The Matchups: Xavier vs Abilene Christian

Before every game MusketeerReport breaks down the position by position matchups for X's opponent. This edition focuses on Monday night's match-up against Abilene Christian at the Cintas Center.

Dee Davis Jr (6-0, 180) vs LaDarrien Williams Jr (5-10, 190)

Williams is a decent little guard with good feel for the game. He leads the team in scoring and assists, and is also active on the defensive end. So far he's been a little overwhelmed with the move to Division I. The diminutive guard isn't a good shooter, so scoring against bigger and faster defenders has been tough. He's been inefficient as a scorer, and will force a lot of bad shots off the bounce if Xavier stays in front and doesn't send him to the free-throw line. Davis is coming off of one of his best games as a Musketeer. He was lights out against Miami, connecting on 3-of-4 3-point attempts and 6-of-7 overall from the field to finish with a team-high 15 points. He'll get the same opportunities to knock down shots in this game against a weak Abilene Christian defense that is going to be flustered trying to figure out how to keep Christon from shooting layups.

Moderate Edge Xavier

Brandon Randolph Fr (6-1, 190) vs Parker Wentz So (5-9, 160 )

Wentz is pretty much a one-trick pony on offense, if for no other reason than because he's too small to do much else. He's going to float on the perimeter and look for threes. Last game he was 6-for-11 from beyond the arc and led the team with 19 points in the win over Northern New Mexico. Xavier has to fly out hard on Wentz when closing out to chase him off the 3-point line. Wentz was also active on the defensive end against Northern New Mexico with four steals. Randolph has gotten off to a great start for a freshman, but he hasn't shot the ball all that well, especially recently. Against Miami he was just 3-of-9 from the field, including 0-for-4 from 3-point range. The Musketeers won't need him to play well to win this game, but it'd be a good opportunity for him to get his shot going before heading to the Bahamas.

Significant Edge Xavier

Semaj Christon So (6-3, 190) vs Harrison Hawkins Jr (6-0, 175)

Hawkins is a big part of the Wildcats' offense. The athletic guard can handle it, pass it and create his own shot, which has been a trouble for some of his teammates. He has to force the issue on offense to try and create opportunities for himself and his teammates, which has led to bad shots and turnovers. In the win over Northern New Mexico he was just 1-of-7 from the field and had five turnovers. Christon had a field day driving against Miami's defense and finishing off layups. The new rules are clearly aiding his ability to score at the basket, and his confidence continues to build. Expect this to be another easy 20 point performance for the Musketeers' star.

Significant Edge Xavier

Isaiah Philmore Sr (6-8, 230) vs Austin Cooke So (6-7, 210)

Cooke is a skilled, face-up forward. He will play out on the perimeter and look to shoot threes, but he's also an adept passer. He's coming off of a 4-of-5 shooting performance, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range for 13 points to go with five assists and four rebounds. One thing Xavier will have to be wary of is Cooke looking to pick-and-pop. The way Xavier hedges screens with the big men make it tough to get out and defend the pick-and-pop action. Philmore didn't start against Miami because of a wrist injury he suffered in practice last week, but he's since been back to practice and should be fine. The wide-bodied forward should be able to dominate on the glass against the smaller Wildcats. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him get plenty of rest before the tournament later in the week in a game that should be an easy win for the Musketeers.

Moderate Edge Xavier

Matt Stainbrook Jr (6-10, 263) vs Jacob Lancaster Jr (6-10, 235)

Lancaster is the Wildcats' only true center in their rotation, but the big man has been a little overwhelmed against big Division I centers. He has decent length and has blocked six shots, but he's not nearly as strong as Stainbrook or Philmore. Stainbrook has been excellent through the first four wins. Not only has he made a major impact on offense, but he's been tough on defense, and has helped the Musketeers control the boards. This is another match-up that plays into Stainbrook's favor. He should be able to have his way in the post, but expect his minutes to be limited with three games later in the week.

Significant Edge Xavier

Xavier Bench vs Abilene Christian Bench

The Wildcats will go nine or 10 deep easily, but they don't have much more size. Riley Payne is a 6-5 forward that comes in to hack and play physical, and James Pegues is a 6-6 sophomore forward that can rebound and shoot out to the perimeter, though he doesn't get many touches on offense. ACU's backcourt options off the bench are pretty limited too. Julian Edmonson is a 6-1 junior that plays a lot of minutes and provides a little scoring pop at 6.0 points per game. The Wildcats just simply lack top Division I talent. This will be a good game for Xavier's bench to get plenty of minutes with the team playing three games in three days starting on Thursday. Jalen Reynolds and James Farr played a lot of minutes together against Miami, and looked good on the court together. The length and athleticism those two provide around the rim could wreak all types of havoc on this undersized ACU team. Justin Martin could very well start, as he did against Miami, but against the Wildcats' three-guard lineup it may make sense for Mack to go with three guards. Martin will play plenty of minutes either way, and should get plenty of opportunity to get in the flow and try to get going before the Battle for Atlantis. Also, Myles Davis could go off against a small ACU backcourt that

Significant Edge Xavier

Overall

This Abilene Christian team is a Division II team at this point still. The Wildcats have been dominated by the raised level of competition in their first year of DI action, including a 62-point loss to Iowa, which Xavier will see on Thursday. The Musketeers will dominate this game in just about every aspect. ACU will jack threes all game and try to make up for their lack of size by shooting over X. This is a game where the depth and competition for minutes keeps the Musketeers' focused and playing hard even when they get a big lead.

Score Prediction: Xavier 82 Abilene Christian 52


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