Game 20 - Georgetown (5-14) @ #8 Xavier (15-4)
Nuts & Bolts
Date: January 21, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, OH
How to Watch: Fox Sports 1
Matchup History: Xavier leads all-time series 18-6
Last Meeting: Xavier def. Georgetown 102-89 on 12/16/22
Betting Lines: Via DraftKings
Spread: Georgetown +17
Prediction: Georgetown 65, Xavier 90
Official Game Notes: HERE
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Head Coach: Patrick Ewing (6th season, 73-98 record at Georgetown)
Record: 5-14 (0-8, 11th in Big East)
Last Time Out: Lost @ Villanova 77-73 on 1/16
Player to Watch: Jordan Riley
Georgetown came so close to ending its record-breaking losing streak on Monday at Villanova, but came up just short.
The Hoyas trailed by four at the half before surging in the second, the opposite of what they’ve done all season. In fact, the Hoyas held a lead with under 2:30 to play but couldn’t hold onto the lead for the team’s first Big East win in almost two years.
Primo Spears was phenomenal for the Hoyas in the game, scoring 19 points and adding 7 assists. He was the go-to bucket-getter for Georgetown down the stretch.
Sophomore guard Jordan Riley had the best game of his Georgetown career, scoring 18 points in a starting role, but didn’t score in the final 17 minutes of the game. Another bucket or two from the hot-handed Riley could’ve been the
I’ve brought this up before, but I’ll say it again: I’m not a believer in moral victories. I think there is a time and a place for them MAYBE, but it certainly isn’t when you’re riding a now 28 game conference losing streak.
Georgetown played great. They probably should’ve won, but didn’t. It’s the closest the Hoyas have come to a Big East win this season and it should provide a confidence boost that they can play with anyone, but it should not feel good to lose a game like that.
Of course, we all know there is the proverbial elephant in the room in the form of the program’s head coach and its most legendary player, but I actually was excited about Georgetown watching that game in person on Monday.
The team is young, energetic and not phased by the situation. They’re simply not consistently put in position to succeed. Primo Spears playing hero ball in the final five minutes is a big reason why Georgetown was in that game down the stretch.
What would happen if Georgetown was running a coherent offense?
Saturday, the Hoyas face Xavier, which comes into the game following its first loss in Big East play.
I’m not measuring success in winning or losing today, rather how they respond to a really close loss in which the team played great.
After the UConn game, which Georgetown led in the second half before losing by 11, Georgetown lost to DePaul by 7, Butler by 29, Villanova by 16 and Marquette by 22.
Don’t get blown out in a game where conventional wisdom would suggest it’s inevitable.
Do that, and I’ll start to believe that things are officially turning a corner (not turning around, let’s not get ahead of ourselves).
Head Coach: Sean Miller (1st season in second stint at Xavier)
Record: 15-4 (7-1, 1st in Big East)
Last Time Out: Lost @ DePaul 73-72 on 1/18
Player to Watch: Souley Boum
We all knew Xavier would be good, but I don’t think many had the Musketeers pegged to be the best team in the Big East this season.
In the first season back under the direction of Sean Miller, Xavier basketball is fast, fundamental and at times, dominant.
The Musketeers are the #1 team in the country in assists per game (20.6), and #8 in the country in field goal percentage (49.8%), leading to an average of 83.5 points per game, the 13th best mark in the nation.
They share and they score.
Which is why the first Big East blemish on Xavier’s record is so surprising. On Wednesday night, The Musketeers lost on the road to DePaul, who sits just above Georgetown in the Big East standings (granted, the Blue Demons have three wins).
In the game, Xavier was well below its average in points, assists and field goal percentage. They didn’t share and they didn’t score, leading to a shocking 73-72 loss.
“We played 36 minutes with eight assists,” head coach Sean Miller said after the game. “Some of that was DePaul did a nice job, but shot selection, shooting too quick, not cutting and doing the different things that allowed us to attain so much of the success we’ve had, a lot of it tonight was self-inflicted.”
Xavier finished the game with 13 assists, still well below its season average. Souley Boum, who crushed Georgetown in the first meeting with 28 points, was held to just 4 points against the Blue Demons.
I expect the Musketeers to look to right all of the things that went wrong in Wednesday's loss. And from their perspective, they’ve got the perfect opponent to do it.
Xavier scored 102 points on Georgetown in the Big East opener on December 16, including 59 in the second half.
I expect the Musketeers to get right and re-establish itself on Saturday as the premier team in the Big East, showing that Wednesday’s loss was nothing more
than a fluke, albeit a valuable lesson.