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

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It's back to the cupcakes as Xavier prepares for a weekend in Vegas.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Wisconsin
He looks surprised.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

What do you do to bridge the gap between a huge win against Wisconsin and big weekend in Las Vegas? I you're Xavier, you invite Hampton out for a uniformed warmup and anticipate putting it on them like it's the last two minutes in Madison all over again.

What I'm saying is that Hampton is not very good. They've played three games against D1 competition and lost them all. Their lone win on the season came against Bluefield College, an NAIA school with 894 undergrad students. You have to go back to 2002 to find a year in which Hampton finished in the top 200 of the KenPom rankings, a streak they don't seem to be in position to snap this year.

Team fingerprint

They don't really turn the ball over that much. Other than that, it's pretty much all bad. They're mediocre from behind the arc and bad from inside it, don't get to the glass or free throw line well, and get their shots blocked a ton. Also, they play at a glacial pace.

Defense is more bad news, I'm afraid. They're average at 2P% and defending the glass. They concede the arc and foul a ton. They're also 344th in the nation in forcing turnovers, which I trust you don't need told is pretty horrible.

Players

Starters

Starting matchups
Jermaine Marrow Point Guard Quentin Goodin
Sophomore Class Sophomore
6'0", 182 Measurements 6'4", 190
22/3.5/5.5 Game line 3.3/1/6.3
0.446/0.385/0.773 Shooting line 0.444/0/0.667
No player in the nation uses more of his team's possessions than Marrow does. And, frankly, he's pretty good with them. He'll get to the line if he can, but he's lifting no matter what.
Akim Mitchell Shooting Guard J.P. Macura
Junior Class Senior
6'5", 200 Measurements 6'5", 203
7/2.5/1 Game line 17.3/5/4.7
0.524/0/0.857 Shooting line 0.692/0.286/0.778
Mitchell must have been assigned to split possessions with Marrow, because he hardly uses the ball at all. He's here to play defense and make sure things keep ticking over. For his reward, he gets JP.
Greg Heckstall Small Forward Trevon Bluiett
Sophomore Class Junior
6'6", 195 Measurements 6'6", 202
10.5/6.8/1 Game line 25.3/7.7/2.7
0.467/0.364/0.769 Shooting line 0.59/0.542/1
Heckstall is a good rebounder, but he's not much of a shooter at all. He, like Mitchell, does excel at getting to the line.
Trevond Barnes Power Forward Kaiser Gates
Junior Class Junior
6'9", 210 Measurements 6'6", 215
5/3.3/0 Game line 12.3/4.7/1
0.538/0.333/0.625 Shooting line 0.524/0.526/0.625
Barnes has shot ten times in four games, but he's blocked six shots in that same time. His 11.8% block rate is good for 33rd in the nation.
Charles Wilson-Fisher Center Tyrique Jones
Senior Class Sophomore
6'9", 205 Measurements 6'9", 237
4/6.3/0.5 Game line 13.7/7.7/1.7
0.412/0/1 Shooting line 0.714/0/0.647
Wilson-Fisher crushes on the offensive glass but is something of a wasteland when it comes to trying to score. His 33% turnover rate probably explains why he starts but then finds the bench early.

Reserves

Lysander Bracey is a 6-4 shooter off the bench. He’s currently stroking a cool 54% from deep, which is nice work if you can get it. Kalin Fisher is another guard off the bench, and he shoots it 27.4% of the time for his team when he’s out there. I’m mildly curious to see what the other three guys will do if he and Marrow are out there at the same time. Austin Colbert at 6-8 is the lone backup big and he is, not to besmirch the young man, pretty bad. His offensive rating of 76.6 and rebounding rates in line with JP paint a picture of a player eating space.

Three questions

-Will Q try to get his? Goodin dropped 6 assists to just 1 turnover against Wisconsin, but he's shooting just 4-9 through three games this year. At some point in time, I think teams are going to dare Goodin to score even more than they already do; I'd love to see some evidence that he can respond to that with a bucket or two.

-Is Kerem Kanter more than just depth? Over the young season so far, he has an EFG% of 25% and hasn't contributed much more than defensive rebounding. With Sean O'Mara and Tyrique Jones already battling for minutes at center and Tre and Kaiser holding down the four, it's hard to see exactly where Kanter is going to slot in.

-Is this an effective warmup? This is a team that has played two teams ranked worse than 200 in the KenPom and lost to them both by an average of 11 points. The goal here is to get some reps in and make sure nobody gets hurt.

Three keys

-Watch Jermaine Marrow. At 6'0", 182, he'll be physically overmatched by Xavier's guards, but he's the straw that stirs the drink for Hampton. He's first in the nation in usage rate, second in shots percentage, and sixth in assist rate, all with a turnover percentage under 10%. He played all 40 minutes Hampton's last time out and poured in 25/4/4 on 12-25/1-1/0-0 shooting. Kudos to him for fighting the good fight.

-Control the game early. As long as Xavier doesn't do anything silly, Leighton Schrand has a shot at good minutes tonight. Handle business first, enjoy garbage time second. X has done a good job at thumping lesser opponents this year, and that should continue tonight.

-Don't get hurt. Seriously.