Edmond Sumner FR (6-6, 183) vs Haanif Cheatham FR (6-5, 190)
Sumner came off the bench and had 15 points (4-8 FG), five assists and three rebounds in his first game back from his concussion last time the Musketeers played Marquette. He was super aggressive in attacking the Golden Eagles' defense off the bounce, particularly in ball screen situations. For the season, he's averaging 10.4 points, 3.3 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game, while shooting 40.4 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range on 50 attempts. He had 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting with four assists, three steals, and three rebounds in Wednesday night's win over St. John's. Cheatham is a lead guard that excels when he's able to slice his way into the lane and make plays. Last time against the Musketeers, the zone turned him into a jump shooter, which is not his strength. He had two points on 0-for-4 shooting with three rebounds, an assist and three turnovers in 23 minutes in that game. For the season, he's averaging 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a steal in 27.7 minutes per game, while shooting 48.0 percent from the field, including 40 percent on 40 attempts from 3-point range. He had five points on 2-of-9 shooting in Wednesday night's loss to Seton Hall.
Slight Edge Xavier
Myles Davis JR (6-2, 188) vs Traci Carter FR (6-0, 175)
Davis couldn't hit a shot in the first game against Marquette. He finished 2-for-10 from the field, including 2-for-7 from 3-point range, and finished with six points, eight rebounds and four assists. He's averaging 11.1 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.3 assists in 29.0 minutes per game, while shooting 41.2 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from 3-point range. He had 16 points, all in the second half, to go with five assists and three rebounds in Wednesday night's win over St. John's. Carter is a pretty good distributor, but he settled for too many jump shots in the last game against Xavier. He had three points (1-7 FG, 1-4 3PT), seven assists, two steals and two rebounds in 21 minutes in that game. For the season, he's averaging 5.1 points, 4.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 22.7 minutes per game, while shooting 34.6 percent from the field, including 35.3 percent on 51 attempts from 3-point range. He had seven points on 3-of-6 shooting with three assists and five steals in Wednesday night's loss to Seton Hall.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Remy Abell SR (6-4, 197) vs Sandy Cohen SO (6-6, 200)
Abell didn't score in 15 minutes of action against the Golden Eagles the first time around this season. He finished 0-for-2 from three with two turnovers and a foul. For the season, he's averaging 6.3 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game, while shooting 39.1 percent from the field, including 34 percent from 3-point range on 47 attempts. He had eight points on 2-of-6 shooting with two rebounds and two assists in Wednesday night's win over St. John's. Cohen is a crafty wing with some length, but he wasn't aggressive at all in the first game against Xavier. He was 1-for-3 from the floor, all in the first half, and didn't attempt another shot in 25 minutes of action. He finished with three points, three assists and three rebounds. On the year, he's averaging 7.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 25.5 minutes per game. He's a capable 3-point shooter, hitting at a 35.4 percent clip on 65 attempts. He only played 11 minutes and missed all three of his shot attempts Wednesday night at Seton Hall.
Trevon Bluiett SO (6-6, 208) vs Henry Ellenson FR (6-11, 245)
Bluiett was a matchup problem last time for Marquette. He shook Ellenson in isolation every time the big man was guarding him, and he shot over the top of the smaller defenders the Golden Eagles tried on him. He finished with a team-high 18 points (5-13 FG, 2-7 3PT) to go with five rebounds and two steals. For the season, he's averaging a team-high 15.4 points per game to go with 6.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and a steal in 30.3 minutes per game, while shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from 3-point range. He's now scored 15 or more points in the last eight games, including Wednesday night's 15-point, 13-rebound effort on 4-of-14 shooting in 33 minutes against St. John's. Ellenson finished with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds and two assists in the first meeting between these teams. He really hurt the Musketeers running the floor in transition, where he scored six of his points. He also did a decent job of working the free throw line area against the 1-3-1 zone. For the season, he's averaging 16.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.7 blocks in 32.4 minutes per game. He's shooting 42.5 percent from the floor, and 28.8 percent from 3-point range on 73 attempts. He had 10 points (3-9 FG, 1-4 3PT) and 10 rebounds Wednesday night at Seton Hall, and had 31 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks last Saturday against Butler.
