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November 20, 2012
Indiana and Georgetown have met only twice previously, and not at all for nearly 33 years.
An upset is putting an end to that stretch.
The top-ranked Hoosiers look to avoid becoming the Hoyas' next victim when they meet in the championship game of the Progressive Legends Classic at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night.
Isiah Thomas was four games into his college career the last time these two teams met, a Hoosiers win in December 1979, but it was Georgetown's victory over a team with a highly hyped freshman that set up the first meeting since then.
The Hoyas (3-0) beat No. 11 UCLA 78-70 on Monday to spoil the college debut of Shabazz Muhammad, hours after the Hoosiers won the first semifinal 66-53 over Georgia.
Indiana (4-0) certainly won't be taking Georgetown lightly after struggling into the second half against the Bulldogs. The Hoosiers trailed at the half for the first time this season thanks to an 8-for-25 shooting performance and eight turnovers, but they rebounded by hitting 14 of 24 field goals in the final 20 minutes.
"We just missed some shots. The thing that hurt us more was the eight turnovers. We could never get the pace going the way we wanted and give Georgia credit for that," coach Tom Crean said. "There weren't many shots we'd take back, just a couple. It happens at home, on the road, here. It just happens."
Indiana, averaging 87.3 points, could use a better performance from Cody Zeller. The sophomore big man spent time on the bench in the first half due to foul trouble and finished with season lows of six points and four rebounds while committing four turnovers - one shy of his total over the previous three games.
"We have a pretty mature group and (Tuesday) I expect him to be Cody Zeller," Crean said of the preseason All-American, who leads the Hoosiers with 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Unlike Zeller, Victor Oladipo is looking for another strong shooting performance. The guard is known for his stingy defense, but he's connected on 11 of 15 field goals to total 29 points and 15 rebounds over the last two games.
"He's one of the best defenders around no question, but he doesn't get the credit for being a total basketball player," Crean said. "When he's flying up the court he makes us a lot better."
The same could be said for the Hoyas' Otto Porter, who returned from an injury against the Bruins to have 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and three steals. The sophomore forward sat out one game with a head injury after being limited to six minutes in a 61-55 season-opening win over Duquesne.
"Otto's first full game and look at the stat sheet. That was a full game," coach John Thompson III said. "Then there was a lot of other stuff he did that doesn't show up on this piece of paper. It was good to have him back out there."
Guard Markel Starks is looking to build on Monday's career-high 23 point performance after totaling 12 over the first two games of the season.
The Hoyas' most recent meeting with a top-ranked opponent was a loss to Ohio State in the 2007 Final Four.