The Matchups: Xavier vs Georgetown

Before every game, MusketeerReport breaks down the position-by-position matchups for X's opponent. This edition focuses on the Musketeers’ Tuesday night Big East tilt against Georgetown.

Remy Abell JR (6-4, 194) vs D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera JR (6-3, 227)

Smith-Rivera is still in the mix for conference player of the year as he's been one of the most consistent scorers in the Big East. Over the last four games he's averaged 17.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists while shooting 45.5% from 3-point range. He's coming off a 19-point performance with five assists in 43 minutes in an overtime win against Marquette Saturday. With it being a short turnaround, the Musketeers may get a little benefit from Smith-Rivera having to play nearly every minute of that game for the Hoyas. He scored 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting with three rebounds, no assists and four turnovers last time against Xavier. He hit some tough shots, but he had to work for them and was never able to take over the game on the offensive end. Abell did a great job of not allowing him to reject ball-screens when Xavier was in a man-to-man defense in that game. Abell scored just six points (2-6 FG, 1-4 3PT) and had three rebounds in Saturday's win, but he did a great job defensively against Billy Garrett Jr. His defense on DSR will be a big factor in this matchup.

Moderate Edge Georgetown

Dee Davis SR (6-0, 170) vs Jabril Trawick SR (6-5, 208)

Trawick collided with L.J. Peak early in Saturday's game and limped off the court with a sore knee. He went on to play 10 minutes, including one single minute in the second half, but never returned after that and finished with no points, no rebounds and two assists. Georgetown coach John Thompson left his status for this game up in the air during Monday's press conference with the media. Trawick is a tough and experienced player that brings a lot at both ends of the court. He had six points and five rebounds at Xavier, but battled foul trouble throughout that game. Davis played solid in the first matchup against the Hoyas, finishing with 12 points (3-6 FG, 1-1 3PT) and five assists. He's coming off a strong performance against DePaul in which he scored eight points, dished out eight assists and had four steals with no turnovers. Regardless of how he's shooting the ball from the outside, he has to continue to be the type of player he was in Saturday's win and try to run the offense as efficiently as he was able to in the second half.

Even

Myles Davis SO (6-2, 195) vs L.J. Peak FR (6-5, 215)

Peak injured his ankle in the first few minutes of the Marquette game after colliding with Trawick. He tried to return but was quickly removed again and sat out the rest of the game after only playing five minutes. Thompson also left his status for this game up in the air during Monday's presser, stating that neither player would practice leading up to the game. Peak is a talented slasher that started off the year as a major offensive contributor for the Hoyas but has slowed down in Big East play, averaging just 5.6 points over the last five games. He had six points (2-5 FG, 0-1 3PT) and three rebounds in 31 minutes in the game at Xavier. Davis is coming off a career-high 25-point performance in the Musketeers win over DePaul on Saturday. What made it even more impressive was the fact that he scored all those points while only making one 3-pointer. XU will need Davis to bring the same effort on the the glass that he brought on Saturday when he hauled in eight rebounds against this much bigger Georgetown backcourt. Keeping the Hoyas off the offensive glass when the Musketeers are playing a smaller lineup will be a big key to the game.

Slight Edge Xavier

James Farr JR (6-10, 244) vs Mikael Hopkins SR (6-9, 223)

Hopkins is a long and athletic role player that defends and rebounds for the Hoyas. He's coming off his best performance of the year, a 13-point, five-rebound effort at Marquette on Saturday. He had three putbacks on four offensive rebounds in that game. The first time around against Xavier he had no points (0-3 FG) and five rebounds. The Musketeers did a good job of eliminating him from the game by not allowing him to get going with hustle plays and second chance points. They'll have to do the same thing this time around. Farr played one of his better games earlier in the year against Georgetown. He had nine points (3-3 FG, 1-1 3PT), 10 rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes of action. He's coming off a game where he saw his minutes get cut to just 10 as the Musketeers went with a smaller lineup most of the game against DePaul and he finished with no points and just one rebound. At the least, the Musketeers should get a hungry James Farr that needs to make a statement with his play to keep some of his minutes with the staff looking like its shifting to playing a smaller lineup more often.

Even

Matt Stainbrook SR (6-10, 270) vs Josh Smith SR (6-10, 350)

Smith, the Hoyas' massive center, is coming off a 18-point, 15-rebound effort in 31 minutes in Saturday's overtime win over Marquette. He had 10 points (3-7 FG), four rebounds and one assist with four turnovers in the first game against Xavier. The Musketeers crowded Smith with the closest help defender like they always do in the pack line defense, but for the most part Stainbrook and others were able to hold their own while battling Smith one-on-one. It's important that Xavier stays out of a foul trouble situation that would put them at a big disadvantage against the Hoyas' center. Stainbrook didn't have his most dominant effort in the first game against Georgetown, finishing with eight points (2-4 FG) and seven rebounds in 28 minutes. However, his physicality and ability to neutralize Smith helped Farr and Reynolds control the paint against their more favorable matchups. With Stainbrook rediscovering his scoring mindset on the offensive end by sealing deeper on the block, it will be interesting to see if he's more aggressive this time around against Smith. Since that three game stretch against Georgetown, DePaul and Seton Hall where he attempted four or less shots in each game; the Musketeers big man has averaged 10.4 shots per game against his last five Big East opponents and is averaging 16 points and 6.2 rebounds over that stretch.

Even

Xavier Bench vs Georgetown Bench

A lot of this game may depend on Georgetown freshmen Isaac Copeland (6-9,220) and Tre Campbell (6-2, 170) if Peak or Trawick can't play. Those two guys have stepped up and played well recently for the Hoyas, particularly Copeland who has averaged 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 68.8% from the field over the last three games. He scored a career-high 17 points in 39 minutes Saturday against Marquette after Trawick and Peak left the game injured. Campbell also pitched in with 14 points including a key triple and several big free-throws down the stretch and into overtime. Freshman forward Paul White (6-8, 228) has stepped up as Big East play has gone on as well, averaging 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game during conference play. Senior forward Aaron Bowen is also a solid vet that brings 6.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in 16.6 minutes off the bench. He scored 11 points in the win over Marquette. Xavier not starting Trevon Bluiett adds some serious offensive spark off its bench, especially when he scores 21 like he did on Saturday. X's standout freshman has slumped for most of Big East play, but he looked like he had his confidence back in the win over DePaul. The Musketeers need him to keep that momentum rolling to pull off this road win. Also, keep an eye on Jalen Reynolds. He was dominant against the Hoyas in the first game, scoring 17 points (6-10 FG) in 24 minutes.

Slight Edge Xavier

Overall

Xavier knocked Georgetown out of the polls last time these two teams met up, and they'll get the opportunity to do the same thing this time around as the Hoyas reappeared this week in the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 21 and 22 respectively. The Musketeers won't be able to rely on another poor shooting effort as bad as the one Georgetown had at the Cintas Center, though. That 2-for-13 mark is Hoyas' worst shooting performance so far this season, and over the last two games they've hit 15-of-33 (45.5%) from deep. The Hoyas would be a different team if Peak and Trawick weren't able to go for this game, but it wouldn't make the game a gimme for Xavier, especially on the road. The Hoyas won at Marquette without those two playing nearly the entire game on Saturday. Both teams mixed up their defenses and showed some zone in the first meeting, so it will be interesting to see how much of that we see this time. Also, the Musketeers lineup rotations will be interesting in this game since they held an advantage inside last time against Georgetown but they've played better with a smaller lineup on the court more recently. Georgetown is in the midst of a four-game win streak, including wins on the road at DePaul and Marquette. They also hammered Villanova by 20 at home during that stretch. This would certainly be a statement road win for the Musketeers.

Score Prediction: Georgetown 78 Xavier 72


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