Is any job in the sports industry more secure than Patrick Ewing’s at Georgetown? Jokes aside, Georgetown has been brutally bad in his tenure, and it doesn’t look to get any better as sizable underdogs to the upstart Xavier Musketeers. While Xavier showed signs of life for a postseason run in the middle of last season, they have really exploded onto the scene this year with serious title threats. Can they take care of business this Saturday against the lowly Hoyas?
Georgetown Vs. Xavier Odds
Oddsmakers certainly think so as they opened the Musketeers as a -19.5 favorite. Bettors actually think elsewise, backing Georgetown down all the way to +17.5 in some shops as of writing. Even with Georgetown in the midst of a freefall, Xavier’s defense gives them a puncher’s chance of staying within the number should they fail to put together another 40-minute performance. That has been their Achilles heel as their guards have been prone to getting lazy at defending the upper level.
As for the total, oddsmakers believe points would be scored in a flash as they opened the total at 162. Bettors believe that number was set too high, taking it down to 161 in some shops with money indicators pointing towards it going down even more. This brings some intrigue as this will be heavily predicated on Georgetown’s ability to score against Xavier, an area that has been a rollercoaster of efficiency for the Musketeers. It’s never easy putting your faith in Georgetown to be able to score at a consistent rate, and I don’t believe they will this time either.
Georgetown Vs. Xavier Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Under 161.5
With that said, I will take the under as I believe this will get out of hand early to the point Xavier will sit on the ball. Their offense has taken a drastic leap in production in comparison to last year’s squad, shooting up to as high as sixth in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency per Kenpom behind elite perimeter play at a blistering pace. One that mimics Alabama’s style of play as another fast paced three-point shooting unit.
What’s even more impressive is that Xavier actually connects on threes at a far better rate than the Crimson Tide. Xavier currently shoots 39% from the perimeter, forcing defenses to sacrifice paint protection to smother the perimeter as they are as lethal as it gets from the outside. This is a cause for concern for our under ticket as Georgetown is dead last in the Big East in perimeter defense and we need the threes to be scored at a moderate pace instead of it getting out of hand.
In fact, Georgetown is one of the worst defenses in basketball which is a major factor for such a high total against the high-powered Xavier offense. They currently rank 278th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom, giving up opposing points at a consistently high rate from deep and at the rim. They do oddly fare well at defending the mid-range, but that also could be a factor of it just being a poor shot selection.
As for Georgetown’s scoring ability, we can take a sigh of relief as that side of the ball has also been awful. They currently rank below average in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, sitting at 174th per Kenpom. We also benefit from their offensive scheme being friendly towards our under, basing their offense off of cuts to the middle and pulling up for mid-range looks. Not only is it a poor offensive scheme in the first place, but Xavier can sacrifice perimeter protection to guard one of their defensive weaknesses since Georgetown is not a perimeter threat.
Georgetown Vs. Xavier Key Matchups
Can Xavier’s backcourt put together a full defensive performance and limit Georgetown’s guards?
Xavier backcourt vs Primo Spears and Brandon Murray
If Xavier can put together a complete defensive performance, then they would be a serious title contender. It’s the sole reason they do not per Kenpom metrics, as their AdjD does not sit at lower than 112.
This is because of their guards inability to defend at a consistent rate, giving a lackluster performance over the course of the game. The same defensive issue that plagued them at the end of last season.
They will need to be locked in this time around as the majority of the Hoyas scoring production comes from their guards attacking the middle.
It won’t be pretty but take the under at no lower than 160 in a game that should only contain one sided scoring.