Xavier NIT basketball preview!

#68 R.P.I. Xavier vs. #12o R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball returns to the hardwood after a Memphis Hardaway or a Penny fo’ our had a chance and did actually control Tempo sharply thoughts.

The Hokies even took the lead with 4-n-change to play and yet could not A.B.C. (always be closing) on ex-Metro Conference rival Memphis State. Now, the Gobblers draw a Big East team that most have right on the pre-season Big Dance or March Madness bubble. As Xavier enters this contest at 4 up and 1 down on the year to date. Having just gone second-half cold vs. Iowa State in the N.I.T. semis on Thanksgiving Eve nite. On Thanksgiving nite+1, we now draw a pretty good hoops team with a nearly very good backcourt in the Musketeers of Xavier fame. Nonetheless, you wanna know who is gonna win and by how much, rights? So, read on… to finds, out!

Xavier Head CoachTravis Andrew Steele: Age=4o, 55–38 (.585) overall and @Xavier. Has a rep’ for recruiting/building and for defense and G-play.

Steele began coaching as an undergraduate at Butler University, assisting the varsity boys basketball team at nearby Ben Davis HS from 2001 to 2004. He served one season as a graduate manager at Ohio State before landing his first college coaching position as an assistant coach at Wabash Valley in 2005. Steele moved on to Indiana, where he started as the team’s video coordinator in 2006, and was elevated to an assistant coach for the remainder of the 2008 season after Kelvin Sampson’s contract was terminated by the Hoosiers as a result of NCAA recruiting violations.

Home Court Advantage, 1o1…

After Indiana, Steele was hired by Sean Miller at Xavier for the 2008-09 season. Steele was retained by Chris Mack after Miller accepted the Arizona head coaching position, and has been a part of a Musketeers program that has been to eight NCAA tournaments, including an Elite Eight run in 2017, as well as being part of two Atlantic 10 regular-season titles, and one Big East regular-season title.

On March 31, 2018, Steele was promoted to head coach to become the 18th head coach in Xavier history, replacing Mack who departed for Louisville. Travis Steele began his first season (2018 – 2019) with an entirely new coaching staff and a depleted bench, having lost most of Xavier’s starters from the previous season to graduation or early declaration for the NBA draft. Xavier would enter the Big East part of their schedule at 8-5 in the non-conference schedule. Despite an early 6-game losing streak in the Big East conference schedule, Steele was able to lead the Musketeers on an end of the regular-season rally, winning 6 of their last 7 regular season conference match-ups. Xavier finished 3rd in the Big East (9-9) heading into the conference tourney. Likely needing a Big East championship to make the NCAA tournament, Xavier was able to win their first Big East tournament match-up against Creighton, before losing to Villanova in overtime in the Big East tournament semi-final. At 18-15, Xavier qualified for the NIT tournament and would fall in the 2nd Round on the road to the eventual NIT tournament champions, Texas, in overtime. Xavier would finish Travis Steele’s first season as head coach at 19-16 (9-9).

From what Eye could triune website find…Baller Steele never stole much of anything.
As this appears to be one of the extremely rarefied D-1 big-whistles to have never run ball!

Daddy Steele, the brother of former XU assistant and current Akron head coach John Groce, was born Nov. 12, 1981 in Danville, Indiana. He and his wife Amanda reside in Cincinnati
with their six-year-old son, Winston, and their son Anderson Michael.
Steele.edu graduated cum laude from Butler in May of 2004,
earning a bachelor of science degree in marketing.

Xavier at a glance:

  • 14th in S.W.A.T. teaming!!!
  • 28th on the offensive glass!!
  • 40th on the defensive backboard!!
  • 45th in FG% allowed D!
  • 86th in Swipes.
  • 32oth in 3-point shooting% O!!
  • (2 injuries listed… Coach God twice bless!!)

Returning Starters=4

Xavier Strengths:

