#40 Xavier Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Xavier Musketeers

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #40
Conference Rank: #3 Big East

Xavier Team Page#40 Xavier Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Xavier Basketball Tickets

Xavier surprised many by finishing 10-8 in Big East play and reaching the NCAA Tournament. The expectations were much lower than that according to most, but the Musketeers once again proved their naysayers wrong. They just snuck into the NCAA Tournament and lost one of the play-in games to North Carolina State. This year Coach Chris Mack hopes for more tournament success, but there is some rebuilding to do without three starters. One player Xavier can rely on is Matt Stainbrook. The 6-10 senior center averaged 10.6 points and 7.4 rebounds and the offense will work through the efficient big man.

2013-14 Record: 21-13, 10-8
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Chris Mack
Coach Record: 111-57 at Xavier, 111-57 overall

Who’s Out:
There were not many minutes when Semaj Christon was on the bench. He was the heart and soul of the Xavier backcourt and led the way with 17.0 points and 4.2 assists. Christon has done everything for this team over the last two years and it will be a big change without him on the floor. Justin Martin stepped up for his junior season, averaging 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds. The 6-6 forward started knocking down a lot of shots and connected on 37.3 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, but will spend his senior season at SMU. Isaiah Philmore was a great banger next to Stainbrook in the paint. His toughness led to 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. The only other departure is little used Erik Stenger.

Who’s In:
Despite those massive losses, Xavier’s future and present is in great shape thanks to a superb recruiting class. On top of six freshmen, the Musketeers will also gain the services of Remy Abell. The Indiana transfer was a role player for the Hoosiers in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, but he can do much more for this group. At the least, Abell will be a dangerous outside shooter. The freshmen in the backcourt include Larry Austin, J.P. Macura and Edmond Sumner. Austin will battle for the backup point guard job and Macura is a great shooter who works hard on both ends of the floor. Small forward Trevon Bluiett is the highest regarded recruit of the bunch. The 6-6 Indianapolis, Indiana native is a light’s out shooter who could very well turn into Xavier’s top scorer. Power forward Makinde London has the athleticism to earn quality minutes right away and center Sean O’Mara adds more size to the roster, but will need to gain strength.

Who to Watch:
The backcourt is already crowded just with the newcomers, but this team does return Dee Davis and Myles Davis. Like Christon, Dee Davis is a scoring point guard. The two of them worked well together, but now Dee will have to run the show on his own. He dished out 4.7 assists per game and committed a mere 1.9 turnovers. Myles is another one of those outside shooting options. He had a solid freshman campaign and will be a key part of the backcourt rotation once again. However, Myles does need to mix up his offensive game a little more and spend some time attacking the basket if he wants to be more than a shooter off of the bench. Brandon Randolph is another promising sophomore who showed some flashes as a freshman. He will likely battle it out with the newcomers for minutes off of the bench.

Final Projection:
The depth in the backcourt is impressive and the options in the frontcourt are nearly as good. London and O’Mara should be good for some minutes and James Farr and Jalen Reynolds are both options to start beside Stainbrook. Farr was much more efficient offensively during his sophomore season than he was as a freshman. He still may want to shoot from outside too much, but he did knock down 38.0 percent of his three-point attempts. At 6-10 and 247 pounds, he can mix it up in the paint too. Farr averaged 3.9 rebounds per game last season while averaging just 12.4 minutes per game. Reynolds is strong on the glass too and is a more traditional power forward on the offensive end. Coach Mack has a lot of options with this group and as long as Dee Davis and Matt Stainbrook can provide leadership, the pieces will fall in around them.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Dee Davis, Senior, Guard, 7.7 points per game
Myles Davis, Sophomore, Guard, 5.3 points per game
Trevon Blueitt, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
James Farr, Junior, Forward, 4.6 points per game
Matt Stainbrook, Senior, Center, 10.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.8 (141st in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.1 (118, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (42, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.1 (145, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.1 (284, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (146, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.8 (202, 8)
Rebound Margin: 4.2 (44, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (54, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (188, 9)

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#39 Trevon Bluiett
#94 Makinde London
#104 Edmond Sumner


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