The No. 25 Georgetown Hoyas were roped into a fight with the Xavier Musketeers on New Year's Eve, and the Hoyas couldn't come out unscathed, being dealt serious blows on their way to a 70-53 loss in Cincinnati.
As a ranked team, Georgetown loss's against Xavier Musketeers was not a good performance for them. But going in, everyone knew that this would be a grind it out type of matchup because that is what Big East play is all about. Nothing comes easy in this league, and Xavier worked for a lot of the points they scored and did a lot more dirty work than many people expected. Coming into this game, Georgetown was the team I picked to win because I thought they were a better team. As they say, "that's why you play the games."
There are a lot of things that we learned from this matchup from both teams, but here are three that stuck out:
1. Georgetown needs Joshua Smith to stay out of foul trouble
Georgetown's big man Joshua Smith was pretty ineffective in the first game of conference against Matt Stainbrook, who conversely couldn't get it going either. Both men were neutralized, but the one thing that is getting Smith caught up is the small fouls that he makes in the game that hurts the team later on because Georgetown's offense is much more effective when he is on the floor. The Hoyas use him a lot, and when he does not score during their possessions, he still draws a presence for other teams to trap him. On one play in particular, Xavier had three people on him and he got fouled. When this is not happening, the offense just goes cold because he is so important. A lot of the key players got in foul trouble for this team and it really hurt them, but Smith's ineffectiveness stood out the most.
2. Hustle plays are important
Watching the game, Georgetown looked like they just got outhustled by Xavier, and that is probably something that John Thompson III will pay attention to when watching film. Even though his team did get four offensive rebounds on one play, which is quite impressive for a team that does not rebound the ball well on a consistent basis. From my observations, some of the players looked really out of it and did not bring the effort they usually bring. Xavier really outhustled them and got a lot of loose balls. Georgetown did not put a body on anybody at times and did not go the extra mile to hustle towards the basketball.
3. Georgetown's up-tempo offense did not go anywhere
For a team that is 17th in the nation in pace and that likes to run a lot, that was not the case for this team on Wednesday night. They were more of a half-court set team that wanted to get Joshua Smith the ball early in the game. Xavier did a good job defensively at not allowing a lot of middle penetration from L.J. Peak, Aaron Bowen, and others who like to drive the ball because that is one area when the team is at this best. What it showed me is when this team does not get a lot of transition baskets, the offense does not look good. Georgetown will need to find a way to get out in open court and also play good in half-court sets. They cannot let one part of their game affect the entirety of it because they are a much better team than that. Also, credit is given to the Xavier defense because they ran press at times, and zone, which is what teams will start to play against this team because they are so versatile.