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Can Xavier go small?

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The return of Kaiser Gates allows for some really interesting lineup permutations.

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is trending towards smaller, faster lineups. Between the Steph Curry craze in the NBA and the continued, often frustrating emphasis on freedom of movement at the NCAA level, the game is being pushed out of the slower pace it had settled into. There's still a place for traditional post men, but the days of having a monster in the middle chewing space and cut and dictating the game are dwindling.

Enter - or re-enter - Kaiser Gates. Xavier's sophomore forward has the height of a four and the skills of a three. What if Xavier played him at the five?

The offensive potential of a lineup like that is obvious and immense. With Ed at the one, Quentin or Mal or maybe (hopefully) Myles at the two, and JP, Trevon, and Kaiser rounding out the side, you have length, athleticism, distribution, and shooting. You've got guys who can score at all three levels but aren't ball stoppers on offense. They'd score a lot.

Rebounding and defense are also parts of the game. The boards might not be too big of an issue. Ed and Malcolm both rebound well on the defensive end, and we know what Tre can do. Kaiser did well on the glass in his time last year, and I don't think there's any reason to believe he wouldn't again in this lineup. You'd probably be a little light on the offensive boards, but it wouldn't be enough to derail the show.

Defense might be a bit trickier. There are some wide men in the paint at the top of the Big East that Kaiser might have a little trouble bodying in the post. A 1-3-1 could offer some protection, and you certainly wouldn't mind seeing this group pushing for steals and transition points.

Would the offensive explosiveness of this lineup be enough to force the opponent to adjust? I don't know. What I do know is that, if this idea has occurred to me, it certainly has occurred to Coach Mack. I'd love to see what he comes up with - and what coaches like Jay Wright, Greg McDermott, and Chris Holtmann would do in response - involving Kaiser at the five.