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The Matchups: Xavier vs Georgetown

Before every game, Rick provides a position-by-position preview of what to expect. This edition focuses on Tuesday night's Big East tilt against Georgetown at the Cintas Center.

Edmond Sumner FR (6-6, 183) vs Tre Campbell SO (6-2, 170)

Sumner looked great in his return against Marquette on Saturday, finishing with 15 points and five assists in 25 minutes. The impact of his ability to carve up defenses and get into the lane at will was evident in that game, plus he's showed a lot of confidence in his jump shot. Georgetown really doesn't have a good matchup for him. This one should go in Xavier's favor on both ends of the court. Campbell is Georgetown's only real point guard. He's started all six of the Hoyas' conference games, after coming off the bench for their non-conference slate. He had his first double-figure scoring game of the season last Wednesday against St. John's with 12 points (4-5 FG, 2-2 3PT) to go with two assists, two rebounds and two turnovers. He followed that up by getting shutout against Villanova. He's not very aggressive in looking for his own shot, but he mostly scores on spot-up jumpers when he does shoot. For the season, he's averaging 3.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 18.5 minutes per game. He's 9-for-27 from 3-point range, and he loves to space to the corners. He had a reputation for being a good defender coming into Georgetown, but he's really struggled this year. 

Moderate Edge Xavier

Remy Abell SR (6-4, 197) vs D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera SR (6-3, 215)

Abell hasn't scored in two games, and over the last three games since his 21-point outburst against Butler, he's averaging 2.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 2.0 turnovers in 24.3 minutes. On the season, he's averaging 6.9 points and 2.1 assists in 26.6 minutes per game. But, in this match-up, all that's going to matter is his defense. He locked up Smith-Rivera at the Cintas Center on New Year's Eve last year, but then allowed him to go for 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting at the Verizon Center. In the third meeting at Madison Square Garden, the combination of Abell and foul trouble shut Smith-Rivera down again, holding him to just five points. Smith-Rivera is a solidly built, crafty guard that flat-out gets buckets by using his high skill level and strength. He's averaging 16.2 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. He's shooting 34.7 percent from 3-point range right now, with a little more than half of his shot attempts coming from beyond the arc. He's been selected to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll for three straight weeks. His most recent selection came after he averaged 24.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals in a win over St. John's and a loss to Villanova. He finished with 15 points, three boards and three steals in Saturday's loss to Nova. He's really improved on the defensive end during his time at Georgetown. 

Moderate Edge Georgetown

Myles Davis JR (6-2, 188) vs Reggie Cameron JR (6-7, 225)

Myles Davis has been extremely clutch for his team lately. After shooting poorly all game against Marquette, he canned two big threes in the closing minutes to prevent the Golden Eagles from coming back. He's 10 for his last 23 from 3-point range over the last four games, and he's averaged 5.0 assists per game during that stretch. On the season, he's averaging 10.8 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game. He's shooting 39.2  percent (31-79) from 3-point range. The Hoyas don't defend the perimeter very well, so look for Davis to be aggressive in getting his shots up. Cameron has started each of the last two games, and he's responded by scoring in double figures in both of them, including a 10-point, four-rebound effort in 22 minutes against Villanova on Saturday. He's taken 65 of his 87 shot attempts from 3-point range where he's connecting at a 40 percent clip. On the year, he's averaging 7.1 points and 2.6 rebounds in 20.0 minutes per game. Defensively, he grades out a little bit better this year than last, but he's still very limited athletically. Look for Xavier to try and get him in some mismatches where they can attack him off the bounce with guys like Davis, Trevon Bluiett or JP Macura. 

Moderate Edge Xavier

Trevon Bluiett SO (6-6, 208) vs Isaac Copeland SO (6-9, 220)

Bluiett was named the Big East Player of the Week after scoring 24 and 18 points respectively in the Musketeers' wins over DePaul and Marquette. He's shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from 3-point range, while averaging 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Copeland is a face-up forward with decent athleticism and a great frame. He scores most of his points off of spot up jumpers or by slashing to the basket, and he's also a decent passer. He's coming off an 11-point performance against Villanova where he knocked down 2-of-4 from deep and grabbed six boards. For the season, he's averaging 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Defensively, he has great tools and brings versatility to the lineup, but he's definitely had some issues stopping penetration as well. Bluiett needs to be aggressive in attacking him. 

