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The Dayton fan's guide to Xavier basketball

Hello Dayton, my old friend.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We know each other. We may not personally know each other, you and I, but this is not a new encounter for Xavier and Dayton fans. Since Jimmy Carter was in office, Xavier has not lost to Dayton in Cincinnati. This game is not being played in Cincinnati, though, and it's not being played over the past 35 years. History is why you and I aren't going to be besties; the reasons we're not going to get along today are a lot more immediate.

Here's a little bit of background information on the current iteration of the Musketeers, just to get you started.

Xavier personnel

No. Name Yr. Pos. Ht. Wt. PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% Notes
4 Edmond Sumner Fr. G 6-6 183 11.0 2.7 2.8 .436 .385 .659 Very explosive attacking the basket; sometimes overdribbles looking for his shot
10 Remy Abell Sr. G 6-4 197 7.0 1.5 2.0 .333 .250 .824 Best defender on the team; can score, but doesn't hunt shots
15 Myles Davis Jr. G 6-2 188 9.8 3.5 2.3 .340 .308 .905 Best shooter on the team, but off to a cold start; has old-man game
5 Trevon Bluiett So. G/F 6-6 208 14.7 7.8 2.5 .425 .469 .733 Scores at all three levels; has a nose for the ball
1 Jalen Reynolds Jr. F 6-10 238 10.0 8.0 1.3 .455 .500 .731 Absolute monster in the middle; prone to mental mistakes
Larry Austin Jr. So. G 6-2 179 2.2 0.7 1.2 .556 .000 .750 Will push on offense and work hard on defense
2 James Farr Sr. F/C 6-10 244 9.7 9.3 0.5 .511 .000 .923 Probably the best rebounder in the nation right now
13 Makindé London Fr. F 6-10 220 1.4 1.6 0.2 .222 .200 .500 Athletic but whip thin; good shot blocker as help defender
22 Kaiser Gates Fr. F 6-8 217 2.3 2.0 0.0 .250 .167 .667 Stretch four; not afraid to shoot
54 Sean O'Mara So. F/C 6-10 247 1.8 0.8 0.0 .500 .000 .500 Back-to-the-basket big man; struggling to find his feet
55 J.P. Macura So. G 6-5 203 10.5 2.7 2.0 .436 .318 .917 Always gives huge effort; has incredible offensive flair

Xavier strategy

Xavier is really good at the parts of the offense that don't involve actually scoring the basketball. We are shooting a bit below average from deep and sincerely poorly from inside the arc. It's not a point of pride for us right now. Turnovers haven't been a strength or a weakness, but offensive rebounding has. James Farr and Jalen Reynolds are leading the way, but everyone is doing well on the offensive glass. That's leading to more free throws, which Xavier is making pretty well.

Defense is in flux right now. For years, Xavier has been a man team under Coach Mack, but now the 1-3-1 zone is becoming a bigger part of the defensive game. The man is really susceptible to dribble penetration and eventually openings for jumpers as the defense rotates. The 1-3-1 at least forces the opponent into taking the shots we know they're going to take, so I guess it's a step forward in that regard.

Other things to consider

  • This game should be on the schedule every year.
  • Xavier has traditionally been pretty poor on Thanksgiving tournaments, so this final is kind of new ground.
  • Three players have led the team in scoring, three have led the team in assists, and five have led the team in rebounds in just six games; X is deep and balanced.
  • National broadcasters have just found out that Bill Murray's son is on staff; have fun hearing that a million times.