How to Watch, Listen, and Stream
Game Time: Saturday December 3, 3:30 P.M.
Radio: 700 WLW
TV. ESPN2. Rich Hollenberg and Sean Farnham on the call.
Baylor opened as a four point favorite according to OddsShark. The odds bumped up to 5/5.5 points in their favorite later.
Baylor is 2-0 in its previous meetings against Xavier, including a 75-70 win in the 2012 Sweet Sixteen.
No. 7 Xavier and No. 9 Baylor are both 7-0 on the season.
Baylor earned its Top 10 ranking after winning last week’s Battle 4 Atlantis; they picked up wins over VCU, Michigan State, and No. 14 Louisville.
Xavier is coming off of an 85-55 win over North Dakota State on Tuesday.
Xavier is only shooting 32 percent from the 3-point line on the season. Against Baylor’s signature 1-3-1 zone, Xavier’s guards, especially Edmond Sumner, Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura will need to shoot a better percentage from beyond the arc.
Xavier’s best option to score against this zone, designed to take away action in the corners and around the rim, is sharpshooting. If the Musketeers’ guards’ struggles continue, Baylor will stunt their offense, force turnovers, and take control over the pace of the game.
Baylor is led in scoring by Johnathan Motley, who averages 16 points and eight rebounds per game. The Battle 4 Atlantis’ Most Outstanding Player will be the best rebounder and post presence on the floor on Saturday. He is joined in the frontcourt by Jo Lual-Acuil, Jr., one of the best shot blockers in the country. Lual-Acuil Jr. totaled six blocks against the Louisville Cardinals in the Battle 4 Atlantis final. His formidable presence in the paint will make it difficult for Xavier to attack the rim and secure offensive rebounds.
Limiting their influence will be key to Xavier’s success.
Player to Watch: J.P. Macura
Louisville guards Donovan Mitchell and Quentin Snider had the most success against Baylor’s defense last weekend and scored more than half of the Cardinals’ points. Macura, Xavier’s leading scorer and rebounder, will be critical to their success. His 3-point shooting ability will be a vital part of breaking Baylor’s zone. Also, his wingspan and quickness should help Xavier equalize the rebounding battle between these Top 10 teams.