Edmond Sumner SO (6-6, 186) vs Jagan Mosley FR (6-3, 205)
Mosley is a big, athletic point guard that makes plays for his teammates but also turns the ball over too much. He's at his best when he's running in transition. He's averaging 5.3 points (42.4% FG, 32% 3PT), 2.6 assists, and 2.1 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per game. He only played four minutes in the first game against X. Sumner was the difference in the first game for X. He was the best player on the court and continuously put pressure on Georgetown's defense by putting the Hoyas in ballscreen situations. He was most successful when receiving a screen from Trevon Bluiett who was guarded by Marcus Derrickson, mostly. Georgetown switched on the screen, with Bluiett picking-and-popping to the perimeter which created space for Sumner to drive. He was aggressive looking for his own shot and setting up his teammates. He finished with 28 points (7-13 FG, 14-17 FTs), eight rebounds, six assists, and four turnovers in 38 minutes. The Musketeers need him to set the tone again in this one. He's averaging 15.4 points (48.1% FG, 28.2% 3PT), 4.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 2.9 turnovers in 33.9 minutes per game.
Significant 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 48-of-113 (42.5%) attempts from deep. He's an excellent spot-up shooter and he hits a lot of tough shots He's the Hoyas leading scorer at 17.7 points per game. Last game against XU, he put up 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-6 from three, with seven boards. Bernard and Sumner were typically guarding him when X was playing man-to-man, but he was most aggressive when the Musketeers went to their 1-3-1 zone. Macura hit some absolutely critical shots in the first game between these teams and finished with 23 points. He also took some really bad shots and was 6-of-15 from the field (3-7 3PT) with six boards in 34 minutes. He's averaging 14.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 steals in 32.3 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 ballscreens, running in transition, or spotting up as a shooter. He's averaging 16.1 points (45.1% FG, 36.1% 3PT), 4.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 33.2 minutes per game. He scored a team-high 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting (1-3 3PT) with six rebounds and three assists in the first game against Xavier. He scored multiple buckets on straight-line drives or cuts to the rim against Gates and Macura when X was in man-to-man. He also scored twice from the elbow against the zone by driving from the wing. He's a handful to guard. Bernard played good defense and stepped up with a pair of big threes in that first game at Georgetown. He finished with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting with three boards, three assists, and two steals in 28 minutes. He's averaging 6.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game while shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from deep.
Moderate Edge Georgetown
Trevon Bluiett JR (6-6, 198) vs Marcus Derrickson SO (6-7, 250)
Derrickson 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. He's averaging 9.5 points (43.9% FG, 41.4% 3PT) and 4.7 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game. He started and played 26 minutes in the first game against the Musketeers, finishing with 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-4 from deep, with two boards and two blocks before fouling out. Bluiett played his worst game of the season at Georgetown. He finished 0-for-10 from the field, including 0-for-6 from beyond the arc, with seven boards, three assists, and two turnovers. His shot selection was poor in that game. His approach on the offensive end against Creighton was much better as he looked to drive and create more as opposed to settling for tough jumpers. He still struggled with his shot in that game though as he went 0-for-4 from deep. He's averaging 16.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 33.7 minutes per game.
Moderate Edge Xavier
RaShid Gaston SR (6-9, 239) vs Jessie Govan SO (6-10, 270)
Govan is a big center with skill and agility. He scores well in the post and he finds 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's also capable of stepping out and hitting the occasional three - the big man is 8-for-16 from beyond the arc this year. He only saw 14 minutes in the first game against Xavier as he finished with three points, three boards, and two assists. Gaston struggled to finish in the last game against Georgetown. He had six points and nine boards but was just 3-of-7 from the field in 24 minutes of action. He's averaging 7.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game.
Xavier Bench vs Georgetown Bench
Junior Akoy Agau (6-8, 235) is a long forward that lacks coordination, skill, and toughness. He's not a big factor on the offensive end. He's averaging 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 14.5 minutes per game. He only played eight minutes in the first game against X and had very little impact with one point and two rebounds. 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 ballscreens. He's averaging 3.8 points (35.7% FG, 33.3% 3PT), 1.6 assists, and 1.6 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game. 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. He played 20 minutes in the game against XU at the Verizon Center and was 0-for-3 from the field with one point, four assists, and three rebounds. Senior Bradley Hayes (7-0, 275) is another big center on the Hoyas roster. He plays more physically than Govan does. He's averaging 5.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 15.7 minutes per game. Last game against X, he played 14 minutes off the bench and went 4-of-5 from the field with eight points and five boards. Junior Jonathan Mulmore is a JUCO transfer point guard with good size and speed. He's averaging 3.8 points (34.5% FG, 33.3% 3PT) and 1.5 assists in 15.9 minutes per game. He played a big role last game against X, coming off the bench for 27 minutes mostly to guard Sumner. He finished with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting with three boards and three assists. For Xavier, the bench became shorter again on Friday with the departure of Myles Davis. Kaiser Gates saw 18 minutes in the first game against Georgetown and played pretty well. He had six points (2-4 FG, 1-3 3PT), two boards, and an assist in that win. Sean O'Mara played 13 minutes in that game and provided an offensive spark with eight points (2-4 FG, 4-6 FT) and four boards. Tyrique Jones could be limited in this one as he continues to deal with an ongoing patella tendon injury.
Slight Edge Georgetown
Georgetown comes in ranked 68th overall in the country according to KenPom. The Hoyas are ranked 89th in offensive efficiency and 74th in defensive efficiency. Xavier is sitting at 27th overall, 41st in offensive efficiency and 31st in defensive efficiency. The two teams traded baskets for most of the second half on New Year's Eve in Washington DC. XU did a great job of exploiting Georgetown's poor ballscreen defense and lack of a defensive answer for Sumner in that game. On the other end of the court, both Peak and Pryor gave the Musketeers issues defensively. Chris Mack actually ended up playing a significant amount of 1-3-1 zone in that first game and it was fairly successful. As long as the Hoyas don't catch fire from deep (they were 6-for-17 in the first matchup), the zone seems like a good way to take away their Princeton actions that are difficult to defend in the halfcourt. Also, Xavier controlled the glass in that first game, grabbing 31.8 percent of the available offensive boards and 82.4 percent of the defensive opportunities. Look for the Musketeers to gain an even bigger edge on the glass at home as the Hoyas are an awful rebounding team, ranked 263rd in the country in defensive rebounding rate. This is a huge game for the Musketeers both mentally and in terms of resume. I expect them to put the events of this week behind them and gut out a win in a game similar to the one we saw at Georgetown.
Predicted score: Xavier 78 Georgetown 72