Corporal Maxwell Klinger. Tony Paco’s Hungarian Hot Dogs. There, got that out of the way.
Toledo comes out of the MAC with a 25-7 record, though it’s only 24-7 if you don’t count their destruction of non-league Wilberforce, a college so small my dad’s incredibly small high school team used to rent their gym to practice in. They were 13-5 in conference and won their last five, right before crashing out of the conference tournament in the first round.
If you’ve watched Xavier play this year, there are a couple of things you want to know about any team. We’ll start on the defensive end; Toledo doesn’t force turnovers. At all. They are 327th in the nation in defensive TO%. They’ve got the 67th overall AdjD according to KenPom. They are top 50 in opponent’s 2P%, 3P%, and FT%, landing them 24th in EFG%. They also clean the glass well and defend without fouling, though it is probably worth noting that they might find the NIT tougher sledding than their schedule was.
On offense, they shoot 38.2% from beyond the arc, 23rd in the country. They also shoot a lot of them, with almost 43% of their attempts coming from beyond the arc. Their offense as a whole is 64th according to KenPom. They don’t get to the line or the glass much, but they protect the ball and shoot it pretty well.
They have six guys who averaged at least 8.5 PPG, led by 6’4” senior guard Jaelan Sanford’s 15.3 per game. Sanford is also one of six Rockets to average at least one made three per game; keep an eye on 6’8” senior forward Nate Navigato, who jarred 2.5 threes per game while connecting at a 45.5% clip.
With two big men who can step out and shoot it and a bevy of guards spacing the arc, Toledo could be a tough matchup for Xavier. They only won one game against a top-100 team, though, and that was back in November against UC Irvine. They lost 5 Q3 games, so they are there for the taking. They’ve generally gotten their points even in their losses, but their defense has been a no-show at times.
We’ll have full coverage of this game as well as the other tournament that’s going on, even though Xavier will only be involved in one of those things. Check back often and tell all your friends.