  • VERY backcourt or G-centric team.
  • There is/was bucu experience to burn here… tho’…
  • (Will go with quad-G looks at times for it). Tho’ some of this is now born of bastardized Training Room necessity I fear.
  • 6′5″, 2oo lb., Sr. by way of hoops happy Indianapolis, Indiana. Or, Paul Scruggs: who drops yah: 15.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, on 4.0 apg with 2.0 spg and 1.0 bpg; which is a pretty fair-to-middling stat-line straight across. As he paces Xavier in: Scoring, Assisting and in Stealing alike. And is 2nd-placed or your silver medalist in FT-shooting (80%). Big East’s dime-dropping leader last year in point of fact (apg). Determined looking Lead-G on tape. Does field a history of dings, plural; both collegiate and scholastic alike. Although is also All-Big East Honor Rolled and that never hurt anything post-hoops (pardon the double entendre). Nicknamed: ‘Scrizzel’ —did not see what that one meant, or the why/for? Seems a mite streaky on his game-log to me. Pops clean on scoring (or assisting) for uppercase numbers in either cat’, and then pops-off for a few games on the lesser end. Chillin’-out baller here recently, and that X’s-out Xavier’s O in a hurry; (as they are already missing a real keen one down below). Tho’ Paul was named 1st-string All-Big East preseason to boot. This dood is good, very good when he suddenly goes crazy on the offensive end.
  • 6′6″, 2o7 lb., Sophomoric, Wing, Colby Jones has improved. So have his: 13.0 ppg and his alpha 9.5 rpg! Now mix in: 2.5 apg and the team blue-ribbon at 1.3 bpg with 1.6 spg and you’ve got a sudden candidate for Xavier Team M.V.P. on your all-’round hands in a hurry. Or a super-glue guy who really sticks around the stat-sheet and is very adhesive to putting up complete-game numbers throughout the same. All Big-East Freshman Team last year and his 4-star ranking from Rivals; that checked in at No. 131 respectively in the 247sports national rankings mighta been ah, clue. As this kid might just have enough total game to export himself in a year or three. And he might have mo’ than that if his offensive game and 25% from deep can sign an extension of sorts. Good player, who individually does a lot lot lot for his team. As he did a lot down in ‘Bama two years back… cutting down the Alabama Class AAAAAAA State Championship nets and also winning the septa-A Statewide Player of the year award as well. Tritto his roundball sprouting family tree: what with Pops who played basketball at U.A.B. And siblings: Marcus, Cairon, Trent, and Christian who have all run college ball. With Cairon (C.J.) who played at Arkansas and Middle Tennessee State before turning pro this past year. Yes, that counts; and this kid can prolly count on an overseas pay-stub (or better) if he’s not real careful.
  • Nate Johnson is a 6′4″, 192 lb., final-year off-G, who is basically your fourth option on O drops you: 9.6 ppg with 4.2 rpg on 1.4 apg. Helluva an outside shooter too! 2nd best in the Big East in 3-point-percentage and only 4th best in the whole entire nation last year (46.2%) all conspire to say so. Down ≅10% on his 3-ball thus far this campaign. Tho’ history says his range is the gym, if he is in it he is, open! As Nate routinely gets you low-teens in scoring most nights. Gardner-Webb transfer baller, who already packs his undergrad GW.edu punch. Good Miami area H.S. playar who has blossomed all the mo’ in next-level terms. As the recruiting services did not properly service this guy’s career chances here. As this kid here-n-there is prone to an outburst look from deep every few games give/take. As he was only tabbed Lindy’s Big East Best Shooter preseason earlier this year.
  • 6′4″, 18o lb., final-year Adam Kunkel and his: 11.3 ppg, 2.8 rp, and 2.5 apg, all on a twine-tickling 42% long with 81% on FTA’s are: QUESTIONABLE (non-cv19-ILLNESS related) for this one here. He did sit the Iowa State game, and that is all Eye found here. Godspeed/God Bless on whatever this one encodes for? As Xavier took a Belmont 17.7 transferring peach-(basket) here. This kid looks bigger/stronger than his listings indicate to. As Adam would be anyone else’s best pure 2-Guard or spot-up-shooter by far. And the presence of his absence would be a very offensive attendance misfire for these Musketeers. This is not a high-scoring team, and there is a sporting chance that Mr. Kunkel is the least clanky shooter on any floor he steps out onto on any given nite.

    …this dood is good, if/when he gets back. Godspeed!

Xavier Weaknesses:

  • Not a lotta frontcourt love here.
  • Only departed 2 guys last year, one a partial back-up and the other a scrub.
  • And the killer is… this backcourting team is suffering a 1-2-3-Wing cold-snap as shooting from trifecta land goes of late. They are better than this… tho’… when?
  • …accordingly, there is a finesse tag in play here, or maybe even a team that does not love contact or you gettin’ in their, shirt(s).
  • …additionally, a kinda thin frontline is thinner for the injury to: one no.32, P/F: Zach Freemantle (OUT, foot, St.Sebastian bless). Z is a 6′9″, 217 lb., pogo-stick Four who only dropped you 16.1 points last year and only collected you 9.3 misses. With legit 3-point range (32% long) and a pretty fiesty/competitive looking floor-game to boot. Freemantle is said to be back soon, tho’ that seems mo’ like the 12th month to me. Although and either way, this kid is a very credible Big, and this is NO small subtraction from the Xavier starting line-up here. Not at all. Godspeed @Z. 2nd-team All-Big East preseason and named Lindy’s: Best Big East Rebounder for it as well.

