On The Beat: Breaking Down The Musketeers

Musketeer Report beat writer Rick Broering is heading to Dayton today as he will be covering Xavier's run through the NCAA Tournament. Broering spoke in-depth with Pack Pride about the Musketeers, and here is Part II of our interview.

Musketeer Report beat writer Rick Broering is heading to Dayton today as he will be covering Xavier's run through the NCAA Tournament. Broering spoke in-depth with Pack Pride about the Musketeers, and here is Part II of our interview.

Broering discussed Xavier's offensive and defensive systems in Part I of our interview, and today he breaks down their personnel.

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It seems like point guard Semaj Christon makes Xavier go. Is that an accurate statement?
Last year they didn't have any other options and Semaj was just a freshman, so he forced a lot of things, but this year they are in a situation where you have Matt Stainbrook, who you can play through on offense. You have Justin Martin, who is shooting the ball better.

They do have more options, but you are right, Semaj makes them go. He's really difficult for most teams to defend one-on-one. He's hard to guard and can create for others.

He seems to be a scoring guard that works best in the paint and getting to the line. Is that accurate? Does he just not like attempting three-pointers?
Coach Mack has said he'd like Semaj to shoot a three or two a game so teams will respect it, but with the new rules and the way they call the game, he just prefers to take his man one-on-one.

He's so fast with the ball,and he has a good crossover and an explosive first step. He's a great finisher because he's athletic and can finish at the rim.

Teams do lay off him and he'll take the three occasionally, but most of his shots are one-dribble pull-ups from the elbow.

Where is center Matt Stainbrook at physically?
That's the big question. He sprained his MCL about 10 days ago, but he'll definitely play in Dayton.

Matt Stainbrook

They said he wouldn't be able to play in the Big East Tournament and then he played in the opener. However, after he played that opening night he wasn't nearly as effective the next night. He couldn't move at all.

He's already a slow guy, so having a slow guy that can't move laterally at all doesn't help. He's obviously not a leaper.

Now, there is a short turnaround with playing on Tuesday, and that's a big question mark. We have no idea as to where he'll be on a short turnaround from the Big East Tournament.

What type of a player is he?
Stainbrook doesn't have to score inside, he's a 9-to-10 point guy, and a lot of it is off offensive rebounds. But, when things get stagnant they can throw the ball inside to him.

He is a very good passer from the post. He sees the floor very well and passes well for a big man. He is also a tough one-on-one guy on the block.

Wing Justin Martin... what does he bring to the table?
Xavier is playing best when Justin Martin is hitting 3-pointers and is a relaiable shooter on the wing. He's been consistent this year and up until this point he's been the model of inconsistency.

It's been fun to watch him develop. His three-point shooting is huge to making their offense go.

Dee Davis... is he a guy that you'd say is the "X" factor for Xavier?
That has been the story for them all year. He's not had any middle-of-the-road games. He's either been really good or he's really struggled at times.

It's been huge for him to play well because their offense is completely different when he's playing with confidence. They are a better team when he's not turning it over but picking up assists... also hitting 3-pointers. He's one of the guys, along with Justin Martin, that can occasionally knock them down. He's streaky.

How about senior power forward Isaiah Philmore?
He's been up-and-down. He's probably playing a little above his head in the Big East... he was playing guys bigger, stronger, and more athletic.

Isaiah Philmore

He has decent post moves but hasn't really used them a lot of times. He did have 23 in the Marquette game and really played well on the low block.

He can be a key too. When he plays tough, physical, and scores a little bit it takes pressure off Stainbrook, who isn't healthy. He may be able to step up, but it's not something he's done consistently all year.

Does Xavier have great depth?
Not at all.

Early on they were getting great contributions off the bench, but at this point they receive hardly any production off the bench. James Farr has been ineffective. Myles Davis has been ineffective.

They rely on basically their starting five and Jaylen Reynolds, who is a freshman big man that has really come on. He's been playing great the last few weeks. He's been key because other than him they have no depth at all.

So in tightly-called games they could be in trouble because of their lack of depth?
Yes, but at the same time because of their Pack Line defense they aren't out there pressuring the ball and picking up fouls. Defensively they don't apply a lot of pressure so they tend to stay out of foul trouble.

Also, Semaj and Dee are the two they can't afford to get into foul trouble, and they are very smart about fouls, but you're right if they do get in foul trouble it gets interesting. It would be a problem.


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