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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
XAVIER

W - NOV. 9 FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON
L - NOV. 13 BUTLER
L - NOV. 17 ROBERT MORRIS
L - Nov. 22 vs. Pacific (Anaheim Classic)
L - Nov. 23 vs. Drexel/Saint Mary’s (Anaheim Classic)
W - Nov. 25 at Anaheim Classic
L - Dec. 1 at Purdue
W - DEC. 6 VANDERBILT
W - DEC. 9 KENT STATE
L - Dec. 19 at Cincinnati (at US Bank Arena)
W - DEC. 22 WOFFORD
L - Dec. 29 at Tennessee
L - Jan. 2 at Wake Forest
L - FEB. 26 MEMPHIS

NONCON FORECAST: 5-9

A-10 FORECAST: 5-11

OVERALL PREDICTION: 10-20.


Xavier is facing its worst year in A-1- history unless a numer of things happen: Semaj Christon plays like the rookie of the year; Travis Taylor plays like an all-conference player, Dee Davis makes a huge sophomore leap; and Brad Redford become more than just an situational outside threat. Oh, and the Muskies cannot afford any injuries!

Can it happen? sure. I am just not counting on it. Almost every team on X's schedule this year has a chance to win.

Farleigh Dickinson, fortunately, is not one of them. A 3-26 team last year, FDU has lots of new faces but Xavier should start out the new season with a W.

Butler comes to town next, pretending not to be an A-10 team. It's the first of Xavier's two losses this year to the deeper and more experienced Dogs.

Robert Morris is on the smallish, but the school returns most of its key players who won 26 games last year, including an excellent backcourt. I pick RMU to beat Xavier, but the Muskies can win if they take care of the ball, defender the perimeter and pound the smaller RMU frontcourt.

Heading out West for the Anaheim Classic, Xavier could lose all three games. Pacific lost 19 games last year, but the team wants to send their longtime coach off in fine fashion in the last season before he retires. All Pacific's starters return and they can be expected to use their numbers to try to wear the Muskies down.

If Xavier gets by Pacific, Drexel or St Marys await. Both teams are flat out better and I'd expecte X to lose.

In the third and final game of the tourney, X could face Rice or Drake. These are middling and beatable teams. Drake is better, with lots of veterans from squad that showed marked improvement last year. Rice, coached by former Cal headman Ben Braun, sufffered massive roster turnover due to a slew of turnovers.

I go conservative and call it a loss. X is 1-2 on the trip.

Xavier heads right back out to the road with a game at Purdue. That famous recruiting class from five years ago is gone and Matt Painter has had to replenish the roster. He reeled in a superb recruiting class and has a few good upperclassmen to lead the way. Not a great Boilermaker team, but certainly good enough to manhandle a weary Muskies team.

After almost a week of rest, Xavier welcomes Vanderbilt and Kent State to Cincinnati. Vandy has even more question marks than X - all five starters are gone and not a single player who returns averaged more than 4 points a game last year. X needs and gets this win.

Kent State is not as good as usual. The team has also turned over most of its roster in the past two years. X has the size and probably more overall talent to grab its second straight win.

Cincinnati lost Yancy Gates, but they return everybody else on an experienced team. Even in a rivalry game I don't see much hope for a depleted Xavier. The best thing about this game is that the Muskies don't have to go on the road or take a return flight home.

Wofford comes to town and X gets back in the win column. It won't be easy or pretty, though. Wofford is young, but always solidly coached.

Xavier goes on the road for its next two games at Tennessee and Wake Forest. Tennessee is being touted as a top 25 team. Vols have a excellent point guard in Trae Golden and a fleet of athletes - seems like Cuonzo Martins builds rosters much like Bruce Pearl.

Wake has been dreadful the past two years, but the Deacons have reeled in some strong recruits and have a few good veterans. A winnable game, for sure, but I have a hard time giving X the benefit of the doubt in any game given the team's roster makeup.

