What's up fellow Big East bottom dwellers? Obviously neither team's opener panned out quite how they wanted it, but the scary part is someone will end a week that began with a top 10 ranking 0-2 in conference play. For those of you who just started catching up on the Big East with the beginning of conference play, we are here to help you out with who and what Xavier has been about this season.
|4||Edmond Sumner||Fr.||G||6'6"||183||11.0||3.2||3.1||.449||.406||.685||Very explosive attacking the basket. Draws fouls like nobody's business. Scary fast in transition. Likely limited by lingering effects of Thursday's injury.
|10||Remy Abell||Sr.||G||6'4"||197||6.9||1.5||2.2||.388||.323||.778||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. Loves running out ahead to get easy buckets in transition.|
|15||Myles Davis||Jr.||G||6'2"||188||10.3||3.4||3.2||.394||.375||.939||Can bring the ball up under pressure. Best shooter on the team and their emotional leader. Not afraid of the big moment on the offensive end.|
|5||Trevon Bluiett||So.||G/F||6'6"||208||14.4||7.2||1.9||.411||.425||.780||Versatile scorer who can get a lot of baskets without forcing his way into the game. Great at using one dribble to set his feet and make space for his jumper. Has worked hard to improve defense and rebounding.|
|1||Jalen Reynolds||Jr.||F||6'10"||238||9.9||6.1||0.7||.516||.500||.696||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.|
|0||Larry Austin Jr.||So.||G||6'2"||179||1.6||1.1||1.1||.318||.000||.583||Has some turnover issues to work through. The less he tries to score, the more effective he becomes.Has been losing time due to ineffectiveness at both ends.
|2||James Farr||Sr.||F/C||6'10"||244||10.7||8.5||0.5||.560||.000||.730||The best rebounder in college basketball. Loves working onto his left hand in the post. Good rim protector. Acquitted himself well with 15 and 7 against Nova.
|13||Makindé London||Fr.||F||6'10"||220||1.4||1.3||0.6||.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||2.3||2.1||0.1||.278||.231||.727||Stretch four. Not afraid to shoot. Very active on defense.|
|54||Sean O'Mara||So.||F/C||6'10"||247||3.7||2.3||0.3||.577||.000||.583||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||9.2||2.8||2.2||.463||.316||.786||Always gives huge effort. Showing signs of breaking out of a shooting slump. Not afraid to tell opponents about the good work he just did. Sneakily maybe the team's best distributor.|
On offense Xavier loves to move the ball all around the perimeter, trying to stretch their opponent's defense and create spaces for off the ball movement. A few guys can break things down with dribble penetration, and there are several dangerous spot up shooters as well. In the post, Farr has been effective in close with both hands while Reynolds has adapted well to being forced to face up at times. Those two are also dominant offensive rebounders, something Xavier excels at as a team and owes much of its success on offense to.
Defensively, a large part of the gameplan is to not let the opponent start 7 of 9 from three, which is where we blew it last time. Xavier still struggles to guard the perimeter, but has sacrificed that a bit in the name of completely suffocating the interior, which they have done well this year. Xavier has run out of a man to man or 1-3-1 zone defense this season, and the effectiveness of both is largely contingent on the opponent's ability to find and make the available threes.
Other things to consider
- 12-0 was Xavier's best start ever and still has fans dreaming about the possibilities with the talent this team displayed in getting there.
- Edmond Sumner has grown into the team's best and most important player and was injured in a scary collision under the basket 2:21 into Thursday's game, which led to a hospital visit but no diagnosis of a concussion. This means he is available but likely not at his best for Saturday.
- Obviously things were not up to snuff against Nova, but Coach Mack attributed a large part of that to the emotional nature of seeing a teammate backboarded off, and the fact that Villanova executed extremely well.
- If you have any other questions about the Musketeers, hit us up on Twitter at @BannersParkway. We love some good back and forth with an opponent's fanbase on there.