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March 21, 2001|PAUL McLEOD

Getting to the Sweet 16 must seem easy compared to how Georgetown's trip to Orange County has gone so far. On Sunday the Hoyas flew from Boise, Ida., to Denver, where they couldn't find enough tickets on one airline, so they split into two groups and took separate flights to John Wayne Airport. There they discovered that no rental cars were available had that their hotel rooms near the Pond had been canceled because a big convention was in town.

They finally found a place to stay late Sunday in Irvine, but a day later they were told they would have to go somewhere else.


Georgetown's biggest concern since arriving Sunday night has been adjusting to the weather.

"In Boise it was cold, and here it is hot," said center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, a native of Cameroon. "We're not used to the hot weather, so it takes two or three times up and down the floor to get used to it."

It's hard to feel at home anyway in UC Irvine's steamy Crawford Hall, where the Hoyas have been practicing. The brick and plaster facility, where Irvine played its home games before the Bren Center opened in 1987, can feel like an oven even on a winter day.

"It's kind of small, but it's a nice place to practice," guard Nathaniel Burton said. "It's a little hot, but we can deal with the weather."

Explained freshman forward Mike Sweeney: "You can get a good sweat in here."

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