Providence Friars 17-3 (5-2)
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- Protect the ball with aggression: Kris Dunn is going to harass whoever handles the ball for Xavier and the Friars as a whole will be jumping passing lanes. The Musketeers are showing improvement in ball control, but it is still very definitely a weakness for the team. It will be interesting to see if Xavier deploys more high screens to give Sumner some space to work with the ball. Dunn has fouled out twice in the last three games, so he can be had by a quick guard who likes to drive. Behind him, both Bentil and Bullock are also prone to falling prey to the whistle. Xavier's best option for limiting turnovers might be attacking rather than trying to be cautious.
- Get all three big men going: Providence avoids the rotation problem by simply having Ben Bentil never come out. Xavier can throw effective depth at him if both Jalen and Sean O'Mara come to play. Any time would be a great time for Jalen to start demonstrating why he was so highly thought of before the season. On the road against one of the breakout performers of the Big East seems like it would work. The Friars aren't great with post defense, so 15 minutes of Big Sean could also pay dividends.
- Get to the line: Of the four highest free throw rate games Providence has allowed, they've lost three of them. Xavier's loves to win games at the line. This one almost comes down to the whim of what will almost certainly be an atrocious officiating crew. Even Xavier's bigs are converting well right now. If Providence starts hacking shooters, the Musketeers are in business.