We can exhale. Michigan State fans have the entire summer to think about what it means to be a two seed and then lose. They can digest all the articles talking about the tournament's biggest upsets ever. Xavier jumped out to an early lead, ran the show the whole way, and pulled away enough late to carry an easy win through the first round and on into Sunday.
We've shaken the slow starts
Xavier had real trouble at points this year staggering out of the gate and not really getting up through the gears until the opponent had staked itself to a decent lead. Not today, as Xavier rolled through the first 10 minutes with a 21-6 lead fueled by a 13-0 run. You can't give away the first five minutes against any tournament team, as Michigan State found out earlier, and Xavier did not today.
Xavier's bigs came to play
James Farr came off the bench early doors and got the Muskies' offense going from the post. Jalen Reynolds fought through some early foul trouble to go to work on the post, most notably doing this to the rim:
You don't find big men like that in the Big Sky, and Xavier had the good sense to work through them to great effect on the offensive end. Having both of them cleaning up just about everything that came off the rim was a nice bonus as Xavier pulled away down the stretch.
Remy is a hero
Jeremy Senglin came into the game shooting the eyes out of the ball and generally carrying the Weber State offense. Today he had Remy bird-dogging his every move, and he could not find any joy on the attack. Abell added 11 points of his own, but his real contribution was Weber State's leading scorer and holding him to 3-10/0-4/1-2 shooting.