Dee Davis SR (6-0, 170) vs Keith Shamburger SR (5-11, 170)
Shamburger is a fifth-year transfer that previously played at Hawaii and San Jose State. He’s a pass-first point guard that can run the offense and defend at a pretty high level. He’s started every game so far and has been an important veteran influence for a very young roster and first-year head coach. He’s coming off a season-best 16 points in the Tigers last game, a win over Elon. He’s averaging 8.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds while playing nearly the entire game at point (32.6 mpg) for the Tigers. Davis played a horrendous first half of basketball against IUPUI, but responded in the second half to end up with a pretty solid overall performance – eight points (2-2 3PT), six assists, four steals and three turnovers. He’s averaging 8.2 points and 6.2 assists per game, but he’s yet to meet expectations so far in his senior year.
Slight Edge Xavier
Remy Abell JR (6-4, 194) vs Namon Wright FR (6-5, 200)
Wright is a freshman that made his first start three games ago when sophomore Wes Clark was suspended, and he has stuck in the lineup because of his build and ability to defend. He’s a long, wiry wing that is a decent athlete, and one of a few Tigers that are capable of knocking down a three (11-of-21, 52.4%). Wright gives head coach Kim Anderson a lot more size in his starting lineup, as opposed to when they play Clark, another 6-foot guard, alongside Shamburger. For the season, Wright's averaging 6.4 points per game in 15.2 minutes of action. Abell has been looking more and more valuable to this team as he settles in, particularly on the offensive end. He finished with 11 points (3-4 FG, 2-3 3PT), four rebounds and two assists in the win over IUPUI on Tuesday. He’s averaging 9.1 points, 2.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game on the year.
Slight Edge Xavier
Trevon Bluiett FR (6-6, 215) vs Montaque Gill-Caesar FR (6-6, 215)
Gill-Caesar is the Southeastern Conference’s leading freshman scorer at 13.6 points per game, which ranks 13th overall in the conference. That’s also best on his team. However, he’s shooting just 38.2 percent from the field and isn’t creating any looks for his teammates so far. He’s a talented scorer that has the potential to heat up and at any time. There have only been two games all season that he hasn’t scored in double figures. He’s a volume shooter that takes a lot of tough shots, but he’s also a good 3-point shooter (41.5%) that the Musketeers need to find. Bluiett led Xavier in scoring with 12 points and five rebounds in the win over IUPUI on Tuesday. He didn’t have his best shooting performance that night, finishing 0-of-3 from beyond the arc. For the year, he’s the team’s leading scorer at 14.7 points per game to go with his 4.8 boards and 2.0 assists. This should be a fun battle between to young and very talented scorers.
Slight Edge Xavier
James Farr JR (6-10, 244) vs Johnathan Williams III SO (6-9, 225)
Williams is a very talented player for the Tigers, and over the last three games he’s been on a tear, averaging 16.6 points per game to go with 9.0 rebounds. He’s an inside and out scoring threat with athleticism and length. He rebounds well at both ends of the court and is capable of protecting the rim on the defensive end. He’s not a knockdown shooter from the outside (5-of-15 33.3% 3FG), but don’t be surprised if you see him trying to pick-and-pop against the Musketeers. He leads the team in rebounding at 5.9 per game, and is second in scoring at 11.7. Farr had six points (3-of-3 FG) with five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot on Tuesday. It was a solid performance for the most part, but one key stat that’s starting to become a negative trend for Farr was his four turnovers in the win. He’s committed 14 turnovers in the last six games – not good for a forward who’s rarely asked to handle the ball. That’s something he needs to clean up. He’s the team’s leading rebounder and shot-blocker at 7.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks to go with his 5.1 points per game.
Slight Edge Missouri
Matt Stainbrook SR (6-10, 270) vs Ryan Rosburg JR (6-10, 264)
Rosburg is a big-bodied bruiser that lacks foot speed and athleticism. He averages 3.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game. He’s not really a scorer, but he’s effective in his role as a rebounder and a space-eater in the post for the Tigers as long as he doesn’t get ran off the court against super athletic opponents. This matchup could end up being a huge positive for Xavier. The longer Rosburg is on the court, the more Xavier can play Stainbrook without having to worry about him struggling to keep up on defense. Rosburg is a player built in the same mold as Stainbrook, but he’s nowhere near the same caliber. While this is one of the first times this year that Stainbrook will actually be battling against someone close to his own size this season, it might also be one of the most advantageous matchups he’s faced. He finished with only six points and four rebounds in the win over IUPUI. He’s the Musketeers’ second-leading scorer and rebounder at 14.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Significant Edge Xavier
Xavier Bench vs Missouri Bench
Point guard Wes Clark started the first six games for the Tigers, then got suspended for a game and has lost some playing time since he returned to the rotation. He’s a talented distributor that is fearless and tenacious on both ends of the court. D’Angelo Allen, a 6-7, 220-pound freshman forward, is another top weapon off the bench for Coach Anderson. He scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 21 minutes last game against Elon. Baylor transfer Deuce Bello, who had to sit out last season, is next off the bench. He’s not very skilled, but he’s a high-flying athlete that’s always capable of the big play. Six-foot freshman guard Tramaine Isabell rounds out the Tigers’ rotation. Xavier received 23 points from its bench in the win over IUPUI, including eight from J.P. Macura, who helped spark the Musketeers’ decisive run. The size head coach Chris Mack can bring off the bench with Jalen Reynolds or even Sean O’Mara should be a major boost against a Missouri team that is thin up front.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Missouri comes into the game shooting 39.6 percent from 3-point range, which ranks 45th in the country. They don’t shoot a ton of threes typically, but they’re not exactly shy about it either. Considering the way teams have attacked the Musketeers’’ defense so far this year, plan on the Tigers jacking their share of threes Saturday afternoon. This Missouri team is battle-tested. It’s played Arizona, Oklahoma and Purdue already this season and lost all three. The Tigers also lost to Kareem Richardson’s UMKC team in the season-opener. If the Musketeers are able to finish shots in their first true road game, they should be fine. Missouri isn’t a very good defensive team – they foul a lot and give up too many offensive rebounds. Offensively, they turn the ball over way too much and allow their opponents to go on big runs with extended droughts of their own. Xavier will have to limit its own turnovers after coughing it up 18 times against IUPUI on Tueday.