Quentin Goodin FR (6-4, 194) vs Madison Jones SR (6-2, 160)
Jones is a small point guard that does a decent job of making plays for his teammates but he also has a really high turnover rate. He's averaging 5.6 points (41.1% FG, 33.3% 3PT) and 3.6 assists in 26.6 minutes per game. He hasn't scored in double-figures yet in conference play. When he does get in the scoring column, it's typically off of spot-up jumpers or transition opportunities. Goodin will get the second start of his career and see his role greatly increased in this game. He's averaging 3.5 points (43.6% FG, 33.3% 3PT) and 2.0 assists in 14.9 minutes. He played really well the last two games, particularly in Sunday's win at St. John's when he had 16 points (4-5 FG, 1-1 3PT), two assists, one steal, one rebound, and one turnover in 25 minutes. It will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of being the team's floor general for 35-plus minutes per night now that Edmond Sumner is out for the season with an ACL injury.
Slight Edge Xavier
JP Macura JR (6-5, 203) vs Khadeen Carrington JR (6-4, 195)
Carrington is an athletic guard has been playing at a high level all season. He's scored more points off of ball screens this year than any other play type. He has a tight handle and he shoots really well off the dribble. He's the Pirates' leading scorer at 17.2 points per game (44.2% FG, 39.6% 3PT) to go with 2.9 assists, and 2.9 rebounds in 32.5 minutes per game. He hasn't been shooting well from the outside as of late. Over the last four games, he's hit 4-of-23 (17.3%) attempts from deep, including an 0-for-7 performance in the Pirates' last game against Butler. Macura could take on increased ballhandling duties as the backup point guard now with Sumner out of the lineup. He's had multiple turnovers for six-straight games, including Sunday's four-turnover performance against St. John's. He's averaging 14.4 points (42.6% FG, 34% 3PT), 4.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 32.2 minutes per game. Xavier flat out needs him to step up and carry a more consistent load on offense going forward without Sumner.
Slight Edge Seton Hall
Malcolm Bernard SR (6-6, 202) vs Desi Rodriguez JR (6-6, 215)
Rodriguez is a big, athletic wing that is an excellent spot-up shooter and can also score in plenty of other ways. He'll get to the rim in transition, he'll come off ball-screens and hit a floater, he'll cut to the rim, he'll get on the offensive glass, he'll score in isolation and he'll draw fouls. He's averaging 16.1 points (47.2% FG, 38.8% 3PT) and 5.2 rebounds in 30.1 minutes per game. He was smoking hot on the offensive end two weeks ago but has cooled off a bit over the last two games, hitting just 2-of-8 from three while averaging 11.5 points in a win over St. John's and a loss to Butler. Bernard's defense is going to be even more crucial to Xavier now without Sumner on the floor, especially in this matchup with Seton Hall's athletic guards. He's averaging 6.0 points (39.8% FG, 37.3% 3PT) and 4.0 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game. He's coming off a forgettable performance at St. John's where he went 2-for-8 from the field and 0-for-4 from deep with four points, three boards, an assist, and four turnovers in 25 minutes.
Moderate Edge Seton Hall
Trevon Bluiett JR (6-6, 198) vs Ismael Sanogo JR (6-8, 215)
Sanogo is only on the court for his athleticism, rebounding, and defense. He's rarely involved in the offense if he's not setting a screen. His only points come in finisher situations or an occasional putback. He's averaging 3.4 points (42.1% FG) and 6.8 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game. He has an extremely high turnover rate for someone who doesn't have the ball in his hands very often. Bluiett has hit his stride over the last two games and seems to be riding a hot streak. He's averaging a team-high 18.5 points per game (43.7% FG, 37% 3PT), 5.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 34 minutes per game. Over the last three games, he averaged 28.3 points per game while knocking down 15-of-22 attempts from 3-point range (68%). He'll have to carry this team now more than ever and he'll have to do so with increased defensive attention on him.
Significant Edge Xavier
Tyrique Jones FR (6-7, 237) vs Angel Delgado JR (6-10, 240)
Delgado is the best big man in the conference. He scores well with multiple moves in the post, dominates on the glass, and his teammates find him in pick-and-rolls and other cuts to the rim. He's averaging 14.6 points (54.8% FG) and 12.9 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game. He has the highest defensive rebounding percentage in conference play and the fourth highest offensive rebounding percentage. Jones got his first start of his career on Sunday at Madison Square Garden and struggled to finish, finishing with 2 points (1-6 FG) and 6 rebounds in 16 minutes. He was far from perfect but he was still the best out of the Xavier bigs and it would seem he'd retain his starting spot for at least another game.
Moderate Edge Seton Hall
Xavier Bench vs Seton Hall Bench
Freshman Myles Powell (6-2, 195) is a stocky shooting guard that has struggled with his shot this season. He's averaging 10.2 points (37.8% FG, 32% 3PT) and 2.3 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. He's attempted more 3-pointers (122) than anyone else on his team. Michael Nzei is an athletic forward that plays low on the baseline and makes himself available for dump-off opportunities as a finisher. He's averaging 5.0 points (66.1% FG) and 3.7 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game. For Xavier, Kaiser Gates is probably the most intriguing option left on the bench. He still gives this team some upside on both ends of the court if he excels in an increased role. He's averaging 5.2 points (36.5% FG, 32.8% 3PT) and 3.5 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game. He couldn't get anything to go down on offense against St. John's but he did come up with some key rebounds that led to second-chance opportunities for others. He finished with 2 points (0-4 FG, 0-3 3PT) and nine boards in 19 minutes. Gaston is averaging 6.8 points (54.1% FG) and 6.4 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game. He struggled at St. John's, picking up early fouls and turning the ball over four times. He finished with four points (1-2 FG) and four boards. O'Mara is averaging 5.6 points (56.6% FG) and 3.1 rebounds in 13 minutes per game. He too struggled at St. John's, finishing with two points (1-3 FG), two rebounds, and a turnover in eight minutes of action.
Slight Edge Xavier
Seton Hall is currently sitting at 58th overall in the country according to KenPom.com, with the 105th most efficient offense and the 43rd most efficient defense. The Pirates haven't shot the ball well all year from the perimeter or at the charity stripe. They use their toughness and athleticism to create high-percentage 2-point looks, draw fouls, and play bully ball on the offensive glass. Their top three players - Carrington, Delgado, and Rodriguez - are as good as there is in the conference, but they lack talent after that. The Pirates have played mostly man-to-man this year (93% of the time) but it's almost certain we'll see a little more of their extended matchup zone where they really pressure the ball and try to force turnovers, considering Goodin is the Musketeers' only point guard available now. It's impossible to know how the Musketeers will react in their first game without Sumner, but if they play close to their usual level and make a few shots then they should still have enough to pull out the win over the Pirates at home.
Predicted Score: Xavier 75 Seton Hall 72