FILE PHOTO: MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA The Hoyas will look to senior center Joshua Smith to lead the Hoyas against Kansas.
The Hoyas will look to senior center Joshua Smith to lead them against No. 10 Kansas.

Thus far into its season, the Georgetown men’s basketball team has handled its nonconference assignments and survived its toughest tests with encouraging, but not ideal results. Wednesday’s opponent, No. 10 Kansas (6-1), presents Georgetown’s (5-2) most important on-court test ahead of Big East play. Playing Kansas, the team’s second top-10 opponent this season, is this group’s first chance to prove itself at its home court while playing in front of a nationally televised audience against a traditional power.

The unranked Hoyas will hope for a reversal of fortune from last year’s 88-64 loss to the Jayhawks in the Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan., in which senior center Joshua Smith had five fouls and only five points in 19 minutes of playing time.

“Last year is last year — they have a new group, we have a new group,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “Last year was one of the few games that we were never in it [and] they took us apart at both ends of the court.”

With more time on the court and more production on the offense, the slimmed-downed Smith is poised to make an impact against a Kansas team that does not have a player taller than six feet eight inches in its top-eight rotation.

“We can’t simulate his size, there is no question,” Kansas Head Coach Bill Self said. “At least [our players] who were here last year played against Josh. We know how big he is and he seems to be in really good shape and moving very well. The staff has obviously done a great job with him. Georgetown is a very good team — of course Josh is a big reason why.”

In addition to Smith’s contributions to the team, Georgetown will look to its promising freshman quartet of Tre Campbell, Isaac Copeland, L.J. Peak and Paul White to lead the team against Kansas. Campbell, Copeland, Peak and White have contributed 32.7 percent of Georgetown’s scoring so far this season. The freshmen will look to continue their steady offensive production in their first high-profile home game.

“I think [the freshmen’s] teammates are taking care of telling them [that the Jayhawks are] a very good team,” Thompson said of the freshmen’s preparation for the upcoming game. “They’re one of the better teams in the country [so] we’re going to have to play at a high level at both ends of the court in all aspects to win.”

The Hoyas will look to beat a successful team that has only lost nine times on the road under Self, who is in his 12th year at the helm of the Kansas squad.

Despite the tough competition that the Hoyas are sure to face, the Jayhawks are not as deep as they have been in years past. Kansas will be missing one of its key players as sixth-man and redshirt junior forward Jamari Traylor is suspended from playing Wednesday night’s game following his arrest outside a nightclub earlier this week.

Beyond concerns of the toughness of their opponent, the game comes in the midst of finals for the Hoyas, or at a time when their minds may be focused elsewhere.

Nonetheless, Georgetown welcomes the opportunity to play one of the best teams in the country as it closes out the calendar year.

“So much of the lessons learned in that gym, in this sport, in any sport, carry over throughout life, and life isn’t always convenient,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “You can’t always schedule things when you want them, so just the understanding that’s life— life comes at you that way, and you have to be prepared and you still have to perform in all areas.”

The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. at Verizon Center. The highly anticipated matchup will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

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