The Matchups: Xavier vs IUPUI

Before every game, MusketeerReport breaks down the position-by-position matchups for X's opponent. This edition focuses on the Musketeers’ home game against IUPUI Tuesday night.

Dee Davis SR (6-0, 170) vs P.J. Boutte JR (5-9, 160)

As his size would suggest, Boutte is a quick, pass-first point guard. He averages 9.1 points (2nd on the team) and 4.6 assists (1st on team) per game. Against Ball State three weeks ago, he scored 16 points and hit the game-winner on a 15-foot runner as time expired in overtime. On the defensive end, he’s pesky and does a good job of getting up under ball-handlers. Davis was only 4-of-9 from the field and 1-of-3 from 3-point range in the win over Alabama, but the three he hit was a big one when Xavier was trying to keep its momentum rolling and pull away initially. He also dished out eight assists and had two steals on defense with three turnovers.

Slight Edge Xavier

Remy Abell JR (6-4, 194) vs Marcellus Barksdale JR (6-5, 210)

Barksdale is the best player on IUPUI’s team, and also their leading scorer at 10.0 points per game. In addition, he’s tied for the team-high in steals with 2.0 per game, second in rebounds with 4.4 per game and second in assists with 2.6 per game. He’s a very versatile player with good size and skills that can do a little bit of everything. Last year he spent nearly the entire season playing point guard and led the team in minutes, rebounds, assists and steals. Abell is coming off a well-rounded effort against Alabama where he scored 12 points (including hitting 2-of-4 from 3-point range), dished out five assists, grabbed four boards and recorded his first blocked shot of the season.

Slight Edge Xavier

Trevon Bluiett FR (6-6, 215) vs Mason Archie JR (6-5, 185)

Archie is a solid defensive-minded wing that can also knock down a jump shot. He comes into the game averaging 7.9 points. He was originally expected to have to sit out the first semester of this season after transferring from Davidson College last winter, but was named immediately eligible by the NCAA earlier this year and has started all seven games for the Jaguars. For the second straight game Bluiett was held to single digits (8 pts) against Alabama, although it was mostly due to his minutes being limited because of foul trouble and him not being too aggressive in a game that his team was easily winning. He did finish 2-of-4 from 3-point range after going 0-for-3 in the loss to Long Beach State.

Moderate Edge Xavier

James Farr JR (6-10, 244) vs Aaron Brennan FR (6-6, 200)

Brennan has started in IUPUI’s last five games after providing some scoring and rebounding off the bench in his collegiate debut at Purdue where he scored six points and grabbed five boards. He’s averaging 7.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game now. He’s a skilled face-up forward that will also mix it up on the glass and has a nose for the ball. The Musketeers will have to make sure they get a body on him on the offensive boards, which can be hard when a player is crashing from the perimeter. He’s likely going to have some serious issues in the paint dealing with Xavier’s size, though. He’s giving up significant inches and weight to every big man the Musketeers have in their rotation. Farr’s minutes were limited (17) due to foul trouble against Alabama, and as a result he only finished with two points and five boards. Lately, he's set the tone for the Musketeers on the boards, hauling in double-digit rebounds in three of the last five games.

Slight Edge Xavier

Matt Stainbrook SR (6-10, 270) vs Josh James SO (6-9, 225)

James is a long and lanky big man with a little bit of offensive skill, though he’s not very aggressive at all. He’s not a 3-point shooter, but he’s capable of knocking down the mid-range jumper. He’s averaging just 4.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game. This should be another one of those games where Xavier dominates the points in the paint stat line, and Stainbrook pads his gaudy field goal percentage. This is also probably one of those games where Mack will be able to rest Stainbrook a lot and save some mileage on his legs. Expect one of those 7-for-8 shooting performances with 15 points for the big man, and then plenty of minutes for Sean O’Mara.

Significant Edge Xavier

Xavier Bench vs IUPUI Bench

With their struggling 3-point defense, the Musketeers definitely need to keep an eye on redshirt freshman Leo Svete, who transferred from Western Michigan after missing the last two years with injuries, off the Jaguars' bench. Svete matched his career-high with four 3-pointers and scored a career-best 17 points in their loss to Evansville on Saturday. He's only shooting 33 percent so far, but he's shown the ability to get hot. The Jags are playing nine players at least 16 minutes per game. Six-foot-7 senior forward DavRon Williams is their sixth man, averaging 7.3 points and 6.6 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game off the bench. He’s a versatile player on offense that can score inside and out. Khufu Najee is a 6-4 athletic and rangy senior guard that sees 19.0 minutes per game. He’s a poor shooter, but can make plays on defense and in transition. It will be interesting to see how much he plays after missing the last four games due to injury. Also look out for 6-5 freshman guard D.J. McCall, who’s averaging 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game. He’s athletic with a good handle and positional size. Xavier received 55 points off its bench last game thanks to Myles Davis getting off for 18, J.P Macura scoring 13 and Jalen Reynolds adding 12. When the Musketeers get that type of spark and production from their bench, it’s brutal for the other team because there’s no letdown on the defensive end. In some cases, the Musketeers’ reserves – particularly the three mentioned – put even more pressure on the opposing defense. One interesting note was Larry Austin getting in for 6 minutes last game against Alabama. He played in the first half while the game was still very much in question, and Mack said after the game that he felt like Austin deserved it from the way he’d been practicing. Expect him to see a lot more playing time in this one. It should be interesting to see him and Sumner get more minutes at the point in a game where they have the opportunity to gain some confidence.

Moderate Edge Xavier

Overall

IUPUI comes into this game on a three-game losing skid following Saturday's 89-62 loss to Evansville. The Jaguars are a balanced team with no real go-to stars; nine players are averaging between 4-10 points per game and they've already had nine different leading scorers (including ties). Like the Musketeers, they also have a bunch of newcomers, seven total. Xavier has beaten the Jags by an average of 32.8 points per game in their previous four meetings. This year they've been susceptible to horrific offensive droughts where they struggle to take care of the ball, much less score points - one of those stretches led to a 19-0 first half run for Evansville on Saturday. If the Musketeers defend with any kind of urgency early in this game and they take care of the ball on offense, they should have no problem cruising to an easy win against a team that they outclass in just about every aspect.

Score Prediction: Xavier 99 IUPUI 69


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