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The Wake Forest fan's guide to Xavier basketball

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This is us.
This is us.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Wake Forest fans! I know and like one or two of you, so I'm assuming they are a representative sample of the Wake fanbase as a whole. We like to give out a few hundred words as kind of a crash course on Musketeer basketball for those of you who have been busy with your own season and not following along with Xavier's. Let's get started here.

Xavier personnel

NO. NAME YR. POS. HT. WT. PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% NOTES
STARTERS
4 Edmond Sumner Fr. G 6-6 183 10.8 2.9 3.5 .440 .400 .683 Very explosive attacking the basket. Draws fouls like nobody's business. Still growing into his game. Will dunk on your center if the opportunity arises.
10 Remy Abell Sr. G 6-4 197 6.9 1.6 2.3 .367 .321 .852 At his most effective when he lets open shots come to him. Doesn't need to score much to help the team. Very good on-ball defender.
15 Myles Davis Jr. G 6-2 188 11.1 3.3 3.0 .427 .396 .931 Can bring the ball up under pressure. Best shooter on the team and their emotional leader.
5 Trevon Bluiett So. G/F 6-6 208 14.5 7.5 2.0 .435 .452 .719 Versatile scorer who can get a lot of baskets without forcing his way into the game. Great at using one dribble to set his feet and make space for his jumper. Has worked hard to improve defense and rebounding.
1 Jalen Reynolds Jr. F 6-10 238 10.8 6.5 0.8 .517 .500 .700 Has the skills to go for 18 and 12 at any point in time, but has trouble getting out of his own way. Disruptive defensive force in the middle of the 1-3-1 zone.
RESERVES
Larry Austin Jr. So. G 6-2 179 1.6 1.2 1.1 .353 .000 .600 Has some turnover issues to work through. The less he tries to score, the more effective he becomes.
2 James Farr Sr. F/C 6-10 244 10.2 8.6 0.5 .556 .000 .759 The best rebounder in college basketball. Loves working onto his left hand in the post. Good rim protector.
13 Makindé London Fr. F 6-10 220 1.6 1.4 0.7 .286 .333 .500 Athletic but whip thin. Good shot blocker as help defender.
22 Kaiser Gates Fr. F 6-8 217 2.3 2.4 0.1 .286 .222 .727 Stretch four. Not afraid to shoot. Very active on defense.
54 Sean O'Mara So. F/C 6-10 247 3.7 2.3 0.3 .571 .000 .619 Back-to-the-basket big man. Plays below the rim but with exceptional feel. Bully on the defensive glass.
55 J.P. Macura So. G 6-5 203 9.5 2.7 2.4 .457 .313 .775 Always gives huge effort. Supremely confident. Not afraid to tell opponents about the good work he just did. Sneakily maybe the team's best distributer.

Xavier strategy

The Musketeers' offense is predicated on a couple of things. The first is rapid ball movement. Xavier can work off of a couple of guys who can dribble penetrate or on ballscreen action, but they're at their best when they move the ball quickly - both around the perimeter and through the post - and work off of that with off ball motion. The other is offensive rebounding. Xavier is excellent on this front as a team, but big men James Farr and Jalen Reynolds really do yeoman's work in turning misses into second chances and second chances into points.

Defensively, Xavier really works to restrict the paint. If your goal is to score inside or get offensive boards, Xavier's goal is to make that really difficult for you. They run a man and a 1-3-1 zone, the second of which is more effective in forcing turnovers. No matter what defense Xavier is in, their philosophy is going to lead to a lot of three-point attempts for other teams. How those break is generally a pretty big factor in the outcome of any given Xavier game.

Other things to consider

  • Our program obviously holds Skip Prosser in incredibly high regard. He was one of the early coaches in a long line of successful hires that got Xavier from mid-major to the Big East.
  • The Muskies are highly ranked and undefeated, and we'd really like to go into conference play with both of those still true.
  • This will be Xavier's fifth game away from home but just their second true road game. The first was a convincing demolition of Michigan back in mid-November.
  • More than a quarter of Xavier's points come from the line; this team plays in attack mode or maybe has been the beneficiary of home cooking. Take your pick.
  • Please take the time to vote in the most important snack nomenclature-related poll in Twitter history: