clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

GAME THREAD: Xavier at Georgetown

New, 123 comments

Hoyas can play spoiler in home finale!

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Where: McDonough Gymnasium

Game 20: Xavier Musketeers (13-5, 6-5) at Georgetown Hoyas (8-11, 6-8)

When: Tuesday 7 pm

Series: Xavier leads 16-5

Last meeting: Georgetown was swept by Xavier last season for the fourth time since the Musketeers joined the BIG EAST.

TV: FS1 (Eric Collins & Danny Manning)

Radio: The Team 980, SiriusXM 385, Radio.com (Rich Chvotkin, 47th season)

KenPom Ranking: Xavier 55, Georgetown 89

KenPom Projection: Xavier 74, Georgetown 72 (57 percent)

Line: Xavier -2.5, o/u 148

PREVIEW

It’s Senior Day for Jahvon Blair, Jamorko Pickett, Chudier Bile, and Don Carey!

We can only hope that they all feature in the game tonight while avoiding the dreaded and unpredictable coach’s decision - DNP in what will likely be the final game for all four players at McDonough in a Georgetown uniform.

In beating DePaul last time out the Hoyas kept alive the chances of the program’s first 3-game BIG EAST winning streak under coach Patrick Ewing but it won’t be easy.

Xavier comes to DC after a crucial win over a ranked Creighton team to help keep alive their NCAA hopes heading into the final week of the regular season. Travis Steele and the Musketeers played only one game between Jan. 11 and Feb. 12 due to covid related issues and could be an interesting decision for the committee.

Georgetown could do some serious damage to Xavier’s resume with a win tonight. A victory would also help the Hoyas in what will be a long climb back to respectability in this matchup.

Georgetown’s 31% winning percentage against Xavier is its worst against any BIG EAST school and it’s even worse in league play at 20% (3-12). The Hoyas have unfortunately been the nail to Xavier’s hammer in this rivalry.

Paul Scruggs and Zach Freemantle are one of the better inside-outside duos in the league. Scruggs leads the league in assists at 6.1 while Freemantle is BIG EAST’s leading rebounder with 9 per contest. Nate Johnson is sidelined with an injury for the rest of the season but was one of the better 3-point shooters in the league knocking down 45 percent of his shots.

Xavier is fourth in the country in assists per game, fifth in assist-turnover ratio and as a result shoots over 50% from the field as a team.

So maybe the biggest question is who will Ewing have guarding Scruggs? And can Georgetown’s bigs of Qudus Wahab and Timothy Igohefe be effective against Freemantle or will that fall to Bile or Pickett?

If there’s something different about this Xavier team as opposed to those of years past it’s that the defense isn’t as good as we are used to seeing. Xavier has kind of taken over the role of Pitt/Cincy/WVU role in the new BIG EAST but this season hasn’t had that feel. They are right around the bottom of the league in KenPom’s conference only defensive numbers.

A bigger issue to watch is if Xavier were to drop their final two to Georgetown and Marquette and miss out on the tournament for the third straight season after Chris Mack left for Louisville, would Steele be under any pressure? And yes I’m counting last season as a miss after they blew it against DePaul in the conference tournament.

There’s a lot to live up to when you look what the coaches before Steele accomplished. From Skip Prosser, Thad Matta, Sean Miller, and then Mack, it’s been a great ride. Shoot, I didn’t include one of my favorite announces in Pete Gillen.

So, to summarize it’s a big night for the Hoyas tonight as they can get closer to .500 in BE play, send off the seniors in style at home and hurt a Xavier’s NCAA Tournament chances all in one (hopefully) 40-minute game. It’s all there for the taking so good luck to Jahvon, Jamorko, Chudier, and Donald!

NOTES

The halftime score could go a long way towards predicting the outcome. Xavier is 10-0 when leading at the half while Georgetown is just 1-6 when trailing...Georgetown has attempted more FTs than 3-pointers in three straight games going 2-1....The Hoyas can finish the season with a winning home record (7-6) with a victory tonight...Also with a win tonight Georgetown can finish with a winning home record in conference play for the second time under Ewing. The Hoyas went 5-4 in BE games in 2018-19 and are 4-4 entering tonight...

Bobby’s Prediction

Hoyas 79, Musketeers 78

Dante Harris finds an open Blair for the game winner as the dream of a .500 league record remains in play heading into the regular season finale.

Leave your witty (and non-witty) in-game comments here!

HOYA SAXA!