In a midseason showdown, X welcomes Memphis to the Queen City. Yet Memphis is too good and better at every position on the floor.
 

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Whoa.....this is gonna be an interesting discussion. 10 wins? I'm thinking around 13-14.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using VerticalSports.Com App
 

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Too many unknowns to really disagree with WH. Thankfully that's why they play the games. I'd be very surprised if X doesn't exceed these projections especially once the A10 season starts. It'll be fun watching these guys grow as the season progresses and next year should be back to normal expectations.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just hope X has no major injuries. This team cannot afford any.

Tough sked, but them, Chris Mack wasn't expecting all the extracurricular activity.
 

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WH, thanks for the forecast...but UGH. Oh well, thankfully we still play the games on the floor. You're right about Wofford, they are well coached and almost got us a couple years ago.

I think Xavier is better than 10-20. Mack proved in his first season that he can play with a short bench, and will be severely challenged to do so. Sure I wish we hadn't had all the distractions, but we can't change any of it.

Time to lace 'em up
 

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I think the OOC predictions are reasonable. Looking at X's schedule, I'd be very surprised if they only win 5 A-10 games. X has a pretty favorable conference schedule. There is still a decent amount of raw talent, although young, at Xavier this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When I look at Xavier, I scratch my head over how Mack can craft a winning formula.

X does not have the depth to be an uptempo team all game long.

They don't have a great halfcourt game.

They do not have a bevy of great defensive players.

What they DO have is one great shooter (Redford) - and hopefully two (Martin).

They DO have three legit A-10 big forwards.

I think Mack will have to build a team that runs selectively. Take advantage of Philmore, Robinson, Taylor and Martin on the break if the Muskies have the numbers.

There is a danger of turnovers with a freshman guard, but the X frontcourt is not built to be a low-post power. Muskies have to find a way to get some easy baskets in transition.

That said, X needs some low-post presence. The offense will have to throw the ball in occasionally to Taylor. X can also run a lot more picks than normal to try to free up Redford, Martin and Davis. They all have to shoot better than they did last year, however.

In an offense like this, big guys can roll off picks to receive open passes or hit the offensive glass if the shooters miss. Another way for X to get some inside points without needing a traditional post presence.

Maybe Christon turns out to be a good drive and dish guy, too. That would be huge.

Defense could be a problem, though. There's no lockdown defender and Davis and Redford are small guards. X won't be able to pressure the ball consistently - and Redford will always be a liability. It's critical for Christon to become a good defender quickly, but I am not sure you can count on that. Having Martin cover the A-10's two-guards regularly probably isn't kosher, either.

X is not thick inside, but the Muskies do have some length and shot-blocking ability. Foul trouble has to be avoided and they'll have to crash the boards harder than usual.

As hard as X tries, I simply cannot see this team being in the top half defensively in the A-10.

To sum up, Mack has an odd mix of young and old players on a short-staffed roster. They dont mesh well into any one style.

To me, Taylor, Martin and obviously Christon are the key. Taylor showed glimpses of his talent last year, but they were fleeting. He has to be that consistent inside guy. At 6-7 with the ability to swing between the 2 and 3, Martin's development is essential.

Sometimes a team is simply snake bit and bad stuff happens all year long. I suspect the same will happen to Xavier. A Murphy's Law kind of year, but Murphy aint done yet.
 

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Nobody gave Penn St. a chance and so far they are better than most thought. X has higher rated talent recruiting wise than any other A10 team. X's season will come down to sharing the basketball and playing great defense. If Criston can live up to his billing and Taylor and Martin become the players we thought they'd be X may surprise.
 

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WH, I think your projections and reasoning is quite sound. Before the loss of Dez Wells, I thought that with a little luck, Xavier could win a little over half their games. With him gone, I think it is reasonable to drop the win total to 10 or 11. His loss was a huge blow to the team.
 

