Scouting reports: Villanova-Xavier and St. Joe's-George Mason

Scouting reports: Villanova-Xavier and St. Joe's-George Mason

A pair of City 6 schools are in action Tuesday night. Let's get you set for the matchups.

No. 3 Villanova (15-1, 3-1 Big East) vs. No. 15 Xavier (13-2, 3-0 Big East)
7 p.m. at the Pavilion on FOX Sports 1

Last time out
Villanova rebounded from its first loss since March 12, 2016, by beating Marquette, 93-81, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wildcats looked laser-focused after having their 20-game win streak halted by a 66-58 loss at then-No. 18 Butler on Wednesday. As a result, Villanova lost its No. 1 perch atop the country.

Xavier dispatched hapless St. John’s, 97-82, on Saturday for its sixth straight win following back-to-back defeats at the hands of undefeated Baylor and Colorado. The Musketeers also own wins over Providence and Georgetown, making them the only Big East team without a conference loss.

Scouting report
Villanova is a nightmare when connecting from long range like it did against Marquette. The Wildcats made 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) from beyond the arc as Kris Jenkins (6 for 9), Mikal Bridges (3 for 3) and Jalen Brunson (3 for 3) went a combined 12 for 15. Villanova shares it (14.6 assists) and takes care of it (10.7 turnovers) with a 1.36 assist-to-turnover ratio, second best in the Big East. Josh Hart is the leader with averages of 19.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, but many Wildcats can hurt you.

Xavier receives a massive boost in the return of guard Myles Davis, who sat out the first 15 games serving an indefinite suspension handed down by head coach Chris Mack. The senior from Plainfield, New Jersey averaged 10.8 points per game last season while making 64 three-pointers and leading the Musketeers with 4.1 assists per game. Xavier ranks first in the Big East with a plus-8.1 rebounding margin as its guards boast terrific size. Trevon Bluiett (6-foot-6), Edmond Sumner (6-foot-6) and J.P. Macura (6-foot-5) all average 14-plus points per game.

What it means
A win for Villanova would push the Wildcats into first place of the Big East and only help their résumé and RPI for NCAA Tournament seeding. 

A loss would be Villanova’s second in conference play after it lost only two league games all last season.

Series history
The Wildcats spanked the Musketeers at the Pavilion last season, 95-64. Xavier got its revenge in the second meeting when it knocked off top-ranked Villanova in Cincinnati, 90-83. The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 22-5.

What’s next?
Villanova takes on St. John’s Saturday for a noon tip-off at Madison Square Garden.

Things don’t get much easier for Xavier, which travels to No. 12 Butler on Saturday to take on the Bulldogs at 2 p.m.

St. Joe’s (8-6, 2-1 A-10) vs. George Mason (11-5, 1-2 A-10)
7 p.m. at Hagan Arena on TCN

Last time out
St. Joe’s made easy work of Fordham, 70-55, on Saturday in New York to alleviate the sting of its 30-point loss to Rhode Island four days prior.

George Mason fell at St. Bonaventure, 82-72, on Saturday, dropping to 1-2 in the Atlantic 10 after going 10-3 in the nonconference.

Scouting report
The Hawks continue their push forward without Shavar Newkirk, a junior guard who was averaging 20.3 points per game before tearing his ACL, ending his 2016-17 season 12 games into the schedule. St. Joe’s does have James Demery back. The 6-foot-6 forward scored a career-high 27 points in the win over Fordham, his third game back since being out after injuring his left foot in the season opener. Demery averages 16 points per game, while sophomore Lamarr Kimble (14.1) and freshman Charlie Brown (10.2) follow suit.

The Patriots, who have already equaled their win total from last season, are led by first-year head coach Dave Paulsen, who came to George Mason from Bucknell, where he was a three-time Patriot League Coach of the Year. Marquise Moore does it all for the Patriots as the 6-foot-2 senior guard remarkably averages a double-double in points (18.0) and rebounds (10.6). He also leads George Mason with 3.6 assists per game. The Patriots don’t shoot the ball particularly well as they’ve made just 88 threes, second to last in the Atlantic 10 ahead of only the Hawks at 82.

