Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Type of School: Private Jesuit University
Mascot: D’Artagnan the Musketeer and The Blue Blob
Head Coach - Sean Miller
Years at Xavier: 7 (‘05 - ’09’) (‘23 - Current)
Career Record: 451 - 166
Conference Championships: 12 (8 regular season, 4 tournament)
NCAA Appearances: 12
Kenpom Style of Play
() = National Ranking per Kenpom
Adj. Efficiency: 110.7 (37)
Adj. Tempo: 73.9 (52)
Avg. Poss. Length: 15.7 (83)
Adj. Efficiency: 94.6 (43)
Adj. Tempo: 73.9 (52)
Avg. Poss. Length: 17.3 (205)
Kenpom 4 Factors
() = National Ranking per Kenpom
Effective FG%: 52.7 (127)
Turnover %: 18.7 (188)
Off. Reb. %: 30.9 (151)
FTA/FGA: 36.1 (140)
Effective FG%: 37.2 (20)
Turnover %: 21.5 (85)
Off. Reb. %: 34.5 (262)
FTA/FGA: 28.8 (121)
|Point Guard||20||Dayvion McKnight||Sr.||6'0"||190||Western Kentucky||27||6||4||4.5||0||2|
|Shooting Guard||8||Quincy Olivari||Sr.||6'3"||200||Rice||28.5||15||3.5||3.5||0||1.5|
|Center||24||Abou Ousmane||Sr.||6'10"||240||North Texas||23||10||1||7||1||1.5|
|Point Guard / Guard||0||Trey Green||Fr.||6'0"||160||19||5||2.5||1||0||1.5|
Xavier is a guard and wing-oriented team that wants to play in transition whenever possible. If one of their guards or wings rebounds the ball, they’ll turn and push in transition. If one of their big men pulls down a rebound, you get the handoff to the nearest guard/wing and a push.
Desmond Claude is their go-to scorer this season with returning scorers from last season, Jerome Hunter and Zach Freemantle, out, potentially for the season. I’m not sure Xavier could have worse luck. Freemantle injured his foot last year, had a setback over the summer, and could miss the entire season. Hunter, coming off a great NCAA tournament, had a cardiac event working out this summer and could also potentially miss the rest of the season. Sean Miller had to rework this team on the fly, and Claude is the new designated superstar.
Claude poses an interesting question for Matt Painter for Purdue. I don’t see a good matchup for Claude in the current three-man starting lineup. He’s too big for Smith and Jones and too athletic for Loyer off the dribble. The Boilermakers have a great defensive matchup on the bench for the 6’6”, 205-pound wing in Ethan Morton if he’s healthy.
Does Painter substitute offense for defense, knowing that if he slows down Claude, Xavier doesn’t have enough offense to win?
Does Painter ride with the current starting lineup and hope Loyer’s offense is able to keep pace with Claude?
In the past, Matt has tinkered with his starting lineup, but I’ve never felt it was matchup dependent. This season, he could tinker with both the small forward and power forward spots. If the other team has an athletic wing like Claude, he could use Morton. If he wants more shooting around Zach, he could go with Loyer.
I think you’ll see him stick with his starting five, but don’t be surprised to see Morton off the bench early if Claude heats up. That could earn Ethan extra minutes in this game and cut into Camden Heide’s minutes.
Sorry, I digress, back to Xavier’s offense.
They play 4 around 1 and look to spread the court and use their agile big men for rebounding and pick and rolls. North Texas transfer Abou Ousmane played 16 minutes for North Texas in their NCAA tournament upset of Purdue, and he’ll be a tough matchup for Zach Edey on Monday. He moves well for his size and is a strong, athletic rebounder. Sean Miller is going to spread the floor, run pick and roll with his guards and wing and see how well Zach moves his feet.
Basically, Xavier wants to push the ball in transition when possible. When things slow down, they’ll hunt matchups on the perimeter and run pick and roll with Ousmane and pick and pop with Nemeiksa.
One other thing. Beware the Xavier bench.
They play 2 freshman guards who come in, push the pace, and have no fear. Trey Green is a four-star, top 100 freshman and is a blur with the ball in his hands. He could be an issue for Purdue’s second unit. Lance Jones better be ready because this is the type of small, athletic guard matchup that Matt Painter brought him in to handle. Here’s a hint Lance. Green is attempting 5.5 3-pointers a game and connecting on .5 3-pointers per game for a smoking .91 average. I’d back off and invite Mr. Green to shoot until he proves his ability to make them matches his desire to take them.
Dailyn Swain is a 4*, top 100 wing out of Columbus, Ohio who wants to get out and run with his classmate Trey Green. He’s an athletic wing and a capable finisher at the rim and will pull the trigger from deep, but is a little more selective than Green. When Xavier puts Green at the point and both Swain and Claude on the wing, they fly down the court after defensive rebounds, Purdue’s second unit better be ready to run.
Matchup to Watch
Desmond Claude vs Fletcher Loyer
The cool thing about moving Loyer to the wing from his shooting guard spot last season in order to make way for the addition of Lance Jones is that Purdue puts a ton of shooting on the floor around Edey with the first unit.
The bad thing about moving Loyer to the wing from his shooting guard spot last season in order to make way for the addition of Lance is that Purdue gets smaller and less athletic on the wing with Ethan Morton on the bench.
It’s an offense-for-defense trade, and I’m all about that in modern college basketball, but now Loyer has to prove he can hang on the wing against a talented scorer. Look for the 3-5 pick-and-roll early from Xavier with Claude and Ousmane going two-on-two with Loyer and Edey. How Loyer handles the 6’6” Claude could go a long way in determining his role as the season progresses and the wings get more athletic.
Purdue - 83
Xavier - 70
Purdue - 89
Xavier - 77
When this game was announced, it was supposed to be a battle between two of the better frontcourts in the nation. Now, with Xavier’s unusual injury problems in the frontcourt, it becomes another game that Purdue is going to have to play in transition, at least on defense. Xavier is going to see if Purdue will run with them, and I think they’re going to be disappointed in the result.
If the Musketeers come out and try to play with Purdue, the Boilermakers will blow them off the court. I think Sean Miller manages the game in a way that keeps his team close but might lessen their overall chances of winning. For Xavier to beat Purdue, they need to push the pace and outscore the Boilermakers. Trying to outscore Purdue, especially in a high-possession game, is asking to be on the wrong side of a beatdown.
I think they split the difference, play at a moderate pace, and give Purdue some issues with their floor spacing and pick-and-roll offense, but they don’t have anything for Purdue on defense. The Boilermakers punish them in the paint, push the tempo on offense, and win the game going away in the second half.