#76 Xavier Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Xavier Musketeers

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #76
Conference Rank: #8 Big East

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#76 Xavier Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Xavier Basketball Tickets

Behind an often anemic offense, Xavier limped to a 17-14 overall record, an opening round loss to St. Joe’s in the A-10 Tournament and failed to secure a trip to any postseason appearance. Of course the big news though is about the Musketeers move to the new Big East. The addition of Butler and Creighton may be more impressive when it comes to the 2013-2014 campaign, but the Musketeers have a great program that will be a serious contender in their new conference very soon. If this group is going to be a contender right away, it will be on the shoulders of Semaj Christon. As a freshman last season, the 6-3 guard averaged 15.2 points and 4.6 assists. Christon can get to the basket and finish with ease, or at least get to the charity stripe. If Christon can avoid freshmen mistakes and start knocking down shots with more consistency, he will be one of the best players in the country.

2012-13 Record: 17-14, 9-7
2012-13 Postseason: None
Coach: Chris Mack
Coach Record: 90-44 at Xavier, 90-44 overall

Who’s Out:
Losing starting forwards Travis Taylor and Jeff Robinson will hamper Xavier’s rebounding. Taylor led the squad with 9.0 boards per contest and Robinson added 4.8. Taylor was also the best interior scorer on the team, shooting 54.3 percent from the floor and averaging 11.9 points. Also out is sharpshooter Brad Redford. He knocked down over two three-pointers per game during his senior season. While Redford was never a threat to attack the basket, he always provided an offensive spark.

Who’s In:
One thing that Xavier lacked last season was a big body in the paint. Smaller and more athletic did not really work. Matt Stainbrook will put an end to smaller and more athletic. The 6-10, 263 pound transfer from Western Michigan is not going to be able to hit the glass as effectively as Taylor, but he is a very good shooter and passer for a player his size. Two years ago with the Broncos Stainbrook averaged 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds and proved to be a great player to run the offense through. Stainbrook will be joined by his brother, freshman walk-on Tim Stainbrook. Jalen Reynolds could spend some time up front with Stainbrook. Reynolds is a great athlete who can hit the glass, but he has to develop his interior scoring and his defense before he can play major minutes. Small forward Kamall Richards is a decent shooter and there are minutes to be had at the three spot, but Coach Chris Mack may end up playing big or small while Richards develops his game. Myles Davis and Brandon Randolph are expected to contribute as freshmen. Davis is a dynamic scorer who can hit the long ball with consistency and occasionally attack the basket. Randolph is the point guard of the future and, for now, he will be a great backup.

Who to Watch:
Despite the loss of Taylor and Robinson, there is some talent in the frontcourt. Justin Martin started 27 games during the 2012-2013 campaign and averaged 7.9 points and 4.7 rebounds. The 6-6 junior still needs to find his outside shot, but once he does, Martin will be another dynamic scoring option for Xavier. Isaiah Philmore was a beast at Towson, but failed to make the same impact during his first season with the Musketeers. Expecting numbers like 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds like he posted at Towson is not realistic, yet he can do better than the 7.5 points and 5.0 rebound averages he had in 2012-2013. Erik Stenger will again provide some depth, but the unit as a whole could be better with the size Stainbrook brings into the paint.

Final Projection:
With Christon leading the way, Xavier has the potential to be a big surprise team in the Big East. They will need Stainbrook to come in and immediately provide an interior scoring punch, while Martin and Philmore pick up their rebounding. Christon also needs help from up and down point guard Dee Davis. Davis is a tough player who will never be afraid to drive the lane and he did dish out 3.4 assists per game, but there is room for improvement. He is not a very efficient scorer and Davis has lacked consistency. It is not a good thing when your point guard seems to disappear for long stretches at a time. With the new depth on the perimeter, Davis should see his minutes decrease, although he will almost certainly start on day one and be a huge part of the regular rotation. If he is ready to take the next step, the Musketeers will have a backcourt that is more than just Christon carrying the load. Christon can carry this team, but that is exactly what he did last year and the result was disappointing for Xavier.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Dee Davis, Junior, Guard, 8.2 points per game
Semaj Christon, Sophomore, Guard, 15.2 points per game
Justin Martin, Junior, Forward, 7.9 points per game
Isaiah Philmore, Senior, Forward, 7.5 points per game
Matt Stainbrook, Junior, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.2 (228th in nation, 14th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.5 (65, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.6 (58, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.5 (67, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (316, 14)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (NA, NA)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.7 (259, 13)
Rebound Margin: 4.8 (39, 3)
Assists Per Game: 11.2 (286, 15)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (149, 8)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#29 Semaj Christon

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#116 Brandon Randolph


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