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Pregame Shootaround: Georgetown at Xavier


Your Hoyas are set to take on the Xavier Musketeers tomorrow in what is shaping up to be a great one. It'll be Georgetown's second consecutive game without the services of Josh Smith and Jabril Trawick, who left voids that need to be filled.

Get to Know Xavier.

The Big Picture.

Xavier is to be a team of streaks this season. After starting off the season with 5 wins, the Musketeers dropped all 3 games of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament before rebounding nicely with an 8-game winning streak, including wins over Alabama, Butler and Marquette. Xavier dropped its most recent game to Creighton, so hopefully we're catching the start of a losing streak.

What I learned from Wikipedia.

In 2001, Thad Matta left alma mater Butler to replace Skip Prosser as Xavier's head coach. Hired with only one year of head coaching experience, Matta inherited a talented core of players in David West, Lionel Chalmers, and Romain Sato. During his three years at the helm, Matta compiled a record of 78-23, with three straight NCAA Tournament appearances and Xavier's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

The summer following Xavier's first Elite Eight appearance, Matta was offered and accepted the position of head men's basketball coach at Ohio State. Xavier Athletic Director Dawn Rogers quickly promoted Xavier Associate Head Coach Sean Miller.From 2004 to 2009, Miller compiled a record of 120-47. Advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 4 of his 5 seasons as head coach, Miller led the Musketeers to another Elite Eight appearance in 2008 and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2009. After turning away interest from many programs, Sean Miller left Xavier to become the head basketball coach at Arizona.

Xavier is one of a handful of universities with two mascots. D'Artagnan, the Musketeer, is the university's official mascot and is the origin of the school's nickname. The Blue Blob, Xavier's unofficial mascot, is a furry creature that has made several television and magazine appearances over the years, including a controversial PlayBoyappearance. He most recently appeared in two ESPN Sports Center commercials, one of which you can watch here.

Roster rundown. The Musketeers have a very balanced team offensively, boasting seven players who currently average at least 7.5 ppg. Semaj Christon will put up points, but outside of him it's anyone's guess.


The Musketeer backcourt features sophomore standout Semaj Christon (16.2 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.8 rpg) who has been on quite the tear lately, averaging 27.5 ppg over his last two. Christon is shooting a scorching 48% from 3-point land this season. Junior point guard Dee Davis (7.9 ppg, 4.4 apg, 1.8 rpg) is Christon's starting backcourt mate and will handle point-guard duties. Myles Davis (7.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and Brandon Randolph (4.0 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.1 rpg) are the Musketeers' top guards off the bench, each logging about 20 minutes of playing time per game.


Xavier's frontcourt is deep and fairly talented. The group is led by center Matt Stainbrook (11.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 bpg), who is playing in his first season at Xavier after transferring from Western Michigan. Following closely behind in terms of production is forward Justin Martin (9.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg). Martin hit five 3s and totaled 21 points in just 26 minutes in Xavier's last game, so he's someone to keep an eye out for. 6'8, 230 pound Isaiah Philmore (8.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg) is the other starter in the frontcourt. James Farr (7.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is the main sub off the bench.

Xavier on twitter. Getting the troops ready.

What to watch when the Musketeers have the ball.

  • Musketeer: Semaj Christon. Christon is averaging 20.0 ppg over his last three games. He came up extremely clutch against Marquette in scoring a career high 28 points, which he then followed up with 27 points in the Musketeers' most recent game against Creighton. This dude is on fire and will put up a ton of shots. Jabril Trawick's absence could really burn us on this one.
  • Hoya: Moses Ayegba. It took Moses 15 minutes to foul out of the Butler game. With Smith out indefinitely we will look to him to play significant minutes off the bench. Hopefully he does a better job in this one of controlling himself.
  • Number. 3-point %. As a team the Musketeers shoot the ball 38% from beyond the arc, well above the Hoyas' 33.2% clip. We held Butler to 2-21 on 3-point attempts and we still barely squeaked by with an overtime win. We will need a similar level of effort to keep Xavier's bevvy of 3-point shooters at bay.
  • Feeling delusional because... Losing Smith indefinitely, if nothing else, will likely end up helping Georgetown's defense. Hopkins and Ayegba will have a good shot at holding Xavier center Matt Stainbrook to a poor performance in this one.
  • Feeling cynical because... Georgetown is now without the services of Jabril Trawick, who is the team's most heralded perimeter defender. His absence will be felt in this one, as he was the ideal defender for a scorer like Semaj Christon.

What to watch when the Hoyas have the ball.

  • Hoya: Reggie Cameron. Cameron started and played 32 minutes in the Hoyas' most recent game against Butler, the team's first game without Jabril Trawick. He made his name in high school as one of the purest shooters in the country, so look for him to improve upon the 1-7 3-point performance he posted in his first game as a starter.
  • Musketeer: Matt Stainbrook. Stainbrook is a blue-collar worker and is averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals on the season. He will single-handedly make an impact on the defensive end and will make sure his presence is felt by Hoya guards every time they attack the rim.
  • Number. Free-throw attempts. The Hoyas attempted only 16 free throws in their last game compared to Butler's 33 free-throw attempts. This is an incredibly unsustainable ratio if Georgetown is to continue winning, and one that can only change with a more aggressive mentality toward attacking the rim.
  • Feeling delusional because... We just beat Butler in a close overtime game with the same team we will be trotting out tomorrow. Not much else could have gone worse for the Hoyas, and yet we were still able to persevere. This might inevitably be a lost season, but this team has heart.
  • Feeling cynical because... With Smith out, as it showed last game, Georgetown is left with virtually no offensive threats in the paint. Xavier would be wise to keep an extra defender near Starks and DSR at all times, and if they do so this could be a very ugly shooting performance on our end.

Conclusion. This one is pretty hard to call. On the one hand I love how well we showed up against Butler when all the odds were stacked against us, but on the other hand those same odds are still stacked against us. Our three primary big men likely won't all foul out again, but I would be surprised if none did. This one could go either way; it's all about whether or not we can keep our guys on the floor.