Conference championship droughts
With a win Friday, Georgetown would make its first Big East Championship appearance in six years. The last time the Hoyas were a top two seed in the conference tournament was in 2013, when they lost to eventual Final Four participant Syracuse in the semifinals. Xavier has played in just one Big East Tournament since moving from the Atlantic 10 just one year ago. The Musketeers made the semifinals last year as well, only to lose to second-seeded Creighton. Even dating back to the A-10, Xavier has made just one conference championship appearance since 2006. Neither team has displayed great success in conference tournaments of late, but something must give Friday.
Winning in crunch time
Both Georgetown and Xavier seem to have mastered the art of closing games out. In the Hoyas' case, they trailed Creighton by six points with less than six minutes to go in the quarterfinals. It then became the D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera show as he scored 11 of Georgetown's final 14 points en route to a 60-55 quarterfinal victory. In their final regular season game against Seton Hall, once again, the Hoyas closed the door with a two-possession lead and less than a minute to go. But Georgetown will have to compete with the Xavier's finishing ability. After trailing much of the second half to Butler in Thursday's quarterfinals, the Musketeers were able to bounce back and push the game to overtime. In the extra time, four Xavier players managed to score a combined 14 points to knock out the third-seeded Bulldogs. Dee Davis proved he had ice in his veins in Xavier's final regular season game versus Creighton. Trailing by one with four seconds left, Davis drew the foul and hit two free throws to give the Musketeers the one-point win. With such late-game composure, fans would be in for a treat if this semifinal matchup comes down-to-the-wire.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera on fire
When he's on, he's on. And right now, he's just that. Over the past four games this Big East Player of the Year nominee has been lighting up opponent after opponent. In that span, he has shot 48 percent from the field, hit 16-of-31 (51.6 percent) from three, and averaged 22 points per game. The 6-foot-3 guard has made his presence felt on the glass as well, averaging six rebounds per game over that stretch. Most importantly, he has also been the closer for Georgetown. When he is not setting up to take a shot with the clock winding down, he is icing the game away at the charity stripe and has now sunk his last fourteen free throws. He is Georgetown's court general and will need to lead his troop once again if the Hoyas are to make their first Big East Championship appearance in six years.