averaging 10.6 points per game for the Sun Devils last year and leading the Golden Eagles in scoring two years prior with 14.5 points per game. Ryan Mutumbo, the son of Georgetown legend and Hall of Fame Dikembe, is a raw but talented 7-foot-2 big man that will at minimum provide quality defense to spell Wahab.

Bottom line

Georgetown is picked second to last in the Big East preseason coaches poll this season, edging out lowly DePaul for the 10th spot. But unlike last year, this year’s Hoyas’ squad has high-level experience from the likes of transfers Spears, Murray, Akok and Wahab. Akok and Wahab should form an impressive defensive unit in the front court, and Murray, Spears and Harris (8 points per game last season) should help as well. If Heath is eligible to play immediately, the Hoyas could be a tough draw for a top Big East team in the Garden come March. But if not, Georgetown should be able to improve from last year’s miserable season and win at least a few conference games to keep Ewing off the hot seat.