2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Xavier
Atlantic 10 (27-6, 14-2)
Big Wins: 11/23 vs Kent State (78-65), 11/24 vs Indiana (80-65), 2/24 at Dayton (57-51)
Bad Losses: 11/13 at Miami Ohio (57-59), 12/15 at Arizona State (55-77), 1/16 at Temple (59-78)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Second Round loss to Ohio State
Coach: Sean Miller (1-2 in 2 NCAA appearances)
Drew Lavender, Senior, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 4.3 apg
Stanley Burrell, Senior, Guard, 10.0 ppg, 3.8 apg
C.J. Anderson, Junior, Guard, 10.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg
Derrick Brown, Sophomore, Forward, 10.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg
Jason Love, Sophomore, Center, 6.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg
B.J. Raymond, Junior, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Dante Jackson, Freshman, Guard, 2.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg
Josh Duncan, Senior, Forward, 11.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Xavier has six solid scorers led by Drew Lavender and Josh Duncan. Lavender runs the team and averages 4.3 assists and only 1.7 turnovers per contest. He is also an opportunistic scorer and does a great job of taking what the defense gives him. He certainly has the ability to force the issue if his team needs him to look to score more often. Duncan has spent most of the year coming off the bench, but his versatility causes problems for the defense. The 6-9 senior can consistently hit the long ball or use his size and score in the paint.
The scoring on the wings has propelled the Musketeers into the top ten during the season. B.J. Raymond has become a superb sharpshooter off the bench and hits over 41 percent of his attempts from long range. C.J. Anderson, a transfer from Manhattan, will not hit the outside shot, but he does a great job getting to the basket. His ability to hit the glass from the wing has turned Xavier into a great rebounding team.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Over the past couple of years defense has been the sore spot for Xavier. Yet, that has been taken care of this season as the opposition only shoots about 40 percent against the Musketeers. That leaves depth, or lack there of, as the only real concern in Cincinnati. Coach Sean Miller pretty much has a seven man rotation. While all seven of those players could be starting on most teams, it still could become a problem. If foul trouble strikes early there are not many options and that would force everybody on the team to play more minutes than they are used to playing.
Who To Watch:
Derrick Brown is not just the Musketeer to watch because he is a great athlete who will certainly have a highlight dunk or two during the NCAA Tournament, but he plays an important role on Xavier. Brown leads the team in rebounding and will use his amazing jumping ability to grab boards it does not look like he should have a chance of getting. Brown has been pretty consistent this season, but if he runs into foul trouble Xavier might start losing the battle on the boards.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.0 (53rd in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.4 (45, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.1 (22, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.3 (31, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.0 (54, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.9 (13, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.0 (18, 2)
Rebound Margin: 6.0 (19, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.8 (37, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (90, 6)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to UCLA
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