Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, Elite Eight loss to UCLA
Coach: Sean Miller (4-3 in 3 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
One thing that has not changed regarding Xavier’s recent success is the defense. The 2008-2009 version of the Musketeers allows the opposition to shoot just 37.4 percent from the field. That is really good. The reason their opponents have so much trouble making shots is the presence of Jason Love and Kenny Frease under the basket. Love, a 6-9, 255 pound junior, will be the starter, but Frease is even more productive as a shot blocker. With either one of those two always hanging out in the paint, it is nearly impossible for the opposition to get an easy bucket.
The quality of the frontcourt also is noticeable in the rebounding department. Coach Sean Miller’s squad ranks fifth in the nation with an 8.8 rebounding margin. Love and Frease play their part, but it is really a team effort on the glass. High flying power forward Derrick Brown has developed into the team’s superstar and a dynamic scorer, but he does not forget about his duties on the glass. Wings B.J. Raymond and C.J. Anderson are both 6-6 and use their size to grab plenty of boards. Even little used Jamel McLean averages 4.0 boards per contest.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The only players who do not need to get on the glass are the point guards. But that is where the Musketeers have some issues. The team commits nearly 16 turnovers per game, ranking a dismal 275th in the nation. Dante Jackson, a 6-5 sophomore, was starting at the point early in the campaign, but he will still play just as many minutes, if not more, than Terrell Holloway. Holloway had a very slow start to freshman campaign, but he seems to be improving every game. However, the play of the point guards will be the determining factor for Xavier in the NCAA Tournament.
Who To Watch:
Raymond and Anderson do a lot more than play solid defense and hit the glass. It is the scoring on the wings that has propelled the Musketeers into the top ten during the season. The senior duo both average over 11 points per game, but they score in very different ways. Raymond is the shooter and he hits 2.2 three-pointers per game. But he does more than just shoot, Raymond will use his size to get to, and finish, around the rim. Anderson’s game is just about finishing. He rarely takes a three-point shot, but he does do a magnificent job getting to the basket and getting to the foul line. When Raymond and Anderson both score in double digits, Xavier has not lost during the 2008-2009 campaign.
Terrell Holloway, Freshman, Guard
B.J. Raymond, Senior, Guard
C.J. Anderson, Senior, Guard
Derrick Brown, Junior, Forward
Jason Love, Junior, Center
Kenny Frease, Freshman, Center
Dante Jackson, Sophomore, Guard
Jamel McLean, Sophomore, Forward
Brad Redford, Freshman, Guard
+ Following final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!