We’ve dwelt on the negatives and spent some time looking at the positives, but the long and short of it is that Xavier is on a three game loser. This is generally the space where we would run our Roster(de)bating article, but there’s not a lot of debate left in the roster. Xavier plays who they are going to play at this point in time. We’ll still focus here on how to get the most out of the personnel that is available, if not how the rotation goes. For the foreseeable future, the focus is on repairing the damage that has been done. That starts with beating the Hoyas and that starts with winning the battle on the glass.
Use Tyrique Jones:
Both Rashid Gaston and Sean O’Mara were effective against Georgetown the first time out. For that very reason, Tyrique Jones needs to play more in this game. This isn’t about catching the Hoyas off guard or anything like that, but rather a demonstration that Georgetown can’t handle size inside. Tyrique is athletic and well suited to a game in which hammering the glass is imperative. No one on Xavier hits the offensive glass as well as Jones, he needs to get some run.
Crash with a guard:
This is going to seem counter-intuitive, given that Georgetown plays at a high tempo, but Xavier can commit an extra man to the glass. In most games, Rashid Gaston gets on the glass after every shot if he can. Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner drop, Malcolm Bernard does what the situation dictates, and JP freelances. Committing either JP or Malcolm to a full time effort could catch Georgetown without enough numbers on the defensive glass, where they struggle mightily anyway, and lead to a couple of easy stickbacks. This is less an option when Sean O’Mara is on the floor, because he doesn’t get back into a play as quickly as Bernard or Gaston does.
Forget the three pointer:
This may come as a shock to some of you, but Xavier is horrendous from behind the arc. Combine that with the Hoyas being fairly efficient at stopping three point shooting and you have the recipe for another one of those 6-19 efforts we’ve all come to know and not love. The Musketeers could go completely radical this game, and just focus everything inside. Georgetown plays pretty good interior defense, but Xavier tends to convert at an even higher level inside the arc (59th in the nation, actually). While this may be something of a mixed bag, Georgetown also sends the opposition to the line on 38% of their shot attempts. Xavier could just completely ditch any efforts to get looks from deep and just cram the ball inside. The lack of long shots leads to fewer long rebounds and more X chances on the glass. This likely won’t happen, but it would be something to watch.
There will be more on this in the preview, but Xavier has one massive advantage in this game, and that’s on the boards. There have been three straight losses for Musketeer fans to suffer through. X has lost games because of bad shooting, bad defense, bad free throw performance, and just bad basketball in general. Regardless of how it happens, a win would be most appreciated.