Coming off a big upset over then-No. 4 Villanova and an overtime victory against Marquette last week, the Georgetown Hoyas will go for their fifth consecutive win against the Xavier Musketeers at home on Tuesday, Jan. 27. The two squads faced off on the first day of conference play back on New Year's Eve, with the Musketeers picking up a 70-53 victory at home. With that in mind, here's three storylines to watch:
1. Goliath takes on Goliath
In perhaps the most interesting matchup of the night, the Georgetown's Joshua Smith (6'10", 350 lbs.) and Xavier's Matt Stainbrook (6'10", 263 lbs.) will butt heads down low as each team attempts to control the paint on both ends of the floor. Stainbrook has famously lost as much as 40 pounds over the last few seasons, but while he may not be able to fight Smith with density, he's playing his strongest basketball as of late, dropping at least 17 points in four of Xavier's last five games. Smith is coming off of a dominant 18 point-15 rebound double-double against Marquette, so it's going to be a blast to watch the (possibly) two best centers in the Big East go to work.
2. Can Isaac Copeland keep riding his hot streak?
Copeland received some nice recognition from the Big East this week, earning Rookie of the Week honors after back-to-back 17-point outings against Villanova and Marquette. Before those two games last week, Copeland hit the game-winner against Butler, and he's certainly beginning to demand more respect from opposing defenses with some brilliant bench performances. While he's averaging only 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game on the year, Copeland has skyrocketed in his last three games, boosting his averages to 14.6 points and six rebounds per game during that stretch. He's a huge part of the Hoyas' depth, and they're tough to beat when he's this dominant off the bench.
3. Which Trevon Bluiett will show up?
Bluiett entered this season as one of the top freshman to watch in the Big East, but he's struggled a bit with consistency since the start of conference play. In eight conference games, Bluiett has scored in double digits in just three of them, and for what it's worth, two of those were against DePaul. Granted, he's coming off of a 21-point performance against the Blue Demons in which he shot 8-10 from the field, but in the four games before that, he'd averaged just seven points per contest on 30 percent shooting. He's young, and is certainly showing flashes of what will most certainly be a great career with the Musketeers, but for now, it'll be interesting to see how much can assert himself into this game after breaking out of a cold streak last week.