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The Northern Kentucky fan's guide to Xavier basketball

Curious about Xavier? Let me guide you through this.

Sure.
Sure.
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome, Norsepersons. You're probably at least a little bit familiar with the idea of Xavier basketball since we used to occasionally host you all for some exhibition action. We also briefly flirted with your best player in the transfer market, but we hope you won't hold that against us, especially in light of the fact that you first stole and then fired beloved ex-Muskie Dante Jackson. Anyway, all that really matters is what goes down when the ball goes up at the ludicrous hour of 8:45pm. Here's some info to get you started.

Xavier personnel

No. Name Yr. Pos. Ht. Wt. PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% Notes
STARTERS
4 Edmond Sumner Fr. G 6-6 183 13.3 3.0 2.0 .500 .500 .682 Could have 20 points, could have 6 TO, could do both
10 Remy Abell Sr. G 6-4 197 8.0 1.0 2.0 .381 .333 1.000 Best defender on the team; can score, but doesn't hunt shots
15 Myles Davis Jr. G 6-2 188 9.7 3.3 3.3 .304 .200 .929 Best shooter on the team, but off to a cold start; has old-man game
5 Trevon Bluiett So. G/F 6-6 208 14.3 7.3 2.0 .429 .500 .714 Scores at all three levels; has a nose for the ball
1 Jalen Reynolds Jr. F 6-10 238 10.3 8.7 1.3 .474 .000 .813 Absolute monster in the middle; prone to mental mistakes
RESERVES
Larry Austin Jr. So. G 6-2 179 2.0 0.3 0.3 .500 .000 .000 Will push on offense and work hard on defense
2 James Farr Sr. F/C 6-10 244 9.0 10.7 1.0 .440 .000 .833 Maybe the best rebounder in the nation right now
13 Makindé London Fr. F 6-10 220 0.0 1.0 0.0 .000 .000 .000 Struggling to get in the rotation; athletic but whip thin
22 Kaiser Gates Fr. F 6-8 217 4.0 4.0 0.0 .000 .000 .667 Stretch four; not afraid to shoot
54 Sean O'Mara So. F/C 6-10 247 0.0 0.5 0.0 .000 .000 .000 Back-to-the-basket big man; could be getting more minutes this week
55 J.P. Macura So. G 6-5 203 13.7 3.0 1.7 .458 .417 1.000 Always gives huge effort; has incredible offensive flair

Xavier strategy

Our offense has been a very four-around-one look so far this year, with a ball handler and three scorers of various stripes on the perimeter and one big man patrolling the lane. When things are going well, this leads to a lot of ball movement and off-ball action, which in turn leads to good shots. When it isn't, it looks like four confused guys watching one frustrated guy dribble. No matter what else is going down, Xavier flies to the offensive glass.

On defense, Coach Mack has doggedly continued as a man-to-man coach, but that's not the team's strongest look. A 1-3-1 half court zone takes advantage of Xavier's length and keeps the biggest rebounders closest to the basket. Coach Mack still calls it a curve ball look rather than a default set, but it is becoming more of a thing just about every game, and results have been hard to argue with.

Other things to consider

  • This is the first of four games Xavier will play this week, with the next three coming in Orlando at the AdvoCare Invitational. The rotation could be a little looser tonight than it has been.
  • Xavier has been posting good offensive efficiency despite having Myles Davis - the team's best shooter - staying relatively quiet as he tries to dial in his stroke. When he starts hitting, look out.
  • Cintas Center is one of the toughest home courts to come into and escape with a win. Good luck!