Zach Freemantle is going to miss at least a month. Xavier’s elite big man is averaging 15.2/8.1/2.9 and shooting 58.5% from the floor. He has been everything Xavier fans could have possibly wanted this season, from his production to his attitude. This is an enormous loss for the team.
The Musketeers were already wobbling a little bit, going 2-2 in their last four and getting run off the floor by Creighton in their last game. It was in that game that the discomfort Freemantle had been experiencing became more pronounced. While it is the same foot that he injured before, it doesn’t require surgery this time.
Per Coach Miller in an interview with Matt Norlander, “Unless he has some type of setback with his healing, he clearly would be back for the Big East tournament.” Until then Xavier will either have to go with an untested big, go small, or see if the other team will agree to play with four. Joel broke down the possibilities in the article linked below.
In that span of time that Free will miss, Xavier’s schedule looks like this:
|Wed Feb 1||30||Providence||Home|
|Sat Feb 4||75||St. John's||Home|
|Fri Feb 10||108||Butler||Away|
|Wed Feb 15||8||Marquette||Away|
|Sat Feb 18||135||DePaul||Home|
|Tue Feb 21||73||Villanova||Home|
|Fri Feb 24||54||Seton Hall||Away|
|Wed Mar 1||30||Providence||Away|
|Sat Mar 4||108||Butler||Home|
Providence will be tough, as will a trip to Marquette. It’s hard to see an understrength team winning those games. Return legs to Seton Hall and Providence will also be challenging. Thankfully, Xavier’s most brutal stretch of games is just concluding. Can a Xavier team missing Zach Freemantle beat DePaul and Butler twice? I’d rather try to find that out than find out if they had to take on UConn two more times.
It seems that best case scenario is a return for the Big East conference tournament. That means at least nine games out for the guy who has arguably been Xavier’s MVP so far this season. It’s far less than ideal. For now, we’ll look at this glass as half full. It isn’t believed to be a season ending injury, and X has some credit in the bank. Barring another February collapse, the Musketeers should see Zach Freemantle back on the court for very meaningful games.