Davis had a rough game against Charlotte, finishing just 1-of-9 from the field with three points, one assist and two turnovers. Xavier's struggling offense needs more from him. Whether it's a few more points and made shots, or just more plays made overall including setting up teammates, they need more. His defense will be important in this one against the water bug "Tay" Jones. Jones is the leading scorer on the Hawks' roster at 14.8 points per game. He is super quick with the ball, great in transition and can stroke the three with confidence. He will pull with pretty good range using his quick release, so guarding him is a challenge, when his shooting is combined with his quickness and driving ability. He's coming off an eight-point performance in the loss to Bonaventure where he was just 2-for-11 from the field. Slowing him down will be a key for the offensively challenged Musketeers.
Moderate Edge St. Joseph's
Christon was Xavier's offense against Charlotte. He got into the lane often and was the only player on the team other than Taylor that was able to finish a few of them. He didn't have his normal assists in that game, partially because guys couldn't finish, but also because the Muskies didn't move the ball as well on offense. One thing Christon can continue to learn to do as he develops is learn how to get his teammates going on the offensive end, like a lot of the great point guards do. He's already a great passer, and as he continues to develop that feel for how to jump start the team's offense, it will only make him a better pro. Galloway is the second leading scorer on St. Joseph's roster, averaging 14.6 points per game, and shooting 38.4 percent from 3-point land. He had his streak of 12 games in a row in double figures snapped in the loss at St. Bonaventure Wednesday night, as he left the game in the final minutes of the first half and never returned due to being poked in the eye. He's listed as questionable for the game tonight. It'd obviously make things tough on St. Joseph's if he didn't play, but if he does, it should be a fun match-up to watch with Christon.
Slight Edge St. Joseph's
Martin has really struggled since early December, other than a pretty solid effort in the win over Temple. He's shooting the ball poorly, hitting just three of his last 20 3-point attempts. He has done a decent job of rebounding the ball on the defensive end, but he needs to get back to being the guy that was attacking the offensive glass with no regard for human life on every possession… or at least something like that. Wilson is kind of a glue guy, and just another guard out on the court basically. He's solid on defense, and he passes really well, while providing a little help on the glass. He's not much of a scorer, and he's a poor shooter from the outside, though he will attempt some threes. He's not a guy who really worries you on the scouting report, but he's had a few games where teams have forgotten about him or he's been hot and he's put up a big offensive night. For instance, he score 19 points against Notre Dame early in the year when the Hawks took down the Fighting Irish.
Jeff Robinson Sr (6-10, 225) vs Ronald Roberts Sr (6-8, 220)
Robinson really struggled against Charlotte, finishing 0-for-5 from the field with three turnovers. He wasn't aggressive at all on the offensive end, and struggled defensively at times too. He did a decent job rebounding, which is important, and they will definitely need him to keep his effort on the glass up against Saint Joseph's. Fortunately for Robinson, none of the other bigs did anything to really take his spot back from him so we'll assume he stays in the starting rotation for now. He's going to have his hands full down low though, as Roberts is pretty much a beast inside. He's in the midst of a six-game stretch of scoring in double-figures, and in four of the six he's finished with a double-double. He's also a capable shot-blocker on the defensive end. He's going to do most of his damage right around the lane, and he's usually pretty efficient.
Moderate Edge St. Joseph's
Taylor was the only guy outside of Christon that was able to get any type of offense going in the loss at Charlotte. Despite having Braswell on him at times, he didn't really seem to have any trouble scoring on the 49ers' top big man. Defensively, Aiken is a step up from Braswell and the Hawks are similar to Charlotte in the sense that they're long and athletic around the rim. The one-on-one match-up shouldn't really matter as much, as the Hawks will likely play a lot of zone. Taylor and the rest of X's bigs may have some trouble finishing around the basket, similar to how we saw in the Charlotte game, with St. Joes' ranking 10th in the natin in blocked shot percentage. Aiken is a pro-type talent. He has great length and athleticism and can really impact the game around the rim on both ends. He's not always the most focused guy in the world, and he's best when he's playing with a high motor and scoring most of his points off dump-offs and put-backs. He will step out and attempt jumpers out to the 3-point line, but he's a 26.4 percent shooter from the outside, so Xavier will be content with him taking those shots.
Xavier Bench vs St. Joseph's Bench
Xavier has been starting Brad Redford in place of Dee Davis, but against Carl Jones, we'll assume that Davis will at least play the majority of the minutes. We could also see Mack play three guards a little more if Martin isn't getting it done. As always, getting any type of production from the bench, Redford and Philmore in particular, would be key. Expect Landon Amos to get some quality time with Galloway. St. Joseph's sixth man is a familiar name in Halil Kanacevic, who started last year against X, and played well. He's giving similar production to what he gave last year, and he's actually playing three minutes more per game, despite coming off the bench. He's an old-man styled wide-body forward, that scores in crafty ways using pump-fakes and using his big body to lean in and shield the ball. He's also a strong rebounder. That's about as deep as the Hawks go. There are a few other guys who will play a minute or two here and there, but their main core is just six guys.
Slight Edge St. Joseph's
This is a tough match-up for Xavier. St. Joseph's has a lot of length and athleticism, and while the Hawks' defense isn't dominant by any stretch, they do make it tough to score around the rim, which is where Xavier has most of its offensive success. That's why this game presents similar problems as the Charlotte game. The two teams play at a very similar pace, which means we'll likely see another ugly one in the low 60s, though St. Joseph's averages 69.9 points per game and has put up some impressive totals at times this year, so if they're playing well X could have a hard time keeping pace. While St. Joseph's 10-7 record, including 1-3 in the conference, isn't all that impressive, this is going to be a tough one for the Musketeers to pull off on the road.
Score Prediction: St. Joseph's 68 Xavier 61