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2016 NCAA tournament preview: Xavier Musketeers

Xavier Musketeers

Record: 27-5 (14-4 Big East)

Head Coach: Chris Mack (7th season)

Season Recap: After an impressive regular season, Xavier and its high-powered offense will look to make a run deep into March. After starting the season unranked, the Musketeers went 6-1 against ranked opponents to rapidly ascend through the top 25— Xavier has spent the last nine weeks in the top eight of the AP Poll and finished second in the Big East. The Musketeer’s marquee victory came in an upset of then-No.1 Villanova after getting routed by the Wildcats by 31 points on Christmas Eve.

Xavier boasts one of the best offenses in the county—ranking 19th in offensive efficiency as measured by basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy—and also enters the Big Dance ranked 13th in the nation in rebounds per game. Five Musketeers average better than 9.5 points per game, but the team is led by guard Trevon Bluiett. The 6-foot-6 sophomore has averaged 15.5 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game and is one of several threats Xavier has in the backcourt, teaming with game-changing point guard Edmond Sumner and all-hustle sophomore J.P. Macura.

How they make a run: Sumner controls the game like a floor general playing beyond his years and the Musketeers get contributions up and down the lineup to survive an off game by Bluiett.

How they falter: Although Xavier scores plenty of points, it also gives up a lot. The Musketeers' carelessness with the ball—Mack's squad ranked 178th in the nation in turnovers per game during the regular season—and a cold shooting night leaves the door open for an upset.


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