Carl Jones will be doing a lot of this tonight. - Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Xavier (4-1 in conference) looks to bounce back tonight at 6PM against St. Joseph's (1-3). Neutralizing the Hawks shot blockers will go a long way toward a Musketeers victory.
4-1 in the conference isn't a bad mark. Coming off the Charlotte game though, Xavier fans are feeling a bit of trepidation. The shooting disaster and 17 turnovers did very little to assure fans who have already suffered through losses to Wofford and Pacific. Those things, combined with the obligatory scoring drought, are all that stand between Xavier and sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10. But, with that all happening in the most recent game, the issues again loom large.
St. Joe's enters this game 1-3 in the conference and having slipped to 10-7 overall. Those numbers are a bit deceiving though, because the Hawks lost to Butler by six and VCU in overtime before falling to St. Bonaventure. While 1-3 isn't what Phil Martelli wanted to see at this point in conference play, it's not as if his team has been dumping games to URI and Fordham.
The Hawks have gotten to 10-7 and challenged three top 25 teams on the basis of a very efficient offense. The Hawks love to slow the pace (278th in the nation) and rely on their 108.3 offensive efficiency rating, good for 49th in nation, rather than a mediocre defense to win games. Offensively the Hawks are borderline elite in both effective fg% (51.3% good for 66th) and taking care of the ball (18.4 turnover %, good for 67th). While St. Joe is better at scoring inside the arc with a 51.7% field goal mark, they are 52nd in the nation with 32.8% of their points coming from deep. With the ability to do damage inside and out, the Hawks are difficult to defend.
On defense, though, they aren't as daunting. St. Joe's doesn't try to