Jalen Reynolds JR (6-10, 238) vs Luke Fischer JR (6-11, 245 )
Reynolds only played 14 minutes and finished with five points and seven rebounds earlier this season against Marquette. He's averaging 9.6 points and 6.5 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game. He had nine points (4-6 FG), four rebounds, two assists and two blocks before fouling out in 14 minutes of action Wednesday night against St. John's, and he also went 1-of-8 at the free throw line. This is a game where he'll be defended one-on-one in the post, so it's possible that he could pose problems for Fischer if he gets it going. Fischer is a strong low-post scorer that can be a load for a lot of teams. He was 4-of-6 from the floor with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes of action the first time against Xavier. He scored twice against Reynolds early, and had a wide open dunk on a dump-off, but then went 1-for-3 the rest of the way. The 1-3-1 makes him less of a factor, because it's hard to get him the ball inside, and he doesn't take advantage of the zone's weakness by crashing the offensive glass. For the season, he's averaging 12.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 28.8 minutes per game. He had 17 points and six boards in Wednesday's loss to Seton Hall.
Xavier Bench vs Marquette Bench
James Farr (6-10, 244) seemed slightly hampered by his leg injury in Wednesday's win over St. John's. He played 21 minutes and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, but seemed to be laboring at different times. For the season, he's averaging 10.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. In the last game against Marquette, he was dominant, with 16 points and 19 rebounds. JP Macura (6-5, 203) had seven points and four assists last time against Marquette. He's averaging 8.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 21.2 minutes per game, but he's been playing with more confidence on the offensive end lately, having scored in double figures in each of the last three games. He had 12 points and a career-high seven rebounds in Wednesday night's win over St. John's. Sean O'Mara (6-10, 247) could see an increased role in this one if Farr is limited again or if the Musketeers get into foul trouble against Marquette's strong frontcourt. However, he didn't score or grab a rebound in five minute of action the last game against Marquette. He's averaging 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 8.1 minutes per game. For Marquette, JaJuan Johnson (6-5, 195) was aggressive off the bench last time against X, finishing with 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range. He's averaging 8.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 21.2 minutes per game. He had 15 points (5-8 FG), four rebounds, two assists and two steals Wednesday night at Seton Hall. Wally Ellenson (6-6, 210) had one of his better games of the season against Xavier, as he scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds in 20 minutes against the Musketeers. Since then, he's scored a combined three points and grabbed five rebounds in five games. For the season, he's averaging 1.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game. Duane Wilson (6-2, 185) was 2-for-15 from the field, including 1-for-10 from 3-point range, in the last game against Xavier. He's the Golden Eagles' third-leading scorer on the year with an average of 12.2 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting from the field, including 34.7 percent from 3-point range on a team-high 124 attempts. He's also averaging 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds. He had eight points and one rebound in Wednesday night's loss to Seton Hall.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Expect to see lots of 1-3-1 from Xavier in this one. The last time the two teams met, the Musketeers spent 59 of their 76 defensive possessions in the zone. Marquette has a handful of guards and wings that can make plays off the bounce if allowed to get into the lane, a lottery pick at the four that can do a little bit of everything, and a center that's difficult to stop in the post - all of which are threats when the Musketeers are in their man-to-man. However, none of those Marquette players are confident knockdown shooters from the perimeter or skilled passers, which makes it tough for them to create offense against the 1-3-1. Plus, the Golden Eagles aren't a good offensive rebounding team. On the the other end, Marquette will play mostly man-to-man, but it did bust out a 2-3 zone for 23 possessions last time against X. Bluiett and Sumner both caused them problems in the man-to-man, and this Xavier squad is never an ideal team to play zone against. For the most part, the Golden Eagles have done a great job of not fouling this year, but Xavier shot 26 free throws last time the teams played. If Xavier takes better care of the basketball than it did last time (15 turnovers), and shoots better from three at home (5-22 3PT at Marq) , then they should at least score more than 74 points this time around.
Predicted score: Xavier 82 Marquette 70