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I think Xavier will have a better record than WH projects. I'm not sure exactly which games, but I would expect the Muskies to play better than they look on paper. Programs that win consistently have a carryover effect in transition year of the winning tradition. Winning is an expectation, and that counts for something.

Dayton had a year like this in Gregory's second year (a transition year after two straight NCAAs) when role playing upperclassmen and six freshman gutted out an 18-12 season to the surprise of most pundits.

George Washington shockingly won the A-10 Tourney in 2007 with lesser talent coming off back to back NCAA appearances. WH projected them to be 7th in the conference that year.

A winning culture means everything (which is why I will believe it when I see it with LaSalle). Anyway, XU will outperform 10-20. I'll go 16-14. :sigh:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I also think a winning habit means something. That's why I think Bona will do better than people think this year.

But sometimes just a lot of things go wrong. Temple went 6-10 and 12-18 overall in Dunphy's first year, a transition from the Chaney era. Dunphy had the same problem that Mack now faces. A lot less talent and depth than usual.

I hope I am wrong,especially for the noncon slate, but I don't see a player who's going to take charge. X usually has several players like that. Just gotta hope some players really rise to the occasion.
 

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I also think a winning habit means something. That's why I think Bona will do better than people think this year.
Agree completely on SBU. I forgot to point to them as the poster child for "riding the wave of winning" in this year's A-10.
 

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Agree completely on SBU. I forgot to point to them as the poster child for "riding the wave of winning" in this year's A-10.
So nice to be looking forward to this year, not the perennial "wait until next year!" that used to be the salve for losing seasons and no confidence.
 

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A lot less talent and depth than usual.
You're right, Xavier does have a lot less talent and depth than they usually do. But that doesn't matter. I'm not sure how comparing the 2012-13 Xavier team to the Xavier teams of the past that led X to A-10 championships and Sweet 16's nearly every year helps in your assessment of how X will do against the 2012-13 teams of the A-10. Sure X has a lot less talent than Xavier teams of the past, but is the talent that far off from the teams in the bottom half of 2/3 of the A-10? I'll take my "chances" and say X wins a couple more than 5 A-10 games.
 

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Xavier's conference schedule gives them a good number of the top tier teams at home, so they will win some games for sure. 4 or 5 home wins and 2 or 3 road wins. 6-8 wins in conference play is my guess.

The OOC schedule is brutal for that team this year. It'll be a struggle to do better than 7-7 OOC. Anything other than a 4-0 start and the snowball may just plow them over.

I think they have a puncher's chance of finishing over .500, provided they buy in on defense and consistently squeak out 62-58 wins. This is not a team that can win many games in the upper 70s and 80s. Wouldn't expect much more than 16 wins before Brooklyn, though. So much to ask of Semaj Christion...if he doesn't hit the ground running in stride, it could be a very, very long year. No one else can go out and create their own points.

It's one thing to have a 7 or 8 man rotation. They have 9 scholarship bodies, 3 of which have never played a game of D1 ball. That lack of depth and experience just wears on you. With a freshman guard being so important to them, practice minutes will be crucial, and they may not be able to run full practices by mid-January because guys will be so beaten down physically.
 

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I think that's a very fair assessment, Adam. OOC will be really rough. But A-10 play, I think X will do a lot better than most people think, particuarly given our schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
DarkFlyer;6959393George Washington shockingly won the A-10 Tourney in 2007 with lesser talent coming off back to back NCAA appearances. WH [URL="http://www.basketballforum.com/atlantic-10-conference/311594-whs-2006-2007-previews.html" said:
projected[/URL] them to be 7th in the conference that year.

Of course, GW had one of the best backcourts in the league that year. Carl Elliott and Mo Rice were both Third Team All-Conference picks. Elliott was also named to All Defensive Team.

Xavier will do much better than I expect if two of their guards are All-Conference picks.

I don't want to belabor the point, though. X fans know the team has its hands full. It will be interesting to see who steps up - and who doesn't.
 
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