Connecticut-Georgetown: Really, Really Big Monday Opens Big East Season

Tony BishopCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2008

Tonight, Connecticut and Georgetown open up Big East conference play with a prime-time showdown on ESPN2 in Hartford.

UConn (11-0) is almost as unanimous at number two as North Carolina is unanimous at the top. 

Center Hasheem Thabeet is starting to polish his skills as a player instead of being just a big body in the middle. It was obvious last year that his abilities were still raw, but the questions about his development have been answered positively for Huskie fans.

Guards Jerome Dyson and AJ Price are arguably the best back court in America, let alone the conference. Neither wows you with their ability to score but they are very disciplined as both average over 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratios.

Number eight Georgetown (9-1) has only one blemish, a bad loss to an average Tennessee team in a Big East/SEC showdown late November. As they say, though, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

In fact, other than a 79-70 overtime defeat of then #15 Memphis, the Hoyas averaged more than a 32-point margin of victory in their next five wins.

Forward DeJuan Summers joined Thabeet and Price on the preseason All-Big East team and he hasn't disappointed thus far. His match up against Jeff Adrien (All-Big East honorable mention) is the best one on the floor in my opinion, but the announcers will probably focus on this next player more.

Conference preseason co-Rookie of the Year Greg Monroe will be pitted against Thabeet. And I'm sure will draw the most television focus. Monroe takes the place of Roy Hibbert (pictured against Thabeet), another in the long line of fantastic Georgetown centers.

This game begins an insanely difficult start to the conference season for Georgetown.

They play at home against Pittsburgh on Saturday and then out to South Bend for another Monday night showdown against Notre Dame. Three top ten games in seven days. Wow.

Although because of college football's bowl season, this match up isn't technically a Big Monday telecast, but it sure does look like it.

With Gonzaga's string of losses and Notre Dame taking their place in the top ten of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, there are now four—count 'em four—Big East teams represented.

The Georgetown-Notre Dame game technically kicks off ESPN's Big Monday schedule, followed by the Irish heading to Louisville for another top 20 match up.