Where: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV
When: 5 p.m. (EST)
Watch On: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Go
Line: Xavier -17.5
All-Time Record: Xavier 27-9
Xavier is looking to win its third straight holiday tournament and kicks off the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational against former Atlantic 10 foe George Washington.
The Musketeers shouldn't have any trouble with the Colonials, who are projected to finish in the bottom half of the A10.
They do, however, boast three double-digit scorers in Patrick Steeves (12.8 ppg, 5.3 rebounds per game), Jair Bolden (13.3 ppg, 4 apg) and Yuta Wantanabe, who is averaging nearly a double-double with 13.5 ppg and 9.3 rebounds per game.
No surprise here, but Trevon Bluiett leads the Big East in scoring with an astounding 24.3 points per game and has scored at least 20 points in Xavier’s first four games of the season.
The Musketeers rank first in the Big East and fifth nationally in scoring percentage at 56.8 percent. The tandem of Bluiett and J.P. Macura are the nation’s leading active scoring duo with 2,790 combined points. hscorinpercentagescorinpercentage (delete)
What to watch for
Sharing is Caring
Xavier is unselfish and valuing the rock this season, boasting a top-20 assist per game total with 20.8. Quentin Goodin leads the team with 6 assists per game. While Bluiett will undoubtedly carry the bulk of the team’s scoring output, if it wants to be successful down the stretch, it’s going to take a true team effort because a great player is only as good as the team around him.
A Breakout Game for a Newcomer
Graduate transfer Kerem Kanter came away with a solid 15 points in Xavier’s last game against Hampton, but I’m itching for a game where one of the freshmen has a breakout performance. Although young, all three will most likely figure into the rotation this year. By year’s end, Naji Marshall can become the bonafide sixth man. Paul Scruggs will get minutes and develop alongside Goodin and Elias Harden will be a valuable long-range scoring threat with his shooting ability.
Bounce back game for Macura
J.P. looked flustered a bit against Hampton with only two points and even picked up a technical foul, but look for Macura to have a bounce-back game against George Washington. Macura is easily the second best player on the team and even if he isn’t lighting up the stat sheet, his scrappy and hard-edged mentality often dictates his production. Nonetheless, he has proven to be able to score through multiple avenues and doesn’t rely as much on his three-point game which is a huge plus for the Musketeers.
The Musketeers will be bringing a sword to a gunfight in this one, but for all intents and purposes, it is safe to say that they will take down the Colonials fairly easily.