The Big East Conference's preseason media poll had the Hoyas 10th among 16 teams. This week's USA TODAY/ESPN coaches' poll has them No. 11 in the nation going into Wednesday's game at No. 2 Syracuse (7 p.m., ESPN).
Henry Sims, a 6-10 senior, began this season as a role player who'd done little for three years. Now, he is one of the Big East's best big men.
And the fight in China, a public-relations nightmare for Georgetown in the summer, has become a piece of this team's foundation.
"What the incident with the Bayi Rockets quickly taught us is that for us to survive, for us to have success this year, we're going to have to be there for each other," Thompson says. "You're going to have to — hopefully, not literally but definitely figuratively — be ready to fight for each other.