Ware is a senior that can score a little bit but is more the type of player who will hurt you with big threes at inopportune times. He's not too flashy, but more of a solid player who just gets the job done. Defensively, he will be a huge key. The Bulldogs will need him to slow down one of Xavier's talented backcourt members and neither player will be an easy matchup for him. Holloway is coming off a game where he struggled mightily. Xavier could use a bounce back game from him. Keep an eye on the play of the Muskies' point guard early. He didn't score his first bucket until the 11:00 mark of the second half against Miami, and was extremely casual in the first half.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Robinson is the second leading scorer for the Bulldogs at 11.4 points per game, and he's one of the few guys with significant experience. He's a great penetrator and has really done a good job of setting up his teammates as well. He leads the team with 4.4 assists per game so far. Robinson is a playmaker that can make things happen for both himself and those around him. Lyons has been on a tear to start the season. He led the team against Miami with 18 points and has been shooting a much higher percentage from beyond the arc. He has also limited his turnovers to start the year.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Dez Wells Fr (6-4, 215) vs Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Fr (6-4, 190)
This matchup will feature two extremely talented freshman players going at it, and both have been important to their respective team's success so far. Caldwell-Pope was a McDonald's All-American and can absolutely stroke it. He's played more minutes than anyone else on the team so far and has also been their leading scorer at 13.2 points per game. He can shoot it, he's aggressive and he rebounds. Dez Wells is off to a great start for Xavier. The freshman wing has already made the decibels rise in the Cintas a few different times with his spectacular dunks. This will be a chance for each of these young studs to prove themselves. Whoever wins this battle on the defensive end will likely have the last laugh, though Caldwell-Pope has to score for Georgia, while Xavier doesn't rely on Wells quite as heavily for offense.
Slight Edge Georgia
Thornton has started four of the five games so far this year in his sophomore campaign. He has struggled to put the ball in the basket in a big way, making just 25.8 percent of his shots from the field. He is a strong, athletic four who can certainly carve out some space and rebound (6.8 RPG). Xavier will likely start senior Andre Walker who has been one of the biggest surprises for Xavier to start the season. He won't wow you with his stat-line, but he flat out makes things happen for the team and is able to provide help in so many areas. Neither of these teams have rebounded particularly well to start the season so that will be a key to look at in these frontcourt matchups.
Slight Edge Xavier
Williams has played a lot of minutes to start his sophomore season and is still learning, but has steadily improved. He's long, can score around the basket well (7.8 PPG) and blocks a lot of shots. He does a pretty good job of rebounding as well (6.4 RPG). Xavier will counter with Kenny Frease who is looking for a breakout game and this may be the night. Georgia doesn't have an ideal matchup for him if he brings his "A" game in the post. Williams is giving up a lot of size, and Georgia's 7-footer John Florveus isn't strong enough or ready to guard Frease. Staying out of foul trouble is always key for Xavier's big man, and this game will be no different, but if he does don't be surprised to see him have his first big game of the year.
Slight Edge Xavier
Xavier's Bench vs Georgia's Bench
Both of these teams have depth. Xavier has been playing 10 different guys, while Georgia has been playing nine consistently. One guy who has made a big impact off the bench for Georgia has been Nemanja Djurisic, a 6-8 big man that likes to face up and has a high skill-level and IQ. He's averaging 9.0 points per game, good for third on the team. John Florveus is a junior big man who will certainly see some time against Frease, as he gives Georgia some more size at 7-feet tall. Xavier is still trying to get consistent production from all of their bigs. Travis Taylor played well against Miami, but Jeff Robinson only saw four minutes. The first two games, it was Robinson playing well and Taylor struggling. If they can get both going it will help a lot to go along with Walker. Dee Davis has been providing solid minutes off the bench, while backing up at the point and Justin Martin has really come on as well and improved his effort.
Overall: Xavier vs Georgia
Georgia currently sits at 4-1 and most recently beat Notre Dame after bouncing back in the CBE Classic earlier this week following a loss to California. The Bulldogs only return two players with any experience and are still figuring out who they are as a team and who they can rely on. The key for Xavier will be to take control of the game early and get Georgia out of their comfort zone right away. The longer this young team of talented shooters stay in the game, the more confidence they gain and the harder it is to beat them. Xavier obviously has the better guards and more talent, but this Georgia team is on the rise and looking to knock off some big names.
Final Score Prediction: Xavier 75 Georgia 66