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Courtside Players Club (11/27/23)

CBB

(1 Pick)


6:30PM EST: Xavier -15 (2 Units)


Oakland has played a couple good teams close enough but they aren't some great team. They lost to Ohio State by 6 and Illinois by 11 in their first 2 games this year. They're 3-1 since with their lone loss coming against Drake. They battled a Marshall team that just got boat-raced 118-82 by Kentucky last time out and won 78-71. The game before was a 74-69 win over Loyola Marymount. Xavier is much closer to Kentucky than they are to any of those 3 teams.


Oakland was just hot against Ohio State. They shot a ton of three's, making 14 of 35 (40%). Illinois dominated them defensively, but they don't play with tempo or great offense. Oakland shot just 37.5% from the field against the Illini and 25% from deep. Illinois is a strong defensive team, like Xavier. Per KenPom rankings the Illini rank 10th and Xavier 17th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Xavier's also played the current #1 team in the Country and one of the best offenses in the Nation when they went into Purdue.


In Basketball and really any other sport, teams get hot. Oakland just came off the blocks well but they're settling back in. They play in the Horizon League which is nowhere close to top division 1 basketball. They're really just okay all around. They don't shoot, defend, or rebound very well. They have decent 3PT defensive metrics, but Xavier makes its living inside the arc this year anyway.


The Musketeers also have a huge size advantage and that's all the way down to the Guard spot. The Buckeyes had a similar advantage and outrebounded Oakland 40-24. They were just raining 3's, something they aren't even good at. They'll need another exceptional performance like that to compete in this game. There's also a depth issue. Oakland gets just 28% of its minutes from the Bench. They play at a slower Tempo, but Sean Miller's Xavier team does not. Xavier ranked 33rd in adjusted tempo last season and rank 37th this year. They also have a 9-man rotation at their disposal. They're going to push the pace quite a bit.


Then there's the home dominance. Going into any team's house in CBB is hard, even harder in the Big East, and really hard at Xavier. Whether it's a good or bad year the Musketeers have always taken care of business at Home. They went 15-2 at Home last year, 16-5 in 21-22 despite a 23-13 overall record, 11-2 in 20-21 with a 13-8 record, and 12-5 in 19-20 with a 19-10 record. They didn't have a winning record in conference play for any of those years except for last year. They turn it on at Home and look no further than last week for evidence as they crushed Bryant 100-75. They played 2 other Home games this year, a 14 point win in the opener and a 23 point win the game after.


Sean Miller is one of the better College Basketball coaches out there and this Xavier squad can play. They may have lost 83-71 against Purdue but that game was on the road, and they hung in there. They just didn't have anyone to match-up against Zach Edey. Not many teams can stop the reigning College Basketball Player of the Year, but they'll at least have the Size to slow him down. Xavier doesn't this year after losing Jack Nunge to the NBA. The 6'10 Ousmane did what he could but the 7'4 295-pound Edey had 28 points, 11 boards, and 4 blocks that day.


Going to be a sold out Cintas Center for these boys to play in front of. There's a reason the Big East plays so well at Home and the environment has a lot to do with it.

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