I have a confession to make, Wright State fans: we're looking past you. I'm sure the team isn't, but those of us who cheer for them are. You see, this weekend is the biggest non-conference rivalry in any sport. Xavier will host Cincinnati in the Crosstown Shootout, a game between true programs just steeped in sincere dislike for one another. This year it will also be a battle between to ranked teams. So you'll have to forgive us if the Raiders are flying beneath the radar this morning.
While the fan base thinks about bigger fish to potentially fry, the teams will be getting down to the business of contesting this game. Here's some of the information your players might be taking in about Xavier:
|4||Edmond Sumner||Fr.||G||6-6||183||11.5||2.8||3.1||.462||.412||.685||Very explosive attacking the basket. Draws fouls like nobody's business. Still growing into his game.|
|10||Remy Abell||Sr.||G||6-4||197||6.9||1.5||2.0||.354||.263||.842||Starting to look like the odd man out on a team loaded with offensive weapons. Needs to start looking for his shot to find a rhythm.|
|15||Myles Davis||Jr.||G||6-2||188||10.9||3.4||2.9||.406||.371||.917||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||15.1||7.8||2.3||.452||.444||.654||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.|
|1||Jalen Reynolds||Jr.||F||6-10||238||10.4||7.0||1.1||.492||.500||.733||Absolute monster in the middle. He hates the refs and the refs hate him. Can take over a game, but sometimes plays to the competition.|
|Larry Austin Jr.||So.||G||6-2||179||1.6||0.8||1.1||.500||.000||.750||Will push on offense and work hard on defense. Has some turnover issues to work through.|
|2||James Farr||Sr.||F/C||6-10||244||10.5||8.5||0.4||.540||.000||.800||The best rebounder in college basketball. Loves working onto his left hand in the post.|
|13||Makindé London||Fr.||F||6-10||220||1.1||1.6||0.7||.182||.167||.500||Athletic but whip thin. Good shot blocker as help defender.|
|22||Kaiser Gates||Fr.||F||6-8||217||2.5||2.0||0.0||.300||.250||.700||Stretch four. Not afraid to shoot. Very active on defense.|
|54||Sean O'Mara||So.||F/C||6-10||247||2.6||2.1||0.0||.545||.000||.500||Back-to-the-basket big man. Sometimes gets overanxious on the offensive end. Bully on the defensive glass.|
|55||J.P. Macura||So.||G||6-5||203||10.4||2.6||2.3||.471||.320||.818||Always gives huge effort. Supremely confident. Not afraid to tell opponents about the good work he just did.|
I saw that your boys can shoot the ball a little bit from behind the arc, so you'll be delighted to know that three-point defense is an ongoing weakness for Xavier. This team will play a man and a 1-3-1 zone, but both styles will yield their share of clean looks from deep. It will be on Wright State to make those, because Xavier excels at forcing turnovers and is also elite at killing possessions with defensive rebounds.
On the other end, Xavier has six or seven guys who can go get you a bucket from somewhere on the floor. Freshman point Ed Sumner slides into defenses like a man half a foot shorter, Trevon Bluiett and Myles Davis are both knock down shooters from deep, and James Farr and Jalen Reynolds will score on the post or on offensive boards. Bench spark plug JP Macura just makes things happen when he's on the floor; he's a joy to watch as long as he's on your team.
Other things to consider:
- Xavier looked past a lackluster NKU team at home earlier and were roundly pilloried by Coach Mack for sleepwalking through a win. They seemed to have learned their lesson, judging by how they took it to WKU last weekend.
- The Cintas Center is one of the loudest arenas in basketball and also one of the toughest for a road team to take a win in.
- Even if the fan base is looking past this game, Xavier has enough veteran leaders to keep the team locked in for 40 minutes (probably).