Moderate Edge Xavier

James Farr SR (6-10, 244) vs Bradley Hayes SR (7-0, 275)

Jalen Reynolds still started the last game, but Farr has taken over as the team's go-to center for the time being. He returned to his monster form that he's shown for most of the season, scoring 16 points and pulling down 19 boards in Saturday's win over Marquette. For the season, he's averaging 10.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 21 minutes per game. His presence will be a big key in this one, as the Musketeers have to keep Hayes off of the glass and keep him from scoring in the post. Hayes leads the Hoyas with three double-doubles on the year. He's averaging 8.5 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds while shooting 52.5 percent from the floor. He provides Georgetown with a massive body in the lane, and an individual that can create his own points when they throw him the ball. On the defensive end, he ranks sixth in the Big East with an average of 1.3 blocks per game. 

Slight Edge Xavier

Xavier Bench vs Georgetown Bench

Jalen Reynolds (6-10, 238) has played less than 20 minutes in each of the last two games, including 14 on Saturday against DePaul. He failed to score in double figures in both games. While he hasn't looked like himself at times on offense, he has at least continued to rebound at a steady rate. He's averaging 9.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game. JP Macura (6-5, 203) hasn't made many threes lately, but he has brought energy and done other things well. He had seven points and four assists against Marquette in 26 minutes. He's averaging 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 20.7 minutes per game. Freshman forward Kaiser Gates (6-8, 217) has really emerged as a legit contributor all of a sudden. He played a career-high 18 minutes and had five points (2-2 FG), six rebounds and an assist with no turnovers against Marquette. He's averaging 6.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 14.5 minutes of action over the last four games. He gives the Musketeers a good defensive matchup for the Hoyas' multiple face-up forwards in Cameron and Marcus Derrickson. For Georgetown, sophomore LJ Peak (6-5, 215) started all of the Hoyas' non-conference games, but then was moved to the bench once Big East play began. Even still, he's playing 23.7 minutes per game, and averaging 9.6 points and 2.7 boards. He's scored in double figures in five of the last eight games, and is shooting 34.2 percent (13-38) from 3-point range. He's a poor defender that fouls way too often, especially on jump shots. Look for the Musketeers to take advantage of that with whoever he's guarding. Freshman Marcus Derrickson (6-7, 250) is a big-bodied, face-up forward. He's averaging 7.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.5 minutes per game, and ranks second on the team with two double-doubles. On the defensive end, he's below average and slow footed. The Musketeers need to attack him when he's on the floor. Freshman center Jessie Govan (6-10, 270) is a very intriguing young player. He has great size, is a strong rebounder, blocks shots on defense, and he's skilled. He's a tremendous free throw shooter (89.1%) and will step out knock down a three if left open (8-15 3PT). He's averaging 7.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 16.9 minutes per game. Freshman wing Kaleb Johnson (6-6, 205) has good length, athleticism and a high hoops IQ. He's averaging 3.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game, while shooting 57.6 percent from the field, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range. 

Slight Edge Xavier

Overall

As you can see from the analysis above, I think this matchup sets up well for the Musketeers. On the defensive end, the key is slowing down Smith-Rivera and Hayes. Georgetown struggles to create good looks at times, and those are two guys that have proven capable of creating their own offense. Smith-Rivera, Cameron, Derrickson, and to a lesser extent Peak, are all legitimate 3-point threats. The Musketeers can't afford to give up the same type of looks on the perimeter that they gave to Marquette, so the 1-3-1 might not be as effective in this game. When in man-to-man, they'll have to say disciplined on the backdoor cuts and other repetitive actions of the "Princeton" offense. On the other end, the Hoyas play mostly man-to-man, but also mix in an active 2-3 zone about 21 percent of the time. They extend out pretty far and will try to get in passing lanes while playing it, which can cause them to get out of position at times. If they go zone against X, the Musketeers need to be ready to attack seams with penetration, and look to cut when Georgetown gets overextended. Villanova couldn't hit any outside shots on Saturday against the zone, and it turned the game into a rock fight played in the 50s. X can't allow the game to be played as a slow slugfest. They have to force the tempo, continuously attack, and draw fouls on the Hoyas. 

Predicted score: Xavier 82 Georgetown 66


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