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Different look Xavier squad to host UD Saturday
by Drew Formentini,posted Jan 13 2011 11:35PM
There is a noticeable piece missing from Xavier’s roster this year that has been a cornerstone to their success in recent years.
This year’s Musketeers will host UD on Saturday night without a pure scorer as they’ve had in the past ala Jordan Crawford, Derrick Brown, Josh Duncan or B.J. Raymond.
Now before you tell me I’m crazy because Tu Holloway averages 20 points per contest and has carried this team to its 10-5 record thus far, hear me out.
Balanced has been the term used to characterize recent Xavier teams. They play a smart brand of basketball, with great confidence and are constantly talking about the importance of team play over individual success.
Though this year, it’s been the Tu Holloway show without the reliable supporting cast. Yes Mark Lyons averages over 12 points though he’s streaky shooting 37% from the field. Kenny Frease has been good in the post, but does not have the ability to take over a game. And Jamel McLean and Dante’ Jackson are talented role players, but lack the scoring prowess of their former teammates.
That said, the matchup between UD point guard Juwan Staten and Holloway will likely be the deciding factor in the game.
If Staten, and other UD guards, can contain Holloway off the dribble and limit his open looks forcing other Musketeers to make plays, UD will have a shot. If I were Brian Gregory, I’d be content to make anyone else on Xavier beat me, whether it be from the perimeter or the interior. The offensive firepower they’ve had in the past isn’t there this year, especially considering the season ending ACL injury that sharpshooting Brad Redford suffered earlier this season.
UD hasn’t won at Xavier in 30 years. And this years Flyer team hasn’t exactly blown anybody out of the gym yet.
Though Xavier is not as strong as they’ve been in years past. And if UD is still serious about making a run in conference play, they’d better play their best game of the year Saturday night.