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Still the Big East: Some Changes at Georgetown Have Familiar Look

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John Thompson III (credit: Jim McIssac Getty Images)

John Thompson III (credit: Jim McIssac Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — Georgetown will see its share of changes next season. A couple of important things will stay the same.

“The Earth will rise again,” former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. said. “We’re the Big East, still. And we also have Madison Square Garden. And we have some pretty … good teams.”

The top-seed Hoyas enter this week’s conference tournament assured they’ll be back at MSG next year and still playing in something called the Big East, the result of the agreement that breaks up the conference into basketball-centric and those that play big-time football. The cast of characters in 2014 will be different, obviously, in the new league with the old name.

“We established something in the northeast that we all could be proud of,” said Thompson, the Hall of Fame coach who led the Hoyas from 1972-99. “And then a bunch of knuckleheads sat at the table, didn’t know a (single) thing about basketball, and tore it apart.”

While Thompson was mostly looking back, his son was looking forward. Current Hoyas coach John Thompson III was leading Monday’s practice ahead of the No. 5 Hoyas’ quarterfinal match Thursday against either Providence or Cincinnati.

“We’re going to be back in New York next year playing in the Big East tournament, and I’m excited about that,” Thompson III said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Georgetown is the top seed for the sixth time in tournament history, usually a harbinger of success. The Hoyas are 14-1 with four titles when holding the top spot.

“I hope that we keep that trend going, but at the same time we recognize that this is still tough,” junior guard Markel Starks said. “It’s not guaranteed that we’ll be in the finals. Everybody’s gunning for that number one spot. Everybody’s looking to chop our heads off.”

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