The up-and-down season for the Xavier Musketeers continues on. The Musketeers have gone 2-2 over their last four games and their record currently stands at 7-5 on the year. It’s their worst start to a season since the 2012-13 season and just the third time they’ve been 7-5 through their first 12 seasons since the 2001-02 campaign.
In both instances that they’ve been 7-5, they have dropped down to 7-6. In the 2004-05 season, the Musketeers dropped one to the Fordham Rams to fall to that record. And in the 2012-13 season, Xavier lost to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons down in Winston-Salem. Is the third time the charm? We’ll find out on Friday night when Xavier battles the Detroit-Mercy Titans.
Mike Davis’ first season as head coach of the Titans hasn’t gone off on the right foot. They’re 3-8 to this point and have lost each of their last five games. They had a three-game win streak going, starting up after their loss to the Big East’s Butler Bulldogs. But, that ended on November 28 and Detroit hasn’t won since.
Detroit’s schedule is a bit intriguing in the sense that they’ve played seven teams from the MAC. Seven! They’ve gone 2-5 against them, winning against the Bowling Green Falcons and Eastern Michigan Eagles. The others have been from the American (Temple Owls), the Big East (Butler, Xavier), Patriot League (Loyola-MD Greyhounds) and Atlantic 10 (Dayton Flyers).
The Titans have excelled at shooting the 3-point ball this season. They’ve taken quite a lot of shots from deep (43.6 percent of their FGs have come from 3-point land), gotten plenty of their points from there (43.5 percent — 4th-highest in the nation) and have shot 37.9 percent, a full four points better than the D1 average. Their best shooters include freshman Antoine Davis and seniors Josh McFolley and Derrien King.
Xavier will have to hope to withstand the barrage since their perimeter defense hasn’t been great this season. Granted, their last three games have provided some hope. They have given up marks of 34.8 percent, 31.6 percent and 27.8 percent in their three last contests. While those numbers have gone up each time progressively, 34.8 percent isn’t exactly shooting the lights out. If the Musketeers can hold Detroit to under their average, they may stand a solid chance of keeping them very quiet on the scoreboard.
Despite their struggles, Detroit is not a very good team, so Xavier should be able to win this game. If they lose to the Titans, then we can really sound the alarm. However, a game where Xavier is projected to win by 16 points with a 93 percent WP% on KenPom probably shouldn’t instill any nightmares about, well, anything going on right now.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Watch Online: Fox Sports Go