Game Preview: Xavier Heads to Athens to Face Georgia in First Round of NIT

On Tuesday evening, the Xavier Musketeers start their post season play heading to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs in the first round of the 2024 NIT.


The Musketeers (16-17) won the 2022 NIT with a victory over Texas A&M at Madison Square Garden before last season's run to the 2023 Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Xavier advanced to the second round of the 2024 Big East Tournament before losing to the UCONN Huskies 87-60.


On the other side, the Georgia Bulldogs are a team with a similar story to the Musketeers. Georgia had a 17-16 overall record losing to the Florida Gators in the SEC tournament. This is Georgia's first time playing in the Postseason since the 2016-17 season where they lost to Belmont in the 2017 NIT.


Georgia is led in scoring by guard Noah Thomasson. The 6-3 senior guard averages 12.8 PPG for the Bulldogs and is a former All-MAAC player from his time at Niagra. 


Georgia has also dealt with the injury of guard Jabri Abdur-Rahim, who they haven't ruled out of playing vs Xavier but also hasn't played since the final regular season game vs Texas A&M. Look for Georgia to rely on players such as Blue Cain and Silas Demary Jr to help try and pick up the victory over Xavier.


For Xavier, grad transfer Quincy Olivari gets the opportunity to continue his only season with the Musketeers and also play in his home state. As an Atlanta native, there is certainly excitement for this opportunity. Olivari also goes into the game vs Georgia just one three-point field goal away from Trevon Bluiett's single season record of 105 made. 

How Xavier uses their big men will be an interesting dynamic as we've seen Lazar Djokovic take on big minutes of late as well as Kachi Nzeh's recent boost in playing time. Xavier should have a fun backcourt matchup with Georgia's Guards through the game.

Georgia is currently favored to win the game, but the spread is just 1.5 with an over/under of 152.5 and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN.


The Winner of this game will advance to face the winner of the Wake Forest vs Appalachin State matchup.


**Photo credit to Bob Stevens



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