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The DePaul fan's guide to Xavier basketball

Welcome to Banners, where we do our best to make everyone feel involved, at least until game time.

I'm sure this went in.
I'm sure this went in.
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome, DePaul fans! "Retread" is an ugly word, so we're going to pretend you're just getting used to a new coach for the very first time. Nobody in the conference has more losses or fewer wins than your team, but don't worry! ...actually, I forget where I was going with that. Let's move on from your new old coach and the underachievement of this year and get into telling you about the Muskies.

Xavier personnel

NO. NAME YR. POS. HT. WT. PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% NOTES
STARTERS
15 Myles Davis Jr. G 6'2" 188 10.9 3.2 3.3 .405 .388 .952 A natural shooting guard deputizing at the point. Best shooter on the team and their emotional leader. Not afraid of the big moment on the offensive end. Has missed two FT this year.
10 Remy Abell Sr. G 6'4" 197 7.8 1.5 2.3 .450 .382 .744 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. Dropped 21 on Butler, I guess just to prove he can.
5 Trevon Bluiett So. G/F 6'6" 208 14.5 6.9 2.1 .408 .393 .768 Versatile scorer who can get a lot of baskets without forcing his way into the game. Has a really quick release. In something of a shooting slump from deep lately. Has worked hard to improve defense and rebounding.
1 Jalen Reynolds Jr. F 6'10" 238 10.1 6.7 0.7 .533 .667 .667 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. At his best with Farr also on the court.
2 James Farr Sr. F/C 6'10" 244 10.3 8.5 0.4 .566 .000 .730 The best rebounder in college basketball. Has developed scoring moves to both hands on the post. Very effective in protecting the rim. Had been coming off the bench until very recently.
RESERVES
Larry Austin Jr. So. G 6'2" 179 1.9 1.1 1.3 .357 .000 .600 Can be an effective change of pace guard if he harnesses his energy. Can be a turnover-laden catastrophe if he doesn't. Kind of a divisive player among the fanbase.
4 Edmond Sumner Fr. G 6'6" 183 11.0 3.2 3.1 .449 .406 .685 Ed is questionable to play due to a fall he took in the Villanova game. That's a shame, because he might be our most exciting player. The team misses his ability to break down defenses while he's out.
13 Makindé London Fr. F 6'10" 220 1.3 1.3 0.5 .286 .333 .500 Athletic but whip thin. Good shot blocker as help defender. Good range on his jumper.
22 Kaiser Gates Fr. F 6'8" 217 2.8 2.3 0.1 .304 .278 .800 Stretch four. Not afraid to shoot. Very active on defense. Streaky shooter, as is often the case with guys who don't get big minutes.
54 Sean O'Mara So. F/C 6'10" 247 3.4 2.3 0.4 .593 .000 .615 Plays below the rim but with exceptional feel. Growing into some confidence on the offensive end. Bully on the defensive glass.
55 J.P. Macura So. G 6'5" 203 8.7 2.6 2.0 .457 .310 .773 Always gives huge effort. Big time shooter in high school, but more effective inside the arc right now. Has a reputation for chippiness that he has largely earned.

Xavier strategy

Defense has been Xavier's calling card as a rule under Coach Mack, and this year is no different. The Muskies will switch between a packline man and a 1-3-1 zone. The zone sacrifices a little bit of rebounding to force offenses away from the rim and generate turnovers. Both defenses will surrender some looks from deep and rely on killing possessions with defensive rebounding.

The offense excels by doing most things okay and getting to the glass and to the line really well. X will turn the ball over a little more that you'd like to see, but they compensate for that by rebounding almost 40% of their misses and scoring a quarter of their points from the line.

Other things to consider

  • Without Edmond Sumner at the point, Xavier had real trouble against St. John's in converting good fastbreaks into points.
  • Jalen Reynolds didn't get the start last time out because he had "been difficult to coach" in practice.
  • The Cintas Center is one of the toughest venues in college basketball for road teams to win in; this is a game Xavier expects to win.