The first day of the tournament kicked off about how it usually does. There were two pretty major upsets (so far), some pretty solid drubbings, and the usual amount of Ref Show antics. Of course, day one is just a prelude to what is, for Xavier fans, the main event tomorrow. After watching highlights of Hampton beating Iowa State when the Cyclones and seeing Josh Hagins drag UALR past Purdue, there's a fair amount of trepidation that comes even when the Musketeers are a Final Four contender. Here's what Xavier and Coach Mack have to do tomorrow to avoid becoming another name on a rather ignominious list.
Keep doing what they do
Baylor lost today in large part because they ran into a team that could battle with them on the glass. Confronted with that, the Bears essentially quit running offense and hoped that someone would knock down a jumper with time running off the shot clock. Weber State is going to present much the same issue for Xavier. The Wildcats get on the defensive glass well, so Xavier's second chance opportunities may not be what they usually are. What Xavier can't do is stagnate in the face of that and start settling for threes. Weber doesn't force many turnovers, so the Musketeers just need to be patient and...
Don't turn the ball over
The Musketeers tend to lose when they do stupid things with the basketball. Bad teams beat good teams when the good team throws the ball all over the place. The Wildcats aren't going to force turnovers, their steal percentage is 314th in the nation, what Edmond Sumner and Myles Davis need to do is stay inside themselves and trust the talent of the Musketeers to carry them past a team that won an auto bid from a low-major conference to get in.
Play to the opponent, not the moment
No hero ball, no sudden desire to sink a three every possession, no attempting some sort of three handed windmill dunk. If this were an out of conference game in December, the Musketeers would come in loose, get up 20, and then cruise. Weber State is roughly on par with Wright State as an opponent, there's no need to tighten up because this is a tournament game. Expect to see Coach Mack attack early and try to build a cushion that his team needs to relax. Playing tight only leads to things like happened to Purdue today. Play the team in front of you, not the month.