Musketeers Bench: (depth=2)

7′, 245 lb., strapping-looking (hardship) r-Junior year Jack Nunge is the one legit paint-player Xavier can field at the moment. Jack nudges the needle at: 9.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.8 spg, and 1.8 bpg. Which is not the worst work in relief if you can get it. Is it? Said to be a physical plugger with an unusually diverse skill-set for his strengthy look. Iowa transfer Post who won a lotta BIG-10 academic thingys. Does however have a history of knee blow-outs. St.Nikkon bless! Dad (deceased: God Help) played basketball at the University of Rochester and mom’s played basketball and softball at Central College in Iowa. All she-siblings play something somewhere, Volleyball @Illinois, Volleyball @Norte Dame. So, there is a Genome look for height in this family’s sporting D.N.A. Has improved every season, slowly; steadily, surely, less this year which has experienced a near 200% boon in scoring itself. As you gotta wonder just where this kid is on 2 good-wheels? As he is not ½-bad as is. Jack has been feelin’ and stroking it of late. Hot player here men. Prolly close to a 1-man X-factor as this contest gets.

Dwon Odom is a: 6′2″, 182 lb., second-season backup One for Xavier. Kinda has a football Ss look-n-feel to his sawed-off sparkplug build. Odom is you one true backcourt sub’ on a now injury-shortened pine squad. And he is the Xavier defensive-stopper for it. With: 5.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, and the team lead at: 2.0 spg. Will play hard-nosed DET.Piston era on the ball D and is kinda built like the microwave himself. 3.11 assist:turnover ratio shows he knows ball-handling parsimony itself. VHT kid too (very highly touted). 4-star rankings from 247sports, Rivals, and ESPN … as d.O. logged in at No. 55 overall (and as the: No. 9 point guard) on 247sports. A lot is expected here, and there is a bit of a ways to go expectationally if I may. From this H.S. high-scoring tho single-A back-to-back Georgian state titlist. Ask back in a year or so… as this one seems to want to be a fringe overseas pro’, with mo’ P.T. and looks.

Winning the back-up game to the Championship Game is all about what(s)?

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Illationconclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Musketeers who could volley @Tech=4, maybe even 4.5.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… one could be fairly taken with either squad here.

As both seem destined to take to the post-season; at least to me.

The only real calculus is… at which level of post-season itself?

As neither one strikes me as anything less than N.I.T. And frankly there is a fair-t0-middling chance that each one will get to flex their NC2A bracketology in the third month of 2o22.

As each club is prolly not less than Top-4 in two really hard-azz hoops conference calls.
Making the only call here… which one is ready/up from the jump for this one here?


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for an A.c.c. round-the-horn ask-back re-up here.

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… VeeTee is up a useful lookoing+7% in shooting percentage margin (nearly evenly O & D split); with V.P.I. up a staggering 29% in 3-point percentage margin (Xavier has been chilly here, and being 2nd-best in 3-point% allowed D never hurt anyone), with Xavier up +7 caroms on the fiberglass and in rebounding margin.

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… Xavier needs to play uno mas game in… in shooting percentage margin, in 3-point percentage margin, and in rebounding margin.

Armchair Pt.Guard’s:

Xavier is up +6 in R&R in the last fortnight+.
VeeTee is up +5% at the charity stripe for the year.
VeeTee is .ooo as a neutral; whereas Xavier is .ooo as a Swiss.

The Call...

No.89 Net Ranking Xavier vs. no.92 Net Ranking Virginia Tech:

…so, methinks this is a touch-n-go tough consolation game test.

7:33 PM kick-off!

As in… which team is really up to play here after a disappointing alike game #1?  That’s code for leadership (baller/internally) or motivating (coach/externally).

In addition to that… and with those subjective objections to making this pick… Xavier did not seem to warm to the late November Brooklyn gym on the opening N.I.T. night. The Musketeers are also a bit dinged/dented-up and frankly… now might not be the worst time to play ’em.


That sense of timing is through no credit of our own… granted… and yet that does tip things off-court into our on-court Friday Night hardwood favor.

This is NOT a bet-everything-you-own call… not a steal thy neighbor’s dog, hoc him and bet him to typea call. As Xavier is better than they have showcased so far.

The only glitch/caveat being… when can they R.A.T.T. go’on and show, full???

In lieu of anything else… Coach Washington Irving and I will go Gotham with that.
VeeTee does just enough to win in an Ichy Crane sleepy-hollow-looking
3rd vs. 4th place kinda run here.




(59% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=73, Xavier=62

please support the VT F.C.A.!









3 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. …strange team to ‘cap…

      …as one could be forgiven for wondering out loud if Xavier is not per se: “due”.


  1. Let’s hope the starters don’t get run ragged with 35+ minutes of play. CMY had better be developing that bench with real-game, tough-opponent experience before the conference schedule starts.

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