Team Profile: Xavier

BYU is set to take on Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. For most Cougar fans, the Xavier Musketeers are a complete unknown. To help familiarize them with this dangerous opponent here is a quick overview of the Musketeers followed by some keys to victory and a prediction of who will come out on top.

Mascot: Musketeers
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Students: 4,000

Affiliation: Jesuit Catholic
Established: 1831
Colors: Blue and White
Mission: "Xavier University is dedicated to engaging and forming students intellectually, morally and spiritually, with rigor and compassion, toward lives of solidarity, service, and success."
Head Coach: Sean Miller
Leading Scorer: Justin Doellman 13.4ppg
Leading Rebounder: Doellman and Justin Cage 5.5rpg
Leading Assists: Drew Lavender 4.7 apg
Season High Points: Lavender 31
Season High Rebounds: Cage 11
Season High Assists: Lavender 9
Longest Losing Streak: 2 games
Longest Winning Streak: 9 games
Record Last Ten Games: 9-1
RPI: 34
Record vs RPI Top 25: 1-1
Record vs RPI Top 50: 3-2
Record vs RPI Top 100: 12-4
Road Record: 5-5
Most Points Scored: 98 vs Rhode Island
Most Points Allowed: 93 @ Dusquene
Field Goal Percentage: 47.9%
FG Percentage Defense: 43.1%
3-Point Percentage: 39%
3-Point Defense: 30.6%

Spiff's Xavier Observatoins

-          Xavier is a talented and experienced team. Only one player who plays more than 15 minutes a game, Derrick Brown, is not a junior or a senior.

-          The Musketeers undisputed leader is Lavender. He is 5-foot-7 and is a transfer from Oklahoma. His assist to turnover ratio is 3.5:1

-          Four players average more than ten points a game.

-          Five players average more than three and a half rebounds per game.

-          In 31 of their 32 games, their leading scorer was Doellman (11), Stanely Burrell (8), Lavender (7) or Josh Dunca (5).

-          No player is taller than 6-foot-9.


Spiff's Keys for a Xavier Victory

-          Xavier must control the glass. Despite being undersized team, they were only out-rebounded in 10 games. They were 5-5 in those games. They are 19-3 in games where they have the advantage. Against a good rebounding team like BYU, they must limit second shots.

-          Lavender must dominate. He is much quicker than Austin Ainge and should be able to get into the paint to distribute the ball. He is also a very good shooter (.468) and rarely turns the ball over (53 turnovers in 32 games).

-          The Musketeers are a very good at defending the three-pointer (30.9%). If they want to hang with BYU they must contain Mike Rose, Ainge, Jonathan Tavernari, Lee Cummard and Jimmy Balderson.

-          Get BYU in foul trouble. Trent Plaisted has shown a propensity to foul and find himself on the bench for long stretches. Keena Young has missed significant portions of games as well. If BYU is forced to rely on the perimeter game with no inside threat it would bode well for Xavier.


Spiff's Prediction

-          BYU 77, Xavier 70.

-          I just don't see how Xavier will be able to guard everyone BYU will throw at them. They basically have two ways to defend BYU: double the post or remain on the perimeter. Personally, I think they will choose to double the post. By doing that they are hoping that Rose, Tavernari, Ainge, Cummard and Balderson are all missing shots. I don't see all five of them being off. We have also seen that doubling the post doesn't necessarily mean shutting down post production. In the end, I think BYU has too much shooting and too much size for the Musketeers to counter. It might be "one for all and all for one," but in the end BYU will be the one moving on to the second round.

-          I think Plaisted will have a big game. He dominated the first two rounds of the MWC tournament when he was guarded by smaller players. I predict a double-double for him

-          KT will have a solid outing (17 points and 8 rebs).

-          BYU will hit at least nine three-pointers – including at least four by either Rose, Tavernari or Ainge.

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