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Xavier v. Georgetown: Preview, matchups, and keys to the game.

Neither team led by more than five in an overtime thriller the first time these teams met.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The relentlessness of the Big East means that Xavier recovers from getting hammered by Villanova by facing a that is in the top 100 in the KenPom and took them to overtime at home the first time they met. The Hoyas aren’t in the running for a bubble spot in the NCAA tournament, but that hasn’t stopped them from making a late season push that has seen them beat both Seton Hall and Butler (at their barn). After a lot of well earned clowning over their non-conference schedule, it turns out that Georgetown has made some serious strides this year.

For Xavier, this game is about not losing one that can drop them out of the fight for a #1 seed. There won’t be a lot of damage done in losing to Villanova, even in a blowout. Dropping one in DC would be significantly more damaging to Xavier’s chances of landing on the coveted top line. KenPom has Xavier with a 70% chance of winning this one in the cold light of statistics, but it seems unlikely the Hoyas will simply forfeit.

Team Fingerprint:

Offensively Georgetown simply turns the ball over too much to be consistently effective. Their season rate of 21.3% is somewhat mitigated by the fact that when they do get shots up, they are pretty good about tracking down their misses. The Hoyas aren’t particularly good shooting the ball anywhere other than the line. In all, their offense has earned it’s rank as 98th in the nation.

Defensively the Hoyas attempt to harry shooters and have one shot defensive possessions. They execute both of those with middling success, but that is clearly the plan. Georgetown doesn’t force many turnovers, but they do block shots well without fouling. Again, they are just a bit of real excellence away from being better than just barely over 100th in the nation. The building blocks are there, the execution just isn’t yet.


  • Jahvon Blair scored 19 on 5-10 behind the arc against Xavier. Since that game, he’s scored a total of 16 points and made two threes.
  • Marcus Derrickson is up to 48th in the nation at 45.7%. No other player on the team with qualifying attempts is above 34.9%.


Starting matchups
Jonathan Mulmore Point Guard Quentin Goodin
Senior Class Sophomore
6'4", 185 Measurements 6'4", 190
5.7/2.2/3.5 Game line 8.5/3/5.2
0.481/0.481/0.754 Shooting line 0.435/0.304/0.809
Mulmore is a great outside shooter with only 27 attempts. He sets his teammates up well, but commits turnovers at an unforgivably high 30.5% rate.
Kaleb Johnson Shooting Guard J.P. Macura
Junior Class Senior
6'6", 205 Measurements 6'5", 203
8.4/4.6/2.2 Game line 12.4/4.3/3
0.556/0.349/0.75 Shooting line 0.466/0.35/0.825
Johnson is a very effective shooter (61.1% EFG) because he gets into the lane to do damage. He's also a solid free throw shooter and blocks more than his fair share of shots.
Jamorko Pickett Small Forward Trevon Bluiett
Freshman Class Senior
6'8", 190 Measurements 6'6", 202
9.4/3.7/1.9 Game line 19.8/5.6/2.6
0.362/0.341/0.727 Shooting line 0.463/0.445/0.84
Pickett is a brutally inefficient shooter who can occasionally get himself rolling from deep through sheer volume alone. He also turns the ball over a quarter of the time he touches it.
Marcus Derrickson Power Forward Naji Marshall
Junior Class Freshperson
6'7", 250 Measurements 6'7", 218
16.2/8.1/1.6 Game line 8.2/3.7/1.4
0.52/0.457/0.857 Shooting line 0.539/0.353/0.75
Derrickson is a good shooter from anywhere on the floor, rebounds very well, and gets to the line well. In short, he's really good.
Jessie Govan Center Kerem Kanter
Junior Class Senior
6'10", 270 Measurements 6'10", 240
16.7/10/1.9 Game line 10.2/5/0.5
0.502/0.324/0.75 Shooting line 0.557/0.319/0.76
Govan averages a double double but doesn't get nearly the press that Angel Delgado does. That's a shame, because he's more efficient and has the range to step out for a three on occasion.


From the bench will come Jahvon Blair, who is going to pull from wherever he catches it. Jagan Moseley is another guard who is decent scoring but turns the ball over too much and Trey Dickerson slots in as a guy who isn’t a great shooter and also turns it over. This isn’t a bench deep in talent.

Three questions:

Will Xavier guard Marcus Derrickson this time? Derrickson was only the third leading scorer for the Hoyas in the last meeting, but he got hot when it mattered and Xavier seemed to have no answer for him. He’s a tank of person, which makes him a tough matchup for Naji or Kaiser. He’s also quick and a good outside shooter, so Kanter and Tyrique Jones would struggle with him. Coach Mack will have to assure Derrickson can’t get five offensive rebounds and good looks tonight.

Can Xavier win convincingly on the road? Xavier’s last two road wins are in overtime against Butler and by one against Creighton. Their biggest road win of the year is by 10 over Wisconsin and UNI. They’ve not won a conference road game by double digits. The committee doesn’t care, but it would make Musketeers fans feel a bit better to see the team get the job done convincingly away from home.

How long can Xavier hide Kaiser Gates? Gates is a very good shooter in a very bad slump. In Xavier’s last seven games, he’s made exactly three three pointers. His defensive rebounding was making up for that, but he’s grabbed one in his last 24 minutes of play. Kaiser’s defense is a plus, but he needs to offer value at least somewhere else to hold his playing time.

Three keys:

Turn Georgetown over: The Hoyas want to give the ball away, but Xavier doesn’t force turnovers essentially at all. Georgetown’s lowest turnover rate of the season was in the first matchup. A little bit more pressure will increase the giveaways and maybe keep Xavier out of a close late game situation.

Move the ball: Against Nova Xavier assisted on 55.6% of their made buckets. That’s great. The fact that Quentin Goodin had 12 assists is also good. Unfortunately, that left three to go around for the rest of the team. Q can create, but his teammates need to keep the ball moving and make sure it doesn’t stick.

Get a consistent option: Xavier needs either Gates, Naji Marshall, or Kerem Kanter to be going early. Against Villanova, Gates never got going, Marshall started late, and Kanter was a non-factor. JP is a threat, Tre is going to get his, what Xavier needs is one more guy clicking to make the offense work.