Georgetown, Bayi play nice, but Sunday’s game is off

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Georgetown and the Bayi Rockets (finally) played nice Friday.

Georgetown coach John Thompson III issued a statement saying two of his Hoyas met with representatives of the Bayi Rockets and tried to reconcile. They met at the Beijing airport, exchanged souvenirs and pleasantries.

Makes sense. The two teams are were supposed to have another exhibition game on Sunday in Shanghai. And no one – not the school, the pros or China – wants another melee. But they shouldn’t worry. That’s game’s off. From the AP:

The two teams had been scheduled to play each other again Sunday in Shanghai, according to Georgetown’s original itinerary for the trip, but the school will be playing the Liaoning Dinosaurs instead. Georgetown said Friday that the schedule change was made before Thursday’s game and was unrelated to the brawl.

So they talked, shook hands and called it a day. Makes sense. Why take the chance for another mess? “My understanding is that it’s all cleared up,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minsiter Cui Tiankai told reporters. “We’re pleased about this outcome.”

Less pleased? Fans.

This story details how the Bayi team irritated fans with their behavior, which has been an issue with some Chinese teams for some time. According to the AP, China’s national coach, a manager and three players were suspended for a fight with the Brazil team in October.

The problem, writes Ed Flanagan of NBC News, is the Bayi team’s military background.

Bayi’s military background – the team was founded by members of the PLA – has deeply influenced their style of play, translating into an aggressive, attacking defensive game that often overpowers opponents. The results of such a style speak for themselves: 34 national titles and a Yankees-esque eight wins in 16 CBA championships.

“It’s a big honor to play for Bayi, that and the national team,” said Rauch. “It’s not as big of a deal now since they aren’t winning as much, but it’s still a big deal to be selected to play for them.”

And what’s all this mean for Georgetown? Anyone who watched early video from yesterday’s brawl probably thought the Hoyas weren’t too tough. (I figured they simply weren’t ready to start throwing down. I mean, they’re on a foreign tour. Time to relax, see the sights and try new food!)

But the video at the bottom of this SportsGrid post saves their rep a little bit. After all, the last thing Georgetown needs is for the rest of the Big East to think they’re soft.

BONUS UPDATE! Thanks to a tip from Matt Norlander, there’s a hilarious animated “news” video of the event, complete with a Panda bear, a ridiculous ref and a Bayi player breathing fire. Yes, it almost sounds too good to be true. Thankfully, there’s video below to prove it.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.