Edmond Sumner FR (6-6, 183) vs D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera SR (6-3, 215)
Sumner struggled to finish shots in the loss to Georgetown earlier in the season, finishing 2-of-12 from the field, including 0-for-5 from inside the arc. He finished with 10 points, four assists, three steals and two rebounds in 33 minutes. For the season, he's averaging 10.9 points, 3.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in 25 minutes per game, while shooting 42 percent from the field, including 34.5 percent on 58 attempts from 3-point range. Defensively, he had some issues with the backdoor cuts in Georgetown's modified "Princeton" offense in that first game too. Smith-Rivera is averaging 16.2 points, 4.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 35.3 minutes per game, while shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from 3-point range on 181 attempts. Last time against X, he was 6-of-12 from the field (4-9 3PT) with 20 points and seven assists. He was 6-of-19 from the field, including 2-of-10 from 3-point range, with 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the Hoyas' loss to Seton Hall Wednesday night. Xavier rotated pretty much all of its guards onto DSR defensively last time around, but Abell spent the most time on him.
Moderate Edge Georgetown
Myles Davis JR (6-2, 188) vs Tre Campbell SO (6-2, 170)
Davis hit 3-of-5 from deep last game against Georgetown and finished with 15 points, three rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes. He's coming off a triple-double in Wednesday's win over Providence in which he scored 11 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 12 assists. For the season, he's averaging 10.7 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.6 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game, while shooting 39.8 percent from the field, including 37.6 percent on 125 attempts from beyond the arc. Campbell torched Xavier for 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting (5-7 3PT) in the first meeting between the two teams. The Musketeers' game-plan was to make Campbell beat them, and he did exactly that. For the season, he's averaging 3.6 points, 1.6 assists, and 1.5 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game, while shooting 29.5 percent from the field, including 27 percent on 51 attempts from 3-point range. He was 0-for-4 from the field with zero points and five assists in 23 minutes Wednesday night against Seton Hall.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Remy Abell SR (6-4, 197) vs Marcus Derrickson FR (6-7, 250)
Abell has been playing with more confidence over the last two games. He had 12 points against Butler and seven against Providence, finishing 7-for-10 from the field in those two games, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. For the season, he's averaging 6.1 points, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 rebounds in 23.9 minutes per game, while shooting 40.3 percent from the field, including 35.8 percent on 53 attempts from 3-point range. Last time against Georgetown, he was just 1-of-6 from the field with three points, three rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 23 minutes of action. Derrickson is averaging 6.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.7 minutes per game, while shooting 38.3 percent from the field, including 37.5 percent on 80 attempts from 3-point range. Last game against Xavier, he was mostly a non-factor with no points (0-1 FG) and three rebounds in just 13 minutes of action off the bench.
Slight Edge Georgetown
Trevon Bluiett SO (6-6, 207) vs Isaac Copeland SO (6-9, 220)
Bluiett is averaging 15.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and a steal in 30.7 minutes per game, while shooting 41.5 percent from the field, including 38.3 percent on 154 attempts from three. In the first game against Georgetown, he had a double-double with a team-high 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting, including 3-of-8 from beyond the arc, to go with 10 rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes. Copeland is averaging 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 31.2 minutes per game, while shooting 41.4 percent from the field, including hitting 29-of-100 attempts from 3-point range. He failed to score and only had two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 24 minutes at Xavier back on January 19. He was selected to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll on Monday after averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in two games last week. He tied his career-high of 23 points with eight rebounds and three assists against St. John's last Monday.
Slight Edge Xavier
Jalen Reynolds JR (6-10, 238) vs Jessie Govan FR (6-10, 270)
Reynolds had nine points (4-6 FG) and four boards in 21 minutes in the first game against Georgetown. He's averaging 9.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. He's unquestionably turned his motor up a notch or two over the last few games. If he keeps that up, he should be a problem on the glass for the Hoyas, especially with Hayes out of the lineup. Govan made his first career start at Providence last Saturday in place of injured senior center Bradley Hayes, who is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on a broken left hand. Govan is averaging 20.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in two games as a starter. He was 10-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three, with a career-high 27 points, seven boards, two blocks and two steals in 37 minutes in Wednesday night's loss to Seton Hall. For the season, he's averaging 7.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 16.8 minutes per game, while shooting 49.6 percent from the field, including 13-of-25 (52%) from 3-point range. Govan has already blocked three more shots than Hayes in nearly 100 less minutes on the court. Last time against Xavier, he finished with 13 points (4-6 FG, 0-1 3PT), six rebounds, two blocks and an assist in 17 minutes off the bench.
Xavier Bench vs Georgetown Bench
Senior big man James Farr (6-10, 247) is averaging 9.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in 21.0 minutes per game. He had six points (2-6 FG) and six rebounds in 19 minutes last time against Georgetown. Sophomore wing JP Macura (6-5, 203) is averaging 9.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 22.5 minutes per game, while shooting 47.3 percent from the field, including 33.8 percent on 80 attempts from 3-point range. He finished with three points (1-4 FG, 1-2 3PT), two rebounds, and two assists in 18 minutes in the first game against Georgetown. Freshman forward Kaiser Gates (6-7, ) played 13 minutes in the first game against Georgetown, finishing 0-for-3 from the field with one assist. Sophomore big man Sean O'Mara (6-10, 247) was somewhat effective (3-6 FG, 6 pts) in the post last time against the Hoyas, but he became a little over-aggressive against their tightly packed in defense. He needs to be looking for kick-out options this time around when they collapse on him. For Georgetown, Sophomore wing LJ Peak (6-5, 215) came off the bench to score 10 points (4-12 FG, 0-3 3PT) and block three shots in 26 minutes of action against Seton Hall on Wednesday night. He's averaging 11.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 24.6 minutes per game, while shooting 47.4 percent from the field, including 38.6 percent from distance on 70 attempts. He had a double-double with 13 points (4-6 FG, 1-1 3PT) and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench last time around against Xavier. He's scored in double figures in each of the last nine games, averaging 15.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in that span while shooting 51.5 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from 3-point range (14-of-32). Freshman forward Kaleb Johnson (6-6, 205) saw 14 minutes off the bench against Seton Hall on Wednesday and finished with one point and four rebounds. He's averaging 2.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game for the season, with his role varying based on matchups. He didn't play at all in the first game against Xavier. Junior forward Reggie Cameron (6-7, 223) started and played a lot in the first game at Xavier, finishing with four points (1-6 FG, 0-4 3PT), five rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes. For the season, he's averaging 6.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 19 minutes per game, while shooting 41.4 percent from the field, including 36.7 percent from 3-point range on 90 attempts. He's only attempted 128 shots total. Sophomore forward Trey Mourning (6-9, 217) made a free throw, grabbed a pair of rebounds, dished out an assist and blocked a shot in two minutes of action at the Cintas Center. Since the injury to Hayes, he played 19 minutes against Providence - and performed well with 10 points and five boards - and three minutes against Seton Hall. He's a face-up guy that will shoot it out to the perimeter. Georgetown typically has a pretty strong bench, but moving Govan into the starting lineup gives X an even bigger advantage in the depth department.
Moderate Edge Xavier
This should be an interesting Big East battle. Georgetown has lost five of its last six games, with the only win coming at home over St. John's. When comparing the two teams separately, it would seem that Xavier is the much better squad. However, in the first game between these teams when Georgetown won 81-72 at the Cintas Center, the Hoyas' overall length gave XU trouble at both ends of the court. The Musketeers weren't able to bully Georgetown on the glass, and they missed a lot of shots around the rim. Hayes being out certainly hurts Georgetown, but Govan is still a big body with a lot of talent roaming the middle. Plus, it seemed to be the Hoyas' all-around team size across the board that bothered X, rather than just one big body. Of course, the biggest reason Georgetown won that game was the absurd 7-for-11 (5-of-7 3PT) shooting performance by Tre Campbell, a player the Musketeers were intentionally helping off of. Today we'll get to see how much of all that was a fluke, and how much are legit matchup issues for XU. Georgetown's defense is holding opponents to 42.1 percent shooting from inside the 3-point arc, which ranks 14th in the country. The Hoyas only mixed in eight possessions of their active 2-3 zone last time against X, but it was reasonably effective. The Musketeers have to move the ball and look for cutters instead of settling for jumpers whenever the Hoyas go to the over-extended zone. Against the man-to-man, Georgetown's length and packed in style made it hard for X to penetrate last time. It'd be a big boost if the frontcourt could give the offense some production in this one, otherwise X may be even more reliant on ball-movement and jump-shots than usual. On the other end of the court, Xavier was only able to play 12 possessions of its 1-3-1 zone last time around against the Hoyas because Campbell and Smith-Rivera nailed a three seemingly every time the Musketeers settled into it. And on the occasions that they didn't, then X gave up an offensive rebound and stick-back. If Georgetown isn't shooting the ball quite as well this time around, X may stick with the zone a little bit longer. When playing man-to-man, the Musketeers have to do a better job of handling the principles of the "Princeton" offense (mainly backdoor cuts when guys look like they're coming for dribble hand-offs) and ball-screen situations involving DSR this time around. This is the first of three "revenge" games coming up in this final regular season stretch for the Musketeers, plus they're fighting to solidify their two seed with an outside chance to sneak back into a one seed line.
Predicted score: Xavier 77 Georgetown 71