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Xavier v. Georgetown: Preview

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

These two Big East teams could hardly have started the season much differently. Xavier demolished Providence at home, putting the game to rest with an early 16-2 run and then just vanishing into the night as the Friars could find no way of handling them. Georgetown went to Marquette and lost in a game where their second half win probability peaked at 20% at halftime and plunged to essentially zero within the first five minutes.

The Hoyas have been all over the place this year, beating Oregon and Syracuse, but also losing four times, including once to Arkansas State. Three of their eight wins have come against teams ranked 242nd or lower in the KenPom rankings. Right now, Georgetown is the college basketball exemplification of “any given Sunday.”

Team Fingerprint:

Offensively, the Hoyas turn the ball over way too much to really be consistently effective. A 20.5% turnover rate will get in the way of a lot good things any team does. The one thing Georgetown does exceptionally well is get to the line (6th best FTA/FGA in the nation) and finish when they get there. The 77.5% that JTIII’s troops shoot from the line is perhaps only eclipsed by the 40.2% they knock down from behind the arc. Those two numbers alone would create a terrifying offense, but those turnovers come back to bite way too often.

Defense is something of the same story in the capital. The Hoyas only allow 31% from deep and block 14.5% of opponent’s shots. The opposition manages only an EFG of 46.7% against G’town. All good, right? Well, it would be if opponent’s didn’t also grab almost 35% of their misses. That’s good for 320th in the nation and puts the Hoyas down in the illustrious company of Eastern Michigan, Marist, FAU, and Bethune Cookman.

Georgetown Personnel

Starters:

Jagan Mosely Point Guard Edmond Sumner
Freshman Class Sophomore
6'3", 205 Measurements 6'6", 183
4.2/1.8/3.0 Game Line 14.3/4.2/4.7
.378/.211/.727 Shooting Line .492/.286/.712
It was always going to be hard to fill DSR's shoes when he left, but Mosely came in thought of as a player capable of eventually doing just that. As a freshman point guard, Mosely has had his struggles this year, particularly with turning the ball over. He really hasn't played well against top 100 opposition this year, the lone exception being against La Salle when he went for 14/3/6
Rodney Pryor Shooting Guard JP Macura
Senior Class Junior
6'5", 205 Measurements 6'5", 203
20.1/5.1/1.2 Game Line 14.2/4.4/2.9
.552/.506/.844 Shooting Line .413/.338/.914
Pryor transferred in from Robert Morris and has absolutely lit it up for Georgetown this season. He splits his shots almost evenly from inside and outside the arc, and shoots on about 30% of posessions when he is on the court. He went for 26/10/1 against Oregon and 20/6/3 against Syracuse. Basically, every time the Hoyas get a big win, this is the guy carrying them most of the way.
LJ Peak Small Forward Trevon Bluiett
Junior Class Junior
6'5", 215 Measurements 6'6", 200
15.9/4.2/3.4 Game Line 19.2/5.8/2.2
.477/.395/.844 Shooting Line .446/.358/.788
X fans have seen a lot of Peak at this point, so it should not be unfamiliar what he is bringing to the table. His efficiency is higher this year than ever before due to the fact he is garnering more assists and getting to the line more this year, but he still is going to do most of his work inside the arc with his three point shot keeping the defense from cheating off him.
Akay Agau Power Forward Malcolm Bernard
Junior Class Senior
6'8", 235 Measurements 6'6",202
4.7/2.8/0.9 Game Line 5.4/4.4/1.5
.536/.167/.909 Shooting Line .357/.359/.429
Agau took over for the tranferring Isaac Copeland and has failed to capture the imaginations of Hoya fans with his performances. He has started the last three games and played 21 minutes combined, indicating that maybe JTIII does not have a good deal of faith in him. The fact that he is not a markedly better rebounder than their shooting guard probably contributes to the lack of playing time, but he has shown the ability to score when needed and is shooting a whopping 63% inside the arc.
Jesse Govan Center RaShid Gaston
Sophomore Class Senior
6'10", 270 Measurements 6'9", 239
10.8/5.6/1.2 Game Line 7.9/6.6/0.6
.567/.750/.762 Shooting Line .597/.000/.500
Govan has been another strong contributor for Georgetown this year, building on his hit and miss freshman campaign. He has rebounded the ball extremely well on the defensive end, pulling in 22.2% of opponents misses, and grabbed 4 offensive boards in 23 minutes against Luke Fischer and Marquette. He sits right outside the top 100 shot blockers in the nation and is shooting 55% inside the arc right now, so X will have their hands full.

Reserves:

Georgetown is 43rd in the nation in bench minutes, due a lot to the fact that Marcus Derrickson is fourth on the team in minutes, having not started a game this year. He missed time with a knee injury, but he gives them a better rebounding presence and Agau, can stretch the defense from the 4 position, and blocks shots very well on defense. Our old pal Tre Campbell also gets a lot of time off the bench, but has been more turnover prone this season, and still isn’t a consistent scoring threat. 7-footer Bradley Hayes is still not a great post scorer, but is a tremendous rebounder and shot blocker because he’s, y’know, 7 feet tall. Johnathan Mulmore follows the theme of Hoya guards not named Pryor with his turnovers and streaky shooting, although he has gotten himself to the line for 30 free throws to only 32 field goal attempts.

Three questions:

- Can Xavier keep up the hot shooting? Georgetown isn’t great at defending shooters inside the arc. The Musketeers shot a scorching 72% inside (including 10-10 from the three posts) against Providence. If that sounds like a place where X can take advantage, that’s because it is. Xavier is also 19-45 (42%) from deep over the last two games.

- Will Ed settle down? Edmond Sumner’s turnover rate has jumped almost three percent since last season. This has gone from being explainable but worth noting to something of an issue. Anecdotally, it seems as if most of the turnovers have come from drives that hit a cul-de-sac where Ed was expecting a freeway. Georgetown can turn people over, and a primary ballhandler with a turnover rate of 22% isn’t a recipe for consistent success.

- Can you guess RaShid Gaston’s top two player comps? KenPom has a system by which players in the current year are matched to historical players in the KenPom database. Two of Gaston’s top five are Jason Love in 2010, and James Farr last season. In short, Gaston is turning into a prototypical Xavier senior post presence. This may not be the normal question you’d expect here, but it is illustrative of how well Gaston has been playing recently.

Three keys:

- Turn the Hoyas over: Georgetown wants to throw the ball away. They want to shoot threes, get to the line, and just throw the ball all over the place. Xavier is relatively adept at forcing turnovers. All they need to do is harass Hoya ballhandlers a little bit and the rest should fall into place.

- Slow the pace: Georgetown plays fast, their average possession barely lasts 15 seconds, and Xavier doesn’t. While the Musketeers certainly have the horses to career up and down the floor, it isn’t their game. The pace doesn’t need to be glacial, but trying to go breakneck will likely only make Xavier’s own turnover proclivities come to the fore.

- Feed the Shid (and his friends): Gaston is getting the pub right now, and he deserves, but Xavier’s other big men didn’t miss a shot against Providence and combined for 13 in the waylaying of EWU. Georgetown isn’t terrible against post play, but they can be had there more easily than from outside. It would stand X in good stead to work from the inside out come New Year’s Eve.