Feeling the recent effects of rescheduling due to COVID-19 are Big East foes Georgetown and No. 20 UConn, who meet on Tuesday night in Storrs, Conn.
For the last-place Hoyas (6-10, 0-5), Tuesday's contest will be their third against a ranked team in a span of six days. Meanwhile, the Huskies (13-4, 4-2) are coming off an unusual NBA-style home-and-home series with Butler.
In a season in which COVID infections have sidelined some teams for weeks and forced nearly all to perform scheduling gymnastics, the premium has been on resilience, experience and depth.
With those qualities in short supply for Georgetown, battling through another COVID-altered season has made its mission that much tougher.
The Hoyas put forth a strong effort against Villanova on Saturday. They led by eight points early in the second half before dropping an 85-74 decision.
It was the sixth straight defeat for Georgetown and the first time since the Big East was established in 1979 that the Hoyas opened 0-5 in league play.
"I believe this was a game we had opportunities to win," Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. "We just did not play smart enough down the stretch."
The fall of the Hoyas has been precipitous after recording four wins last March in the Big East tournament. They welcomed a strong recruiting class led by Aminu Mohammed, who boasts team-leading totals in scoring (13.6) and rebounding (8.2).
UConn arrives Tuesday night on a three-game winning streak, with the last two coming over Butler. The final scores of the wins over the Bulldogs were similar, but Tuesday's 76-59 victory at home came much easier than Thursday's 75-56 triumph in Indianapolis.
In the first game, the Huskies led by 17 in the first half and cruised to victory behind Adama Sanogo (13 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks) and Andre Jackson (12 points, 10 rebounds). The duo had much to do with UConn holding a 49-39 edge in rebounds and outscoring the Bulldogs in the paint by a 40-22 margin.
In the rematch, the Huskies needed to rally from a six-point deficit in the second half. Tyrese Martin emerged from a slump to hit four 3-pointers, scoring 25 of his 27 points after the break.
Martin was coming off a 1 for 7 shooting performance two nights earlier.
"We've been waiting for him to break out," UConn coach Dan Hurley said. "He wanted the ball and was very demanding."
UConn still had the best of it on the inside as the 6-9 Sanogo (15 points, nine rebounds) and 6-9 Isaiah Whaley (11 points, 10 rebounds) led the Huskies to a 39-25 edge on the boards.
Martin supplied the missing ingredient on the perimeter.
"If you aspire to compete in this conference, you can't show up and play a half like that," Hurley said. "I think our depth and maturity as a team wore them down a little bit."
The Huskies handed the Hoyas a pair of double-digit defeats last year.
--Field Level Media