Xavier University, the lowest seed left in the NCAA “March Madness” tournament, will be playing against the University of Arizona. This will be the second time in three years these teams will face off in the Sweet Sixteen.
Not many people expected the Musketeers to get this far in the tournament. They lost two of their best point guards. They also went on a six-game losing streak between January and February. Many people didn’t even think they would make the tournament, but they were able to gather themselvesduring the Big East Tournament. They just secured a huge win against the Butler Bulldogs.
Now the Musketeers are rolling with Trevon Bluiett leading the way. He is averaging 25 points in the first two games of the tournament. He was going to enter last year’s NBA Draft, but decided to stay. If he wants to make a case to get drafted Buiett will need to continue playing the way he is, and also lead Xavier further into the tournament.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 21, 2017
Xavier loves to run a 1-2-2 zone throughout most of the game. This can be a problem for the Wildcats because the zone packs up the pain. Therefore, the Wildcats need to be able to hit open shots. They will get lots of open slooks on the wing, but they need to knock them down.
Another thing the Wildcats need to do is attack the offensive class. Due to the zone defense, the Xavier big men aren’t guarding a player, but a spot on the court. Therefore, they will have trouble finding a man and boxing them out for the rebound. Xavier gives up a lot of offensive rebounds because of that.
Even though the Musketeers’ zone defense packs the paint, which will be hard for the Wildcats to penetrate, they should still attack the rim. Xavier only play eight deep. Thus, the Wildcats should try get them in much foul trouble as possible.
Although much of the team has changed in the last two years, starters Bluiett and JP Macura were freshmen on the 2015 team that lost. Xavier will be looking for revenge from the 68-60 lost in 2015.