Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchups: Xavier vs Georgetown

Before every game, Rick takes a position-by-position look at what to expect. This edition focuses on Saturday's New Year's Eve matinee matchup in the Nation's capital against Georgetown.

Edmond Sumner SO (6-6, 186) vs Jagan Mosley FR (6-3, 205)

Mosley is a big, athletic point guard. He's done a good job of making some plays for his teammates but, like with most young point guards, he's also forced it at times and turned the ball over too much. He's at his best when he's running in transition. He's averaging 4.2 points, 3.0 assists, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.6 turnovers in 20.5 minutes per game. He's not much of a shooter from the outside, having hit just 4-of-19 attempts (21.1%). For Sumner, this would seem like a fairly ideal matchup. Mosley is athletic but not as athletic as Sumner and also not a small, jet-quick waterbug point guard that will play underneath of him. He's also not effective at using ball screens. Mosley is actually fairly similar to the guy Sumner's been practicing against every day in Quentin Goodin. The Musketeers need him to gain a big advantage here, especially if the Hoyas are playing man-to-man on defense. He's averaging 14.3 points (49.2% FG, 28.6% 3PT), 4.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 3.0 turnovers in 33.5 minutes per game. 

Moderate Edge Xavier

JP Macura JR (6-5, 203) vs Rodney Pryor SR (6-5.205)

Pryor is a bucket-getting graduate transfer from Robert Morris. He's shooting the ball really well so far this season, having hit 41-of-81(50.6%) attempts from deep. He's an excellent spot-up shooter and he hits a lot of tough shots, however, he doesn't generate a lot of ball movement or create for his teammates. He's leading the Hoyas in scoring at 20.1 points per game to go with 5.1 rebounds in 32.2 minutes and is coming off a 23-point effort on 9-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-9 from three, in Wednesday night's loss to Marquette.  Macura played really well on Wednesday against Providence. He finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep, with five boards, three assists, and no turnovers. He was efficient, unselfish, and still his active self. That's the JP Macura the Musketeers need consistently. He's averaging 14.2 points (41.3% FG, 33.8% 3PT), 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 turnovers in 33.5 minutes per game. 

Slight Edge Georgetown

Malcolm Bernard SR (6-6, 202) vs LJ Peak JR (6-5, 215)

Peak is a big athletic guard that likes to play downhill. He does most of his damage coming off ball screens, running in transition, or spotting up as a shooter. He's averaging 15.9 points (47.7% FG, 39.5% 3PT), 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.7 turnovers in 32.5 minutes per game. He struggled against Marquette on Wednesday, going just 1-of-8 from the field (0-1 3PT) with four points and three boards in 22 minutes. He also has a tweaked groin and may be limited against X. With this being his first time facing Georgetown, Bernard will have to lock in and be ready for the actions of the Princeton offense, mainly the backdoor cuts when players look like they're coming for dribble hand-offs. It's one thing to hear about the actions and see them on film, but it's a lot more difficult to recognize them during live action the first time. He's had two of his best nights of the season in the last two wins against Eastern Washington and Providence. He's averaging 5.4 points (35.7% FG, 35.9% 3PT) and 4.4 rebounds in 28.4 minutes per game. 

Moderate Edge Georgetown

Trevon Bluiett JR (6-6, 198) vs Akoy Agau JR (6-8, 235)

Agau is a long forward that lacks coordination, skill, and toughness. The Hoyas seem to limit his touches on the offensive end as much as possible. His teammates visibly cringe at times when he starts handling the ball. He's averaging 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game. He hasn't played more than eight minutes in any of the last three games and he didn't score or even attempt a shot in the last two against UNC-Greensboro and Marquette. I'd expect the trend of him riding the bench to continue against the Musketeers. Bluiett continued his sensational junior season with one of his most complete outings Wednesday night against Providence. He had 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-8 from deep, to go with nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 31 minutes. The most encouraging takeaway from that game was the way he drove the ball and created plays for himself and his teammates. He's averaging 19.2 points (44.6% FG, 35.8% 3PT), 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 33.8 minutes per game. The Hoyas don't really have a good matchup for him. 

