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Maryland vs. Georgetown preview: Terps, Hoyas reignite rivalry in Gavitt Tipoff Games

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Maryland plays host to an old nemesis on Tuesday night.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 3 Maryland men's basketball team hosts Georgetown at Xfinity Center on Tuesday night, rekindling a once-boiling series that stalled years ago. The Terrapins are 36-27 all-time against the Hoyas, but the teams haven't met since 2008 and haven't met in College Park since 1973. They'll tip at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

Georgetown was projected to be a top-40 team this year, but the Hoyas embarrassingly lost to Radford at home in double-overtime on Friday night. They might still round out into a quality team, but they apparently aren't there yet. The game shouldn't be hugely hard for Maryland to win, but college basketball is, as ever, ripe for the unpredictable.

The Terps-Hoyas meeting is part of ESPN's annual 24-hours-of-basketball-games extravaganza to get the season started, and it's also part of the new Gavitt Tipoff Games series between the Big Ten and Big East. It's probably the third-best matchup of the night behind Duke-Kentucky (ESPN, 7:30) and Kansas-Michigan State (ESPN, 10 p.m.).

Georgetown Hoyas (0-1)

The coach

John Thompson III. 317-158 overall, 249-116 at Georgetown. In his 12th season as Hoyas coach.

Players to know

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, senior, guard, 6'3. DSR is one of the best veteran guards in the country, checking in at No. 30 on SB Nation's preseason top-100 players list. He brings an effective inside-and-out mix, having shot 39 percent on threes last year and 45 percent on twos. He was the Hoyas' leading scorer (16.3 points per game) and assists guy (3.2), and he should still be their most efficient offensive player by a comfortable margin.

Bradley Hayes, senior, center, 7'0. Hayes will present an interesting matchup for Maryland bigs Diamond Stone, Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky. He's a no-frills 7-footer, and he went for 19 points and 10 boards across 35 minutes in Georgetown's opener. He's apparently in for a drastic change in roles this year, as Hayes made 7 shots from the field in 2014-15 and then matched that total on Friday night. He's an anchor.

Isaac Copeland, sophomore, forward, 6'9. At 6.8 points per game, Copeland had a role to play in the Hoyas' offense last season. But with forward Joshua Smith now gone, he's more important. He's a decent shot-blocker (0.6 per game last year) but not especially efficient on the other end. He'll play power forward and match up against Robert Carter.

L.J. Peak, sophomore, guard, 6'5. Peak hails from Gaffney, S.C., otherwise known as the hometown of fictitious U.S. president Frank Underwood in House of Cards. He made 32 starts as a rookie last year and averaged 8 points, fourth-most on the team, but was largely inefficient with a 95.3 offensive rating.

Jessie Govan, freshman, forward, 6'10. In his collegiate debut against Radford, Govan did a bunch of interesting things. He was 6 of 6 from the foul line and 1 of 1 from beyond the arc en route to 11 points in 15 minutes. He could give the Hoyas some helpful run.

Strengths

These are a bit hard to discern, because Georgetown just lost to Radford and it's a new year, but here's a stab at some:

Scoring inside. The Hoyas shot 50.5 percent inside the arc last season and 58 percent in their opener. Their post presence is driven by new blood, with Smith and Mikael Hopkins gone from last year's team, but there's enough interesting talent to suggest the Hoyas can be good around the hoop. That certainly extends to Smith-Rivera, who's a strong all-around guard who can make shots from anywhere.

Getting to the line. Last year, Georgetown was 30th in the country in free throws per field goal attempt. That was mostly Smith, but Smith-Rivera is good at it, too (4.7 fouls drawn per 40 minutes). The Hoyas took a significant 32 foul shots against Radford, and it seems likely that they'll be good at finding the stripe again this season.

Weaknesses

Fouling. There's a flip side to free throws, and Georgetown wasn't good last year at keeping opposing teams off the line. Georgetown opponents got 44 free throws for every 100 shots from the field last season, which was No. 305 in the country. Given Maryland's proclivity for drawing fouls, Melo Trimble and company could spend a lot of time at the line on Tuesday.

Perimeter defense. Opponents shot 36 percent on 3-pointers last season, and Radford shot 10 of 25 (40 percent) on Friday night. Jared Nickens and Jake Layman are probably going to get some looks here.

Predictions

KenPom's prediction: Maryland, 70-64. Terps have 75 percent chance to win.

Alex's prediction: Maryland, 75-56.