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The case for Big Game James

Someone has to come off the bench for Xavier. Here's why it shouldn't be James Farr.

Point four: he looks so happy.
Point four: he looks so happy.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

I observed earlier this week that Xavier has six guys who have a pretty solid case for making the starting five. Once you all checked the math on that, a discussion broke out about who should be the odd man out. I figured that would happen; what surprised me was that two of Xavier's most senior team members were the ones on the short end of the stick.

The first idea that came out were that Xavier should go small, pushing Trevon to the four and James Farr to the bench. The other was that X should start Trevon at the three, sacrificing a guard to get two bigs on the floor. The guard people usually chose to bench was Myles. Here is why James should start:

He makes Xavier a dominant rebounding team

James didn't play quite enough minutes to qualify for the leaderboard in defensive rebounding percentage; if he had, he would have been third. He's a statistically similar offensive rebounder to Jalen; the two of them on the floor at the same time would crush the glass.

Dee Davis kept shooting

What? Yeah. Dee was dreadful in the early and middle going of last year, but Coach Mack kept telling the media that Dee was shooting well in practice and thus would continue to have the green light during games. He repaid Coach Mack and the fans down the stretch, carrying X past UC and providing a much-needed deep threat. If Coach Mack keeps letting James shoot, it may end up paying out for the Muskies.

He's playing the 1-3-1 anyway

Where's James's man? Doesn't matter, he'll be hanging out protecting the rim and ripping down boards. That zone may well be Xavier's best defense this year, and Farr is custom-built to anchor the middle of it.