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Xavier v. Rider: preview, matchups, keys to the game

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Rider is better than Morehead, but this should still be a warmup for the Musketeers,

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Maryland vs Xavier
Coach Mack chucks a deuce to the haters.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

You can't tell much from one game, but Xavier looked dang good on Friday. The Muskies jumped out like you'd expect a team to do in a buy game and never looked back. That was a veteran team handling its business.

Next up is Rider. The Broncs were up 59-58 with then to play against Hampton in their opener, but they dropped 31 down the stretch to close it out. Xavier is a top-25 opponent sandwiched between two games against teams ranked worse than 300 by KenPom for Rider. Make of that what you will.

Team fingerprint:

Again, the caveat here is that it has been one game.

With that said, Rider's offense depends on shooting the three and controlling the ball. Rider players not named Stevie Jordan shot 7-26 from inside the arc against Hampton, which you don't need me to tell you is miserable. That same collection of dudes went 13-25 from deep, which is much better. The Broncs will run and gun and send a lot of guys to the glass, and they did a good job of bot turning it over in the opener.

On defense, it's hard to say. They forced a good amount of turnovers but we're fairly average elsewhere. They didn't defend the glass well, which may portend ill for their ability to keep Xavier from getting second chances.

Starters:

Starting matchups
Stevie Jordan Point Guard Quentin Goodin
Sophomore Class Sophomore
6'0", 170 Measurements 6'4", 190
17/3/6 Game line 2/1/7
0.533/0.25/0 Shooting line 1/0/0
Jordan is a shoot first point guard playing against one who was almost solely pass first in Xavier's first game against Morehead.
Anthony Durham Shooting Guard J.P. Macura
Senior Class Senior
6'3", 190 Measurements 6'5", 203
13/4/1 Game line 18/3/4
0.5/1/0.667 Shooting line 0.857/0.5/0.714
Durham shot 39% from behind the arc last year and is off to a similar start this year. JP was also blistering hot and spent most of the last ten minutes of Xaver's game watching.
Jordan Allen Small Forward Trevon Bluiett
Sophomore Class Junior
6'4", 195 Measurements 6'6", 202
21/4/1 Game line 25/5/3
0.4/0.417/1 Shooting line 0.75/0.714/1
Allen went 5-12 from behind the arc and only shot three times from closer than that. He's a sniper, not a pure scorer.
Frederick Scott Power Forward Kaiser Gates
Junior Class Junior
6'8", 223 Measurements 6'6", 215
15/14/2 Game line 14/5/0
0.375/0.4/0.636 Shooting line 1/1/0.5
Xavier isn't the same team that pick and pop fours used to terrorize, but that's exactly what Scott is. He's also a monster on the defensive glass.
Tyere Marshall Center Tyrique Jones
Sophomore Class Sophomore
6'9", 220 Measurements 6'9", 237
10/12/1 Game line 11/9/2
0.308/0/0.4 Shooting line 0.571/0/0.429
The tallest player on the Broncs roster gets all over the offensive glass and rarely ventures out of the paint.

Reserves:

Kealan Washington-Ives came off the bench first for the Broncs in their win over Hampton. Last season he was a volume scorer of sorts, and he doesn’t look to be any different this year. He’s a 5-9 ball mover who is solid from the line. Another guard off the bench is 6-5 freshman Tyrei Randall. Randall played 12 minutes and went for 6/2/0. Karamoko Cisse is a 6-7 forward who is Rider’s only other player likely to manage double digit minutes.

Three questions:

-What did we learn on Friday? My guess is not much. That was a tune up game that looked like one. Wisconsin looms around the corner, and we probably won't know a ton about this team until that game comes and goes.

-Who is Kaiser Gates? He's probably not going to post an EFG% of 150% for the rest of the year, but if he has arrived as an offensive force, this team becomes hard to stop. I'll withhold judgment until we get a bit deeper.

-Are the freshmen this good? They sure looked stout in the opener. Naji Marshall had 12, Elias Harden splashed a three, and Paul Scruggs went for 6/4/4. Xavier's heralded recruiting class may have suffered some attrition between signing day and the opener, but these guys came to play.

Three keys:

-Handle business. This should be another boat race, and the first item on the agenda is to make sure it goes that way. Open early and keep rolling.

-Tighten it up. Q had 7 assists in just 19 minutes last time out, but he also had 4 TO. JP and Tre combined for 7-9 from the line, but the rest of the team was 10-19. These things never hurt right up until they do.

-Check the arc.