No Family Affair

Georgetown's visit to Ball State was supposed to be a pre-Thanksgiving celebration for Hoyas coach John Thompson III and brother Ronny. It's turned into anything but.

John Thompson III brings his fifth-ranked Hoyas to Ball State on Wednesday in an intriguing matchup that has gotten its share of attention since Ronny Thompson resigned as coach of the Cardinals.

"It's a game. It's the next game on our schedule. It's our first away game, so we're interested to see how our kids respond, this year's group going on the road," said John Thompson III, the son of the former Georgetown coach who is in the Hall of Fame. "Much like any other game on our schedule in the preseason, hopefully it'll prepare us for league play."

It won't be like any other game because of Ronny Thompson's messy departure from Ball State. Hired before last season and considered a rising coach with the Thompson pedigree, Ball State went 9-22 in his first season.

Ronny Thompson's problems didn't end there, however. Rumors persisted that he committed NCAA violations with the Cardinals and the coach resigned July 12, weeks after school officials said notes slipped under basketball office doors included racial slurs along with references to "cheaters" and "liars." Included in his resignation note was a reference to a "racially hostile working environment."

Ball State eventually hired Billy Taylor to replace Thompson and awaits a decision from the NCAA regarding punishment for the violations. There is concern about the reception that the Hoyas will get Wednesday.

"I honestly don't worry about it," Taylor said. "I think people here will be respectful of JT III and his program."

Georgetown won 69-54 in last season's meeting in Washington, but John Thompson III believes not facing his brother will actually be easier, despite the circumstances surrounding his departure.

"I didn't like the whole process of working against, playing against, coaching against, family members," he said.

On the court, the Hoyas have a clear size advantage. Preseason All-American Roy Hibbert, a 7-foot-2 center, is nine inches taller than anyone on the Cardinals (0-2).

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Georgetown -20 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 69% of bets for this game have been placed on Georgetown –20 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

"With his size and his talent to score around the basket with either hand, he is a matchup nightmare for guys 7-feet tall, let alone 6-foot-5 guys," Taylor said. "We have our hands full."

Georgetown is going on the road for the first time after two double-digit wins at home, including a 74-52 victory over Michigan last Thursday. Hibbert and Jessie Sapp each had 12 points.

Ball State (0-2) is still searching for its first win. The Cardinals never seriously challenged in a 61-45 season-opening loss to Butler on Nov. 9, and blew a 17-point second-half lead last Wednesday before losing 81-74 in overtime to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

In the wake of the turbulent offseason Ball State has only nine players, with Taylor dismissing four others. Anthony Newell is the best of them, averaging 22.5 points after scoring 29 in the loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Senior guard Peyton Stovall needs five points to reach 1,000 for his career. Stovall is off to a slow start, shooting 30.0 percent so far.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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