The Butler Bulldogs missed the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2015 and that's not the Butler Way. Third year coach LaVall Jordan wants a tougher better rebounding and defending team after going just 2-10 away from Hinkle Fieldhouse last season-losing 7 of 10 games decided by 6 points or fewer and fizzling late dropping 6 of its last 7(only win was over Xavier at Hinkle 71-66 on 3-5 w/ Naji Marshall hobbling on a sprained ankle). Butler lost streaky sniper guard Paul Jorgenson and Moeller HS product BIG Nate Fowler to graduation and BIG Joey Brunk transferred to Indiana so lack of size became problem#1. Jordan has plugged the PF hole w/ RS Junior Bryce Nze who followed Jordan to BU from Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is 6-7, 235. Butler also signed 7 footer Derrik Smits (Grad transfer from Valpo) whose dad Rik (the Dunking Dutchman) is the NBA Indiana Pacers' #2 All Time scorer. XU recruited Derrik as did Brad Stevens before he left for Boston. Smits (12PPG-6 REBS) may be an instant starter. He played at Zionsville HS.
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  Opponent: Musketeer Madness - Sponsored by Wing Eye Care
  Date: Friday, 10/18/2019
  Time: 5:00:00 PM
Friday, September 20, 2019

The Georgetown Hoyas are getting plenty of National love from the likes of Seth Davis and Dana O'Neil. It's more than their hoping Patrick Ewing does well. Year 3 of the Ewing regime could be break through time(like an NCAA bid and BIG EAST contention). G-town had the best freshman group in the league last season.(Let's state the obvious-XU had a virtual blank Frosh class due to the uncertainty created by Chris Mack's job status and eventual departure for Louisville). The Hoyas played two impact guards(James Akinjo-BE Frosh of the Year and Mac Mc Clung), Both were dynamic offensive gunslingers and they're now Sophomores. The best GU rookie IMHO was Josh LeBlanc(6-8 dynamo-dunker-shot blocker-NBA potential). He will get much more offensive chances this season w/ 6-10 center Jesse Govan graduated(16PPG-9 REBS). 6-7 SF Jahmarko Pickett is a Junior now as is sniper Jahvon Blair. Tough guard Jagan Mosely is a Senior. If he develops a jumper, he's dangerous. Ewing and Louis Orr keep adding talent. NC State BIG Omer Yurtseven(6-10, 240) will start. He left the Wolfpack when Mark Gottfried was fired and started there 2 years ago(12PPG-6 REBS). Yurtseven is from Turkey-w/ two years of eligibility.

American loves lists thus the proliferation of so-called "Way too Early" Top 25s and bogus Power Ratings in college basketball. It's far too soon to start handicapping the BIG EAST race. The schedule doesn't even come out until after Labor Day, but stuff is happening around the BE-mainly good stuff leading up to Year 7 of the reconfigured BIG EAST. The first 6 seasons have produced 32 NCAA bids-w/ a low water mark of 4 both last year and in Year 1(4 bids). I see a return to trend line and 6 NCAA slots for this coming season. Villanova's obviously been the BIG HORSE w/ two NCAA Titles(2016 and 2018)-5 BE regular season championships and 4 BE Tournament titles. 2019-2020 should be the most balanced BE race yet. The BET at MSG could be epically competitive-not just a Nova coronation?? Seton Hall is the only team to beat Villanova in the BET(2014-1st Round-2016 Championship Game). VU has won 3 straight at MSG(2017-2019) although Xavier came so close last March in the Semis(block-charge call went against Naji Marshall w/ game tied in final seconds of second half-XU lost in OT). Here's a look at ANDY MAC's current TOP 3 as of late August other than the Muskies. I put XU at or near the TOP of the BIG EAST(What did you expect??).

Xavier checked all the boxes and sucked maximum marrow out of their early August junket to Spain. XU won all three games vs Spanish pros handily. The competition wasn't as stiff as I'd expected(no Ricky Rubio), but much better than Seton Hall squashed in Italy and DePaul disposed of in France and Georgetown toyed w/ at Atlantis in the Bahamas. Creighton ventured to Australia and won 4 times That's kind of impressive.

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Lady Muskies Dropped by Friars in the Ocean State
Xavier women's basketball dropped a 71-58 BIG EAST matchup at Providence on Sunday afternoon. The Musketeers moved to 10-8 (1-6 BIG EAST), while the Friars improved to 12-8 (4-4 BIG EAST). A'riana Gray led the Musketeers in scoring with nine points on 3-for-6 shooting, while Princess Stewart added six points. Aaliyah Dunham and Tierra Floyd both chipped in five points.

Lady Muskies Close Out Non-Conference Victorious Over New Orleans
Deja Ross and Lauren Wasylson combined for 26 points on Saturday afternoon, leading the Musketeers to a 61-45 win over New Orleans at Cintas Center. Xavier closed non-conference play with a 9-2 record, while the Privateers dropped to 4-5 overall. Xavier opens BIG EAST action at Georgetown on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. The Musketeers conclude the road swing at Villanova on Monday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m.

X Knocks Off Deleware St
Freshman Carrie Gross scored a season-high 12 points on Sunday afternoon as Xavier topped Delaware State, 80-59, on Sunday afternoon at Cintas Center. The Musketeers moved to 7-1 on the year, while the Hornets moved to 2-5. Xavier returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 16 at Cincinnati in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. from Fifth Third Arena.

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