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Xavier vs. Long Beach State: 3 Point Preview

The Musketeers face off against the 49ers for the second time in under 2 weeks.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

How will Xavier respond after their first loss of the season?

No one knows. There are seven new players on this team, so we have no idea. In last year's Thanksgiving tournament, Xavier lost their next two games after falling to Iowa. The 2013-14 team tended to lose in bundles after picking up a loss. Great teams go at least 2-1 in their Thanksgiving tournaments and pick up a win 48 hours after a loss. The Musketeers have a chance to be a great team this year, and winning tomorrow will be big for this young squad.

Can this team win when they fail to generate much offense?

I hope. Currently Xavier is tops in a lot of offensive categories. They are 15th in points per game, 6th in field goal percentage, and 2nd in assists per game. They still scored 73 points in their 73-77 loss to UTEP, but it was the first time all year they didn't score over 80 points. What's concerning is where Xavier stands in a couple defensive categories. They are 210th in points allowed per game and 177th in steals per game. Teams are scoring an average of 68 points against X, while the Musketeers are generating just 6.5 steals a game. On the year, they are averaging 86 points per game, but it seems they are in trouble when they score below that average. Long Beach is known for their strong offense, so if they fail to score, they may find themselves in a hole at some point during the game. Especially because of the trouble Xavier had with getting key stops against UTEP.

What happened the last time these two teams met at the Cintas Center 12 days ago?

Xavier ended up winning 97-74. The 97 points was the most scored by a Xavier team since 2012, and the 74 points they let up was the most points they have allowed this year besides in their loss against UTEP. Xavier attempted 31 threes and hit 13 of them in that game -- the most threes they hit in two years. If Xavier was not shooting so well from deep, then this game may have been closer. Long Beach State's zone defense forced Xavier to fire a lot from deep. Long Beach also played man-to-man early in that game. They were down 14-5 before they decided to adjust and switch to zone, which they will probably start out with tomorrow. The key for the Musketeers is to win the rebounding battle and play with more toughness then they did against UTEP. If they take care of the glass and leave it all out on the floor, then they should be feeling good on the plane ride back after the game.

Prediction: The second game between these two teams is much closer than the first game: X wins, 75-70.