In the opener to Big East play, Georgetown went to Marquette and hung with the Golden Eagles before succumbing by 10. Part of the reason that the Hoyas stayed in contact was that they blocked 19% of Marquette’s two point attempts. For the season, the Hoyas block at over a 14% rate. All of this is pertinent because, for a team with a good deal of size and athleticism, Xavier spends an inordinate amount of time getting shots thrown. To beat Georgetown in Washington, they’re going to have to limit a part of the game where their weaknesses match the Hoyas strengths.
Feed Shid, Trevon...and JP:
Xavier’s best bet to finish with the ball at the rim is Trevon Bluiett. 68% of the time Trevon gets inside, he finishes. Trailing not far behind him is Rashid Gaston, who also leads the Musketeers in cleaning up and converting other people’s misses. The final name on this list who is dangerous to other teams around the rim is JP Macura. JP makes 57% of his attempts at the rim but also shoots 71% on putbacks. If shots are getting blocked, JP is a likely bet to grab one and stick it back in. Four of Georgetown’s five losses this season came when opponents shot over 50% inside the arc.
Use the forwards to handle the ball:
Marquette assisted on 73% of their made field goal attempts against Georgetown. That astronomically high number mean that shot blockers couldn’t adjust fast enough and it led to the Golden Eagles being in position to shoot 43% from behind the arc. Xavier’s safest perimeter passers are JP Macura and Trevon Bluiett. Both of those guys are in the top 250 in the nation when it comes to taking care of the ball. Kaiser Gates is also relatively calm with the ball in possession. Unfortunately, Xavier’s two point guards are first and third on the team in turnover rate. The best option for Coach Mack here might be another game in which the forwards work more on initiating the offense so Ed is off ball more often.
Disrupt shooters with length:
All five of Georgetown’s losses have come in their seven worst three point shooting performances. The Hoyas guards are tall, but they aren’t the size of Xavier’s. Rodney Pryor is shooting 50.6% from deep (on 81 attempts). He’s 6-5, LJ Peak is also 6-5 and shooting 39.5%, Markus Derrickson is 40% from deep and stands 6-7. Only 6-2 Tre Campbell is a threat from deep and isn’t tall. Xavier will need to make sure that players like Quentin Goodin and JP Macura don’t get switched into a situation where they can’t recover. Kaiser Gates and Tyrique Jones are players who have the length and the ability to recover quickly enough to challenge shooters. Both could play significant minutes tomorrow to limit the outside threat.