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Sleeping with the Enemy: The Musketeers of Xavier

Your Georgetown Hoyas will be back in action Saturday after a weeklong break and start a grueling stretch of games with their matchup in Cincinnati at Xavier. For more insight on the Musketeers, we have the expertise our blog buddies Banners on the Parkway, SB Nation’s leading source on all things Xavier-related.

So, it’s been a while since our two teams have played. How are people feeling about Xavier this year?

There had been a generally good feeling around Xavier for almost the entire season. We had a rough week against Nova and Providence, but other than that the feeling is that this team is performing to a reasonable level, which for this year’s group is being in the top 10 in the nation, and there are not any major injuries or off court issues this year.

When things are going right for Xavier on offense, who’s usually stepping up to help?

The headline grabbers are Trevon Bluiett and JP Macura, who have been Xavier standbys since their freshman year. The thing that has made this team so much fun to watch is the array of role players that can kill an opponent on any given night. Fellow seniors Kerem Kanter and Sean O’Mara have been pretty consistently excellent in Big East play, but any of Kaiser Gates, Tyrique Jones, Quentin Goodin, or our rapidly developing freshmen Naji Marshall and Paul Scruggs can and have torched people who keyed too much on Tre and JP.

In recent years, Xavier’s become known for its defense, but there seems to be some worry that it’s not as good this year. What’s been the biggest issue on the defensive end?

This is Xavier’s 3rd best defense by KenPom rating since joining the Big East, which makes it middle of the road for recent years. The main thing that has dropped from last year is the number of turnovers created. This year’s 16.2% rate is the lowest at the school since 2001, which can be traced to X playing more man this year and focusing on packing their defense inside the arc. What they have done well is force bad shots and rebound the misses, which explains the better overall numbers this year, even though turnovers are down.

Ok, why do you think so many opposing fans hate J.P. Macura? And what makes Xavier fans love him?

I think the first time I realized people were going to hate JP was probably the first time I laid eyes on him. He lacks some of the over-the-top intensity of a villain like Marshall Henderson, but makes up for it by just subtly annoying anyone and everyone who doesn’t support Xavier. We, of course, love him because he is ours, but also because he happens to be an excellent basketball player. I look forward to you fielding this question about Mac McClung for the next four years.

Any thoughts on the Hoyas & their new direction under coach Patrick Ewing?

I really like what Ewing has done since signing on. The first Georgetown team I really remember was when Iverson and Harrington were there and I picked them to win it all (couldn’t account for John Calipari’s cheating at such a young age), then was heartbroken when they fell short. Even in the leaner years that followed there was Reuben Boumtje-Boumtje and Mike Sweetney and later guys like Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. There was always a swagger and toughness to those teams that made them hard to hate. The past couple of years were sad (except when you played X) seeing that all but evaporate and the team meander through loss after loss. Ewing seems intent on restoring that pride and grittiness and is doing it while getting better out of Derrickson and Govan than JTIII ever did.

Now on to the really important stuff: Does a straw have one hole or two holes?

Never really thought about it. 2. Not gonna over think this one.

Care to add any thoughts on the Super Bowl?

A ton of people have made up stupid conspiracy theories about the league wanting the Patriots to win and it is really annoying to hear them whine about it. I have nothing against the Eagles per se, but I don’t want the dregs of society who take to Facebook to rant about imaginary slights against their team to have the satisfaction of seeing New England lose. Patriots in 6.

Please describe your ideal order of chicken wings in as much detail as possible.

I actually get together with Brad and Joel, who also write for Banners (and are my brothers), for the opening weekend of March Madness every year and our staple meal for when Xavier plays (assuming they do) is a whole mess of chicken wings. To be honest, I would love to give you more details, but Joel always has these things planned out ahead of time (like, embarrassingly so) and so any input I have is typically ignored, given that I am the youngest and somehow that still matters when you are 31. All I know is we get them from somewhere called Roosters and that Joel somehow gets a mason jar of blue cheese dressing because he is a revolting human being.

Final score prediction for Saturday’s game?

We have been on a roll at home recently and Georgetown has ball security and outside shooting issues, two things that typically do not augur well for a Xavier opponent. I think an early X run gets the crowd behind them and it is never really in doubt again. 90-76.