#30 Xavier Men's Basketball 2015-2106 Preview

Xavier Musketeers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #30
Conference Rank: #4 Big East

Xavier Team Page#30 Xavier Men's Basketball 2015-2106 PreviewBuy Xavier Basketball Tickets

Xavier made another Sweet Sixteen run last year, which was their fifth in eight years. It should not be a surprise anymore. Last year the Musketeers knocked off Mississippi and Georgia State before falling in a tough, hard fought game against Arizona. Their point guard and their big man are gone, but Coach Chris Mack has been down this road before. Trevon Bluiett, a 6-6 sophomore guard, is the new star of the team. Last year he averaged 11.0 points and 4.2 rebounds. He is lanky, but tough and can handle the ball pretty well for a 6-6 sophomore. He still has a ways to go, but Bluiett is a legitimate NBA prospect and this is his team now.

2014-15 Record: 23-14, 9-9
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Chris Mack
Coach Record: 134-71 at Xavier, 134-71 overall

Who’s Out:
Losing Dee Davis and Matt Stainbrook will put more pressure on Bluiett. Davis was never much of a scorer, but he was Xavier’s starting point guard the last three seasons. As a senior, he dished out 6.0 assists per game and committed a mere 2.4 turnovers. Finding another leader like that is not going to happen any time soon. Matt Stainbrook was the massive inside presence for Xavier. The big 6-10, 263 pound center averaged a team high 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds during his senior season. The only other loss is Brandon Randolph, who averaged just under ten minutes per game.

Who’s In:
Four freshmen will look to make an impact. Guard Ashanti Burgess will not likely play much this season and fellow guard Edmond Sumner saw limited action last season before taking a medical redshirt. The more intriguing newcomers are in the frontcourt where both Kaiser Gates and Makinde London could make a big splash. Gates is 6-8 and 205 pounds, but he can get up and down the floor. When Coach Mack wants to play big, he can put Gates at the small forward spot without any problem. London was a big time recruit for Xavier last year, but he was redshirted and used that time to add strength. The 6-10, 210 pounder is ready to grind it out in the Big East now.

Who to Watch:
The frontcourt already has some talent though with the return of James Farr and Jalen Reynolds. Farr is not much of a scorer, but he is a beast on the glass and a very experienced senior. Reynolds will take over for Stainbrook at the five spot. At 6-10 and 232 pounds, he will team up nicely with Farr, who is 6-10 and 247 pounds. That is a pretty big frontcourt. Reynolds averaged 9.9 points and 6.1 rebounds as a sophomore and that was while starting just three games. He should be a regular starter now and move his minutes per game up from 20.3 to about 25. Those two should form a very tough frontcourt to defend and if Gates and London live up to their potential, there will be enough depth too.

Final Projection:
The backcourt has options too. Myles Davis spent most of his sophomore season as a scorer off of the bench. He averaged 10.6 points and 2.1 assists and connected on a team high 63 three-pointers. Remy Abell is a very good three-point shooter too and the former Hoosier is ready to be a senior leader on this team. Even if Abell is not scoring, his defensive intensity will keep him on the floor. J.P. Macura is another capable shooter. He connected on 33.7 percent of his long range attempts as a freshman and should only be getting better. The most important player on the entire team though could be sophomore point guard Larry Austin Jr. He averaged just 4.3 minutes per game as a freshman and now he could be asked to run the show. He is a very good defender, but filling Dee Davis’ shoes is going to be tough. Sumner is an option there too, but he barely has any more experience than Austin. If the point guard position does not pan out, Xavier will go through some tough times. However, with decent play from the point, this is an NCAA Tournament team.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Larry Austin, Sophomore, Guard, 0.7 points per game
Remy Abell, Senior, Guard, 8.4 points per game
Trevon Bluiett, Sophomore, Guard, 11.0 points per game
James Farr, Senior, Forward, 4.2 points per game
Jalen Reynolds, Junior, Forward, 9.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.3 (42nd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.4 (195, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.5 (27, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.5 (201, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (182, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.1 (134, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.0 (49, 2)
Rebound Margin: 3.7 (66, 3)
Assists Per Game: 16.1 (10, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (130, 6)

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#129 Kaiser Gates


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