Hello, Hoya fans! Before we go any further, I want to offer you a glimpse at the bright side of your current season: no way you lose to a double-digit seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament this year. If anything, maybe you'll be that team ruining someone else's postseason hopes. I know many of you have been too preoccupied with your own season to follow Xavier's, so I'll get you caught up on what's going down at Cintas this season.
|4||Edmond Sumner||Fr.||G||6'6"||183||11.3||3.1||3.2||.454||.400||.667||Injured against Nova, Ed came back over the weekend and looked good. A dynamic guard who can really slice through defenses, he's got as much potential as anyone on the roster. Can shoot if left open. Really clogs passing lanes on defense.|
|15||Myles Davis||Jr.||G||6'2"||188||10.8||3.4||3.6||.396||.392||.935||Best shooter on the team and their emotional leader. Not afraid of the big moment on the offensive end. Can slide over and run the point, but at his best when he's off the ball.|
|10||Remy Abell||Sr.||G||6'4"||197||6.9||1.6||2.1||.414||.351||.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.|
|5||Trevon Bluiett||So.||G/F||6'6"||208||15.3||6.7||2.1||.413||.392||.806||Versatile scorer who can get a lot of baskets without forcing his way into the game. Has a really quick release. Can knock down jumpers from anywhere, including the mid-range. Has worked hard to improve defense and rebounding.|
|1||Jalen Reynolds||Jr.||F||6'10"||238||9.6||6.7||0.6||.517||.500||.661||Disruptive defensive force in the middle of the 1-3-1 zone. At his best with Farr also on the court. His production has been disappointing to a fanbase that was hoping he'd break out.|
|0||Larry Austin Jr.||So.||G||6'2"||179||1.8||1.1||1.3||.367||.000||.600||Has the tools to be a good 10-12 minute guard off the bench, but tends to press too much and end up making bad decisions with the ball. Will have trouble getting minutes with Ed back.|
|2||James Farr||Sr.||F/C||6'10"||244||10.3||8.9||0.4||.550||.000||.767||The best rebounder in college basketball. Has developed scoring moves to both hands on the post. Very effective in protecting the rim. Has been in and out of the starting lineup|
|13||Makindé London||Fr.||F||6'10"||220||1.4||1.2||0.5||.294||.333||.500||Athletic but whip thin. Good shot blocker as help defender. Good range on his jumper. Has been in and out with injuries.|
|22||Kaiser Gates||Fr.||F||6'8"||217||3.6||2.7||0.2||.419||.333||.700||Stretch four. Streaky shooter, as is often the case with guys who don't get big minutes, but his confidence is growing. Has been a revelation on the defensive end in terms of being able to move his feet and guard the perimeter.|
|54||Sean O'Mara||So.||F/C||6'10"||247||3.6||2.2||0.4||.600||.000||.656||Plays below the rim but with exceptional feel. Hasn't been able to show his potential because he's blocked by Farr and Reynolds right now. Bully on the defensive glass.|
|55||J.P. Macura||So.||G||6'5"||203||8.9||2.5||2.1||.472||.298||.787||Will be getting YMCA buckets when he's 50. Flies to the offensive glass, scores in weird ways from all over inside the arc. Opponents and opposing fans hate him for what I'm going to call an overabundance of confidence.|
Xavier's defense has been the cornerstone of its success this year, and it comes down largely to the ability to cut down on the number of looks the other team gets at the basket. X is forcing turnovers on 20% of their defensive possessions, and they're 11th in the nation in DReb%. The Muskies are above average in field goal defense, but their success has come in not letting other teams get shots. The one weak point is the arc, where Xavier will concede some open threes regardless of if they're in a man or a 1-3-1.
On offense, Xavier crushes the glass and lives at the line. They'll run the occasional ball screen set, especially for Edmond Sumner or Myles Davis, but most of the action happens off the ball in terms of running concepts to get good looks. When the ball is moving crisply through the post and around the perimeter, Xavier has enough weapons to open up just about any defense.
Other things to consider
- Xavier is undefeated at home this year and generally plays in one of the toughest venues around.
- With the five starters and Farr, Macura, and Gates, Xavier's rotation goes 8 deep. Austin and O'Mara will also give Coach Mack minutes to fill certain roles, giving Xavier 10 viable players from which to choose.
- Most of us have forgiven DSR for decommitting and heading your way; having a stud point guard and a 16-1 record really helps ease the pain.
- This team really, really loves playing together. It's fun to watch, though I guess perhaps not for opposing fans.