What it means
A win for St. Joe’s would give it a 3-1 mark in conference play, a real positive considering the Hawks went into their second A-10 game knowing they’d be without their leading scorer the rest of the season.

A loss would drop St. Joe’s to .500 in league competition ahead of a tough matchup against Richmond, currently 9-6 and 3-0 in the Atlantic 10.

Series history
George Mason has never beaten the Hawks, who lead the all-time series, 4-0.

What’s next?
St. Joe’s welcomes Richmond on Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. tip-off on NBCSN.

George Mason hosts Saint Louis on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., a game also on NBCSN.

Georgetown fires John Thompson III after another losing year

Georgetown fires John Thompson III after another losing year

WASHINGTON -- John Thompson III was fired as Georgetown's basketball coach Thursday after two consecutive losing seasons at the school his father led to a national championship.

Thompson said in a statement released by agent David Falk that he was "honored" to have been the Hoyas' coach and proud of what his players have "accomplished on the court and how they are thriving since leaving Georgetown."

"Georgetown Basketball has been a part of my life since 1972," Thompson's statement said, referring to the year his father took over as the Hoyas' coach, "which makes this moment even more impactful, but I look forward to my next chapter."

School president John DeGioia told Thompson on Thursday he would not be brought back next year at a basketball program strongly associated with his last name.

"Our tradition of excellence as a university will forever be inextricably linked with John and his family," DeGioia said in a statement. "We are committed to taking the necessary steps to strengthen our program and maintaining the highest levels of academic integrity and national competitiveness."

Thompson, known as "JT3," was Georgetown's head coach for 13 seasons, including a run to the Final Four in 2007 with future NBA players Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert on the roster. But he went a combined 29-36 the past two years, with some of those defeats punctuated by crowd chants of "Fire Thompson!"

What had once been unimaginable -- a Thompson being sent away from Georgetown -- became a topic of conversation among the team's fans as the losses mounted. When the subject was broached with Thompson after a defeat against defending national champion Villanova, a team spokesman jumped in to say: "Leave it to game-related questions, please."

The Hoyas' 14-18 record this season included six losses in a row to finish and marked the team's worst winning percentage since the 1950s. They went 15-18 a year ago, losing seven of their last eight games.

"We're not going to keep rehashing last year," Thompson said before the start of this season. "A lot of introspection where you just stop and, from top to bottom, look at everything: How you do things, how you approach things, how we should change things, how you should alter things. ... We have to make some changes on how things were done, and we have. We're in the process of doing it."

Not quickly enough, apparently.

Thompson's record was 278-151 at Georgetown, with eight trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Since that lone Final Four appearance a decade ago, the Hoyas had several missteps at the Big Dance, going 3-6 and never winning more than one game in any single bracket. There were plenty of memorable exits against low-seeded opponents such as Florida Gulf Coast and Ohio.

His father, John Thompson Jr., led the Hoyas to 20 trips to the NCAAs, three Final Fours and a national title in 1984 with Patrick Ewing at center while coaching the team from 1972-99. "Big John," as many call him, has been a visible and vocal presence at Georgetown's games during his son's tenure, often sitting in on news conferences and interjecting his thoughts from the back of the room.

Georgetown's new on-campus practice facility, which was opened with a dedication ceremony in October, is named after the older Thompson.

NCAA Tournament Wrap: South Carolina upsets Duke; Michigan stuns Louisville

NCAA Tournament Wrap: South Carolina upsets Duke; Michigan stuns Louisville

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Sindarius Thornwell had 24 points, Chris Silva scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and seventh-seeded South Carolina stunned No. 2 seed Duke 88-81 on Sunday night to advance to its first Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament's expanded bracket.

The Gamecocks (24-10) trailed by 10 points early in the second half after one of its coldest shooting stretches of the season to start. But behind Thornwell's outside shooting and Silva's dominance underneath, South Carolina rallied to win two NCAA games for the first time in 44 years.

The Gamecocks rushed to their fans when things were over, celebrating one of the biggest wins in program history.

Next up is the East Regional at Madison Square Garden where the Gamecocks will face third-seeded Baylor, an 82-78 winner over Southern Cal earlier Sunday.

