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The USC fan's guide to Xavier basketball

Need to know who your team is playing on a short turnaround? This is your quick reference.

"Shoot from that specific spot." "How about just anywhere out there?"
"Shoot from that specific spot." "How about just anywhere out there?"
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, USC fans. I'll be honest, most of the week I was looking ahead to a potential matchup against Wichita State here. No matter though; your guys took care of business, and now we're here playing one another for a chance to play for the illustrious AdvoCare Invitational championship.

Do you know much about Xavier basketball this year? 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 13.0 3.5 2.3 .483 .444 .667 Dynamic young PG learning on the job. Explosive to the rim, but falls in love with the dribble sometimes.
10 Remy Abell Sr. G 6-4 197 9.0 1.0 2.3 .423 .286 .909 Best defender on the team; can score, but doesn't hunt shots
15 Myles Davis Jr. G 6-2 188 10.3 3.0 2.5 .344 .267 .938 Best shooter on the team, and is warming up after a cold start; has old-man game. The team's emotional leader.
5 Trevon Bluiett So. G/F 6-6 208 14.3 9.5 2.8 .400 .476 .778 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 .429 .500 .773 Absolute monster in the middle; prone to mental mistakes
RESERVES
0 Larry Austin Jr. So. G 6-2 179 2.0 0.8 0.5 .571 .000 .000 Will push on offense and work hard on defense; better at ball security than Sumner.
2 James Farr Sr. F/C 6-10 244 10.0 10.8 0.8 .469 .000 .909 Maybe the best rebounder in the nation right now
13 Makindé London Fr. F 6-10 220 0.0 0.7 0.0 .000 .000 .000 Struggling to get in the rotation; athletic but whip thin
22 Kaiser Gates Fr. F 6-8 217 2.0 2.5 0.0 .000 .000 .667 Stretch four; not afraid to shoot
54 Sean O'Mara So. F/C 6-10 247 0.0 0.3 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 10.8 2.0 1.8 .407 .357 .859 Always gives huge effort; Pistol Pete game. Sneakily our best offensive player.

Xavier strategy

The first thing you need to know is that Xavier flies to the offensive glass. Reynolds, Farr, and Macura are all perennially in there, and Trevon Bluiett can find spaces when he's so inclined. Xavier's entire offense inside the arc has been based on stickbacks right now. When Macura comes off the bench, the whole tenor of the attack changes.

On defense, Xavier plays a man and a 1-3-1, both of which have the same problem: three-point defense. X has spent the entire Chris Mack era giving up way too many threes, and this year has been no different. Xavier has been forcing turnovers pretty well and dominating the glass; if they're going to be beaten, it's going to be from beyond the arc.

Other things to consider

  • Xavier usually sucks on Thanksgiving. The win over Alabama was a pleasant surprise.
  • We have seven guys who have gone for double figures this year. This team is deep in scoring threats.
  • Xavier has a troubling tendency to start games really slowly; how that will play out in our second game in 26.5 hours is anyone's guess.
  • Coach Mack got the bottom of the bench into play against Alabama, which kept some miles off the odometers of the main members of the rotation.