Xavier 2010 NCAA Tournament Preview
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Xavier Musketeers - Big 12 Conference (23-9, 11-5)
Seed: #5 - East Region
Big Wins: 2/6 Baylor (78-71), 2/27 Texas (74-58), 3/3 Oklahoma State (76-61)
Bad Losses: 12/22 at Washington (64-73), 1/16 at Texas (67-72), 1/27 at Oklahoma State (69-76)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, Second Round loss to Connecticut
Coach: Mark Turgeon (4-3 in 3 NCAA appearances)
Probable Xavier Starters:
Dash Harris, Sophomore, Guard, 5.0 ppg, 3.3 apg
Donald Sloan, Senior, Guard, 18.2 ppg, 2.2 apg
Khris Middleton, Freshman, Forward, 7.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
David Loubeau, Sophomore, Forward, 9.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Bryan Davis, Senior, Forward, 9.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Key Xavier Roleplayers:
Naji Hibbert, Freshman, Guard, 1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg
B.J. Holmes, Junior, Guard, 9.3 ppg, 1.8 apg
Nathan Walkup, Junior, Forward, 5.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Why The Musketeers Can Surprise:
The Musketeers are by no means a team that slows down the tempo of a game, but they are among the leaders in the nation in turnovers per game, committing a mere 12.4 per contest. Sophomore Dash Harris deserves a lot of credit for keeping Texas A&M under control while running the floor. Harris is not much of a scoring threat, but that is not a problem on this team. As long as he can continue to dish out 3.3 assists per game and only turn the ball over 1.7 times, Coach Mark Turgeon’s offense will run smoothly. However, a wrist injury suffered in the conference tournament may limit Harris’ effectiveness in the NCAA Tournament.
Fellow guards B.J. Holmes and Donald Sloan deserve some accolades for the low turnover numbers, but they do much more than that. Holmes will provide a great spark off the bench and is the team’s most prolific long range shooter. Sloan is the other capable shooter on the team, especially with the season ending injury to Derrick Roland, but Sloan is more than just a shooter. He does a great job using his 6-3 frame to get to the basket and averages 18.2 points per game.
Why The Musketeers Can Disappoint:
Despite all the decent scorers, this is not a great shooting team. Sloan and Holmes are the only two players on the team that are legitimate outside shooting threats and neither of them are very consistent. Forwards Nathan Walkup and Khris Middleton will both test their shooting range and connect on less than 30 percent of their attempts from long range. The Musketeers are smart enough not to waste possessions by jacking up three pointers all the time, but it would be nice if there were a couple players that the opposition had to defend on the perimeter. And that could be why Walkup and Middleton continue to attempt the outside shot, but they are much more effective mixing it up in the paint or looking for an open 15-footer.
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Who To Watch for Xavier:
And it is not like the Musketeers do not get open looks on the perimeter. Bryan Davis and David Loubeau are both capable interior scorers and that should lead to open looks on the perimeter. At the least it should lead to buckets for Davis and Loubeau. Davis, a 6-9, 250 pound senior, averages nearly ten points per game and is also the team’s best rebounder. Loubeau is not as big as Davis, but he is a great player to have on the bench or in the starting lineup and he averages 9.0 points and 4.6 rebounds and all of that is in only about 22 minutes per game.
Xavier By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.0 (103rd in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.4 (78, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (134, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.4 (53, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (174, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.3 (201, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.4 (272, 11)
Rebound Margin: 2.9 (85, 5)
Assists Per Game: 12.1 (229, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (67, 2)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite 8 loss to Villanova