Duke (28-9) was attempting to reach the round of 16 for the sixth time in eight seasons. The Blue Devils, though, could not surmount South Carolina's stifling defense. Leading scorer Luke Kennard had his second straight subpar shooting game, finishing 1 of 6 for 11 points before fouling out (see full recap).

Wagner's big game sends Michigan past Louisville in NCAAs
INDIANAPOLIS -- Moe Wagner scored a career-high 26 points and spurred a furious second-half rally to send Michigan past second-seeded Louisville 73-69 on Sunday and into the Sweet 16.

The seventh-seeded Wolverines (26-11) have won seven straight -- six since a frightening plane accident before the Big Ten Tournament. They also earned a ticket to the Midwest Regional in Kansas City, Missouri, their first since 2014.

Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points and Deng Adel had 16 points to lead Louisville (25-9), which had made the Sweet 16 in its last four NCAA Tournament appearances.

But Wagner bailed out the Wolverines from a poor game.

Trailing 45-36 with 16:09 to play, the German native scored on a layup to start a 17-6 run that gave Michigan its first lead since the opening minutes. And after Wagner's 3-pointer broke a 55-55 tie with 6:39 to go, the Wolverines led the rest of the way (see full recap).

Ball helps UCLA past Cincinnati to earn Sweet 16 trip
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Lonzo Ball scored 19 points and ignited UCLA's rally from a poor start with nine assists, lifting the third-seeded Bruins to a 79-67 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday in the South Regional.

UCLA (31-4) had a hard time solving sixth-seeded Cincinnati's active defense in the first half, unable to get shots to drop or get out in transition. The Bruins found a new gear in the second half, breaking out for dunks and dropping in strings of 3-pointers to quickly push the lead to double digits.

Now UCLA is headed to its third Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons under coach Steve Alford, erasing -- at least in part -- the 15-17 letdown of a year ago.

The Bruins will face No. 2 seed Kentucky in the South Regional semifinals Friday in Memphis.

Cincinnati (30-6) had no real answer when the Bruins got rolling falling short of their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2012 (see full recap).

UNC survives close scare from Arkansas
After blowing a 17-point lead, No. 1 seed North Carolina came from behind in the second half to beat Arkansas 72-65 and advance to the NCAA South Region semifinals. North Carolina next faces Butler.

The ACC had nine teams invited to the NCAA Tournament, but seven of them already have lost. The ACC still could get a second team into the Sweet 16, as Duke faces South Carolina later tonight.

North Carolina also avoided becoming the second No. 1 seed to exit this tournament. Defending national champion Villanova, the No. 1 seed in the East Region, lost to Wisconsin on Saturday (see full recap).

Josh Jackson heats up in second half to lift Kansas over Michigan State
TULSA, Okla. -- Josh Jackson scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half to help Kansas pull away late and reach the Sweet 16 for a second straight year with a 90-70 victory over Michigan State on Sunday.

Frank Mason III added 20 points for the top-seeded Jayhawks (30-4), who have advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in nine of coach Bill Self's 14 seasons.

Devonte' Graham added 18 points and Landen Lucas had 10 for the Jayhawks, who shot 53.1 percent (34 of 64) in the win.

Miles Bridges scored 22 points to lead Michigan State (20-15) despite leaving briefly in the first half with an injury. Nick Ward also finished in double figures with 13 points and Joshua Langford had 10 for the Spartans (see full recap).

Kentucky edges out Wichita State with block at the buzzer
INDIANAPOLIS -- Bam Adebayo had a double-double and swatted away the final shot on Sunday as Kentucky sent Wichita State to yet another second-round heartbreak, 65-62 in the South region.

The youngest team in the NCAA Tournament grew up in the closing minutes.

Adebayo had 13 points and 10 rebounds. De'Aaron Fox had 14 points, including a late steal and dunk. Malik Monk blocked a shot and made a pair of free throws in the final 13 seconds. Adebayo clinched it by blocking Landry Shamet's 3-pointer shot at the buzzer.

Yes, Kentucky's freshman trio did it all.

Wham, Bam, move on `Cats (31-5), right into the Sweet 16 for the seventh time in nine years (see full recap).