Dee Davis SR (6-0, 170) vs Durrell McDonald JR (6-2, 173)
McDonald is an extremely athletic guard that can also shoot it from the outside. He has a solid all-around game that includes solid defense and the ability to score in multiple ways on offense. He came off the bench for the first time this year last game against Marquette, but still played 21 minutes and finished with 3 points on 1-of-4 shooting (all 3-pointers) and 5 steals. Davis played well for Xavier in the Georgetown win, finishing with 12 points and 5 assists while making his only 3-point attempt. It wasn't his best night, but he was solid at both ends.
Slight Edge Xavier
Remy Abell JR (6-4, 194) vs Billy Garrett Jr. SO (6-6, 205)
Garrett proved himself has one of the top players in the conference last year as a freshman, and has only improved in his second year at DePaul. Garett has a lot of natural tools to work with; including size, speed and athleticism. He likes to use his size when driving into the lane by shooting lots of lean-in jumpers over smaller defenders. He's a plus shooter off the dribble, which is what really makes him tough to cover, and he's always capable of getting to the rack. He's just an all-around talented player, and one of the best point guards in the conference. He’s second on the team with an average of 13.3 points per game to go with his team-best 3.2 assists. Abell was huge on both ends in the win over Georgetown. Over the last three games, he's averaging 14.3 points. Xavier is going to particularly rely on his defensive energy and leadership on the road during conference play, and he’ll have his hands full with another tough match-up in Garrett.
Slight Edge DePaul
Trevon Bluiett FR (6-6, 215) vs Jamee Crockett SR (6-4, 205)
Crockett is an energetic and athletic wing that will make hustle plays at either end of the court. He’s not a great scorer, but he manages to finds his fair share of points through his effort and he’s definitely not shy about shooting. He’s only shooting 33.3 percent from the outside, but he’s still attempting nearly four 3-pointers per game. He ranks fourth in DePaul’s balanced offensive attack with an average of 12.3 points per game. Bluiett had his worst performance so far of his young college career against Georgetown, finishing 0-for-6 from the field with 4 points. As Coach Mack pointed out after the game, he's been battling illness and missed practices in addition to the off days over the holidays, which isn't the best way to break out of a slump. The Musketeers could use him getting back on track in their first conference road game of the year.
James Farr JR (6-10, 244) vs Myke Henry JR (6-6, 228)
Henry is a good athlete with length that can also step out and shoot it from 3-point range (39.5%). He's also capable of attacking slower forwards off the bounce and finishing above the rim. With center Tommy Hamilton out last game, Henry stepped up and played bigger for the Blue Demons while they went with a smaller lineup. He’s currently their leading scorer at 13.9 points per game to go with 5.3 rebounds. Farr stepped up early in the win over Georgetown. He had a three and a tip-dunk during the Musketeers’ big first half run that built their double-digit lead. He finished with 9 points and 10 boards on 3-of-3 shooting from the field.
Slight Edge DePaul
Matt Stainbrook SR (6-10, 270) vs Tommy Hamilton SO (6-11, 255)
Hamilton is a super talented wide-body big man with size, skill and great feet. He worked hard in the offseason to get into much better shape this year. However, he still has some bad habits and is inconsistent on both ends of the court. He was suspended for the Blue Demons’ conference-opener against Marquette for a violation of team rules, but is expected to return against X. He can face-up and shoot or play off the bounce, and he's willing to pull the trigger all the way out to 3-point range. The Musketeers have to make sure he isn't able to step into rhythm jumpers or seal deep for easy post buckets early on to allow him to get in a groove. Hamilton could be a major factor, or he could become frustrated or disinterested. It just depends on how things go early for him, and which Tommy Hamilton shows up. Stainbrook was battling a stomach bug in addition to his toughest individual matchup of the season Wednesday might, but still managed to put forth a solid effort with 8 points and 7 rebounds while being leaned on by 350-plus pounds of Josh Smith all game. This isn’t a great match-up for Stainbrook because of the pace at which the Blue Demons play and the face-up style of all of their big men, including Hamilton. Last year, Stainbrook only averaged 6.5 points in the two games against DePaul.
Slight Edge Xavier
Xavier Bench vs DePaul Bench
Xavier is familiar with the Blue Demons’ top offensive weapon off the bench, 6-10 senior forward Forrest Robinson. Robinson came off the bench in the second game against the Musketeers last year at Cintas and hit 4-of-9 3-pointers to finish with 14 points in 13 minutes. They’ll have to do a better job of accounting for him in pick-and-pop situations this year. Junior 5-11 guard Aaron Simpson got the start last game over McDonald and finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. All four of his shot attempts came from 3-point range. The Blue Demons also bring Myles Davis’ former AAU teammate Darrick Wood off the bench as the only other player that sees significant minutes. Wood is averaging 5.1 points per game in 13.7 minutes. Despite shooting just 29.2 percent from 3-point range so far, he’s always looking to hoist a jumper when he gets on the floor. Xavier received huge contributions from its bench in the win over Georgetown, but none was bigger than Jalen Reynolds’ 17 points. This is another match-up that suits him well, so it will be interesting to see if he can keep the positive momentum he’s built up over the last few games rolling. Myles Davis was the only other bench player who scored in the Georgetown game for Xavier, finishing with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. The Musketeers’ depth could play a major role in this game as both teams are going to try and push the pace
Moderate Edge Xavier
DePaul still isn't good. They're unorganized and can't defend consistently enough to beat good teams. However, they are a different team than they were last year. Their two best players, Garrett Jr and Hamilton, are no longer freshmen, and the entire team plays with a little more energy and confidence. Beating Marquette to open conference play and snap a six-game losing streak probably helped add to that confidence as well. The Blue Demons play man-to-man defense in the half court, and like to try and apply as much pressure as possible on the ball. They'll also try to pick up the pace and press full court at times. Xavier has to make sure it takes care of the basketball and doesn’t get sucked into DePaul’s sloppy style of play. The other big key will be stopping the ball in transition and cutting off penetration/taking away pick-and-pops in ball-screen situations on the defensive end.