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The Buffalo fan’s guide to Xavier basketball

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Welcome, strangers! Here is some information!

NCAA Basketball: Lehigh at Xavier
These are some of our guys!
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, Buffalo fans! Basketball is fun, and even more so when you’re prepared for what you’re about to watch. Rather than make you do a bunch of Googling and thinking, we’re just going to give you everything you need to know about Xavier in one easily digestible package right here.

Xavier personnel:

Player Yr. Pos. Ht. Wt. MPG PPG RPG APG FG% 3P% FT% Notes
Starters
Edmond Sumner So. G 6'6" 186 40 24.0 4.0 6.0 .571 .000 .889 A nightmare of a lead guard to try to defend. Sumner is lethal in the open court and an explosive finisher. He spent the summer working on his jumper; when he's hitting that, he can't be guarded.
J.P. Macura Jr. G 6'5" 203 37 13.0 5.0 4.0 .357 .200 1.000 JP goes as hard as he can for as long as he's out there. He will do whatever he can to win, from diving for every loose ball to crashing the offensive boards to getting in opponents' heads. He is a really creative offensive player, and it works more often than not.
Malcolm Bernard Sr. G 6'6" 202 23 5.0 3.0 1.0 .500 .500 .000 I've got one more game of watching Bernard play than you do. He's an athletic and tough defender who was asked to do everything for Florida A&M last year. We're still working out where he fits in with X.
Trevon Bluiett Jr. G/F 6'6" 205 37 25.0 11.0 3.0 .529 .286 1.000 The silky scoring soul of the offense. Trevon rarely forces his way into a game, but he has a jumper that plays from anywhere, great footwork, and a quick release. He's strong enough to do work on the glass, but his real value is finding good positions on offense and scoring from them.
Sean O'Mara Jr. F 6'10" 245 25 10.0 4.0 2.0 .714 .000 .000 O'Mara is a crafty and sneaky-athletic post scorer. He's a big body inside who holds his own on the glass and runs the floor surprisingly well. He could use some more touches on offense, honestly.
Reserves
RaShid Gaston Sr. F 6'9" 239 14 5.0 2.0 0.0 1.000 .000 .500 Gaston is a big body making the transition from Norfolk State to Xavier. He is a strong presence in the middle who should be able to make his presence known on the glass.
Quentin Goodin Fr. G 6'4" 194 16 2.0 1.0 2.0 .250 .000 .000 Diet Edmond Sumner at this point. Goodin is a bit thicker than Ed and a bit less explosive, but the building blocks of a dynamic lead guard are there. The transition to college ball is tough for points, but Goodin is a good defender and can get into the lane to distribute or punch on unwary defenders.
Tyrique Jones Fr. F 6'9" 243 8 0.0 1.0 0.0 .000 .000 .000 Built like a brick outhouse, Tyrique has a motor that doesn't quit. His offensive game is a hair unrefined right now, but he's a really athletic forward with a nose for the glass on both ends. He brings great energy off the bench.

Xavier strategy:

On offense, Coach Mack likes to keep the floor spread and the ball moving, generally trusting his players to find the right positions and make good decisions. With that said, the man is a borderline savant with set plays. Big-to-big cross screens have set up a lot of buckets for Xavier in his tenure, and he’s a dang genius with baseline out of bounds situations. Xavier isn’t afraid to get out and run when the time is right.

Defensively, Mack is a man coach who has installed a 1-3-1 zone over the past couple of years. The weak spot in both defenses has historically been behind the arc, as the team generally seeks to contest the area nearer the basket and is scrambling to recover to shooters. The zone was not effective in its appearance in the season opener.

Other things to consider:

  • Xavier is down a couple of really important players in senior G Myles Davis and sophomore F Kaiser Gates. Myles has some lingering legal troubles from the summer and Kaiser is recovering from a knee operation. Both are missed on the floor.
  • Of the eight remaining scholarship players on the roster, four had never appeared in a Xavier uniform before this year. We’re anticipating some bumps in the road, and we got them on Friday in the form of mediocre defense, sloppy execution, and poor game management down the stretch.
  • Sumner, Bluiett, and Macura combined for 114 minutes in the opener. Coach Mack is riding his known commodities hard right now.