Saturday marks the 3rd annual Skip Prosser Classic when Xavier (9-3) takes on Wake Forest (10-2).
Xavier is coming off a big road win v. Alabama on Saturday. They rallied from a 12-point deficit to string out a 77-74 victory, with strong performances from F Isaiah Philmore and F Matt Stainbrook. They now head home to take on Wake Forest this Saturday.
The Demon Deacons are coming off an 8-point win against UNC Greensboro, and have won their last four games. Their two losses on the year have come against Kansas and Tennessee. They will face their first "true" road game when they play at the Cintas Center this Saturday.
Wake Forest will be another challenging task for the Musketeers. The Demon Deacons are 10-2 on the year and are only a half game out of first place in the ACC. Wake Forest is a dominating team, with a physical front court; they are 9th in the country in rebounding. Xavier will need their front-court to have yet another strong performance to win the battle in the paint.
Wake Forest has an advantage over the Musketeers in scoring. Wake Forest as four of their starting five averaging double-digit points. The Musketeers have been very good this year shutting down opposing team’s leading scorers.
The key for Xavier will be free-throw shooting. The Musketeers are averaging 80 percent from the line in the last two games, after shooting near 60 percent to start the season. Xavier has to continue their good free throw shooting if they want to keep their four game winning streak alive.
Semaj Christon has his hands full guarding Codi Miller-McIntyre. McIntyre is averaging 17.5 ppg and shooting at a high percentage, 49 percent. McIntyre has the same play style as Christon. Both guards use their size and quickness to get to the basket. For Christon to win this matchup he has to force McIntyre to shoot from the perimeter. Matt Stainbrook vs Devin Thomas will be another interesting matchup. Stainbrook has dominated his matchups in the last two games in Jackson (UC) and Jacobs (ALA). Stainbrook has to win the rebounding battle and keep Thomas from scoring his 12 ppg. These are the two most important matchups of the game. For Xavier to win on Saturday, they will need to win these matchups.
Xavier will have its work cut out for them. They are going to have to play great defense and shut down Miller-McIntyre. The Musketeers have got to come away a head on the boards as well. The Musketeer's home court advantage may not make much of a difference sense Xavier students are away on break for the holidays. I have to give Wake Forest the win, 76-72. Wake Forest's rebounding and spread out scoring is the overall reason I pick them as the winner in this years Skip Prosser Classic.