clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NCAA first round: Xavier v. Ole Miss live chat, TV listings, keys to the game

New, 59 comments
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

#6 Xavier Musketeers (21-13)

v.
#11 Ole Miss Rebels (21-12)

Three questions:
-How healthy is JP Macura? This is going to be huge on both ends of the floor for the Muskies. If Macura can go, Xavier can run that 1-3-1 against Ole Miss's offense, which isn't going to burn it from beyond the arc. On the other end, Ole Miss basically concedes the arc on defense (as we saw against BYU in favor of choking off the paint), which also sets up nicely for JP. Xavier could really use a healthy JP in this game.

-Who guards Stefan Moody? At 5'10", 179, Moody seems like a reasonable matchup for Dee Davis. On the other hand, his shots% is 30.4%, he's the team's leading scorer, and if he gets warm he can absolutely kill you. That seems like the kind of matchup we usually give to Remy Abell. Ole Miss's other two starting guards are both 6'3", but one of them has an EFG% of 37.8% (Jarvis Summers) and the other only shoots once every ten trips down the floor (Martavious Newby). It's possible Dee's size disadvantage could be hidden on one either of those two guys.

-Who starts for Xavier? Does Myles run out there at the two? If so, is Remy or Trevon the three? If Coach Mack goes with three guards, will Remy start at the four? If not, does he go with James Farr's rugged game or Jalen Reynolds for two scoring posts? It should be noted that Mississippi never goes small, consistently keeping 6'9" players at both the four and the five all game.

Three keys:
-Make them earn their points. Reynolds Mississippi does three things well on offense, and none of them is shoot. They protect the ball, they hit the glass, and they make their free throws. They're 197th in the nation in 3P% and 207th in the nation in EFG%. They're not remarkably difficult to stop on their first shot, but Xavier has to make sure that their first shot is the only one they get. If Ole Miss starts getting second chances and trips to the line, Xavier might join BYU.

-Work inside out. Mississippi defends the paint well, but they do it at the expense of abandoning the three-point arc almost entirely. You don't need me to remind you that Xavier shooters run hot and cold, but they should have I Am Legend levels of solitude beyond the arc to work with. Xavier can get the best looks by dumping the ball to the post first and then rotating it quickly when the defense collapses. That extra moment of free time is sometimes all a shooter needs to get back into rhythm.

-Get Trevon going early. I can't shake the feeling that Trevon Bluiett is going to be key in this game. I don't really have any numbers to back it up, and it's not like someone on BYU jumped off the screen as a Trevon-type player last night. I don't think Ole Miss has a guy who is a good matchup to go against Trevon, and if he gets it going, he can help Xavier through to the second round.