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Xavier v. Butler: Big East Tournament Live Chat

Here we go. Xavier should be good for the tournament, but a win here makes it a sure thing.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier Musketeers (19-12, 9-9)
Butler Bulldogs (22-9, 12-6)

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First Meeting: Butler 88-76 Xavier

Second Meeting: Xavier 73-56 Butler

Three keys:

-Feed the post. Xavier is 38th in the nation in effective height; Butler is 185th. Xavier is first in the conference in 2P% offense; Butler is 6th in 2P% defense. The Muskies have waves of very big men; Butler's interior chops get very sketchy after Kameron Woods. There is an advantage to be had if Xavier can consistently force the issue inside.

-Use the zone. Butler is a good three-point shooting team, but they don't shoot a whole lot of them. They are 10th in the Big East in 3PA/FGA. They're also 10th in the league in assist rate, which indicates that they don't move the ball as much as they give it to someone who finds his own shot. Going into a 1-3-1 for stretches can cut down penetration, put pressure on moving the ball, and force them out of their offensive comfort zone.

-Put together a cohesive 40 minutes. That has been a problem for X all year. They were down just 1 at Butler in the last ten minutes before falling apart down the stretch. The stakes haven't gotten any lower since then, and everyone has more miles on the ol' odometer. On the other hand, they also have more experience. Xavier is probably in no matter what, but a win here would take them all the way off the bubble. They can get that done if they lock in all game tonight.