Significant Edge Xavier

RaShid Gaston SR (6-9, 239) vs Jessie Govan SO (6-10, 270)

Govan is a legit center with skill and agility. He scores well in the post even though he's had some trouble finishing lately, and he finds some garbage points off of putbacks and dump-offs. He's averaging 10.8 points (56.7% FG) and 5.6 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. He doesn't shoot many threes, but when he does he typically makes them - the big man is 6-for-8 from beyond the arc this year. He's scored in double figures in the last five games and had two double-doubles during that stretch with 12 points and 10 boards at Syracuse and 20 points and 10 boards against UNC-Greensboro. Defensively, he provides some shot blocking and rebounding. Gaston has been pretty solid over the last five games. He kept the momentum rolling on Wednesday with a 12-point performance on 6-of-6 shooting from the field. This will be a key matchup in the game. He's giving up some size, but he should be able to make up for that with his strength and physical style. His rebounding could be a big difference-maker against a Georgetown team that really struggles on the glass despite its size. He's averaging 7.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game. 

Even

Xavier Bench vs Georgetown Bench

Sophomore Marcus Derrickson (6-7, 250) is a physically imposing forward but he mostly wants to be a jump shooter. Over a third of his possessions are used on spot-up jumpers. When he works in the post, he can be an effective scorer, but typically he's not physical enough. He missed four games earlier in the year but has returned and looks to be back to full speed now. He scored a season-high 15 points in 25 minutes last Thursday against UNC-Greensboro and he had 11 points in 30 minutes on Wednesday against Marquette. He's averaging 6.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game. He's shooting 40 percent from 3-point range (10-25) and 92.3 percent from the free throw line, but only 37.7 percent from the field. He also very rarely gets to the free throw line. Junior Tre Campbell (6-2, 170) is a combo guard that will sometimes take over as the team's point guard. He's not as big or as athletic as Mosley, but he shoots better and is more aggressive in using ball-screens. He's averaging 4.5 points (38% FG, 39.3% 3PT), 1.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 18.2 minutes per game. He's 11-for-28 from deep so far this season. Xavier fans will remember him from last year's game in the Cintas Center when he hit 5-of-7 from three and scored 21 points while leading the Hoyas to a win when the Musketeers were ranked No. 5 in the country. Senior Bradley Hayes (7-0, 275) is another legit center on the Hoyas roster. He's more physical than Govan, however he's really struggled on the offensive end this year. He missed the first four games of the year with an injury and has seen inconsistent playing time since. He's averaging 4.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 16.7 minutes per game. He only played nine minutes against UNC-Greensboro and failed to score. He followed that up with two points and three boards in 15 minutes at Marquette. Junior Jonathan Mulmore is a JUCO transfer point guard with good size and speed. He's averaging 3.8 points in 14.8 minutes per game, while shooting 37.5 percent from the field, including 3-of-10 from 3-point range. He's seen his minutes increase lately, as he played 23 minutes at Syracuse, 13 against UNC-Greensboro, and 17 at Marquette. Georgetown has more options off the bench, but there aren't many difference-makers. Xavier got positive minutes out of Sean O'Mara, Kaiser Gates, and Quentin Goodin in the Providence win. 

Slight Edge Georgetown

Overall

Georgetown comes in at 53rd overall in KenPom's rankings. The Hoyas are 60th in the country in offensive efficiency and 59th in the country in defensive efficiency. On offense, they really are playing faster this year. Their 15.4-second average possession length ranks 34th in the country. John Thomson III has never had a team finish lower than 124th. However, it hasn't made them a whole a lot better. They're actually slightly less efficient on offense than they were last year. They still use a lot of the same Princeton actions, but they definitely look to run more in transition and they're not as deliberate about waiting to take a shot, especially Pryor. On defense, the Hoyas have played nearly 80 percent man-to-man this year and have been pretty good at it, however they're terrible at finishing off stops with rebounds. Look for Xavier to be extremely aggressive on the offensive glass. When they're not in man, they'll play a 2-3 matchup zone where they really extend out and guard the ball. The exaggerated movement of the zone frees space for attacking along the baseline and makes it difficult for them to keep opponents off of the offensive glass, something they're already terrible at anyways. They played zone for the entire first half and some of the second half last game at Marquette. This Georgetown team has plenty of flaws. The pieces don't seem to fit together all that well, they're getting shaky point guard play at best, and they don't create much offense in the halfcourt are the issues that stand out the most. The Hoyas do have plenty of size, shoot really well from 3-point range, and are stocked with players that were talented prospects coming out of high school. They're a dangerous team when they're at their best, which hasn't been often this year. Also, it's worth remembering that Xavier has beaten Georgetown handily the last two years at the Verizon Center. 

Predicted score: Xavier 78 Georgetown 72


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