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Matching last season: scoring inside the arc

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Xavier was 14th in the nation in 2P% last year; what will they look like this coming season?

Mean mug 'em, Jalen.
Mean mug 'em, Jalen.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

There's no doubt that the strength of Xavier's offense last season was scoring inside the arc. The Musketeers shot 53.7% on two-point attempts, good for 14th in the country. They scored more than 53% of their points from two-point shots, ranking them 100th. Xavier's offense was elite, and it hinged on the ability to score inside.

What did we lose?

Matt Stainbrook was obviously a huge contributor here. He led Xavier with 122 made baskets at the rim (of Xavier's 514) and 50 other made two-point shots (of Xavier's 208). He was second with a 68.9% shooting percentage at the rim and led the team by shooting 50% on other two-point shots. Dee Davis shot 45.8% inside the arc on the whole, and his forays into the paint were most often memorable when he got spectacularly turned back.

Can we replace it?

The obvious answer here is Jalen Reynolds. He shot a thunderous 71.3% percent at the rim but was also a very respectable 46.9% on other two-point shots. James Farr (58.3% at the rim, 35.6% other two-point shots) also got a lot of looks but was not as effective at scoring them.

Trevon Bluiett (60%), Remy Abell (63%), and JP Macura (63.3%) were all also very effective at the rim despite having more pedestrian numbers on other two-point shots. Xavier as a team shot 61.6% at the rim.

If the Musketeers' perimeter players can make sure they're not settling for pull-up jumpers, that will help replace what the team lost when Matt Stainbrook graduated. The real key is going to be the shot selection of James Farr and how much Xavier can get the ball to Jalen Reynolds. If X can force the post with Jalen and have Big Game James converting at the rim and not shooting 18-foot jumpers, they'll be dominant inside once again.