Scouting Seton Hall!! Muskies Soldier on without Sumner!!
By Andy Mac Williams, 1/31/2017

Quentin Gooden is Xavier's point guard for the rest of this season come hell or high water. Edmond Sumner's sophomore campaign ended when he hyper-extended his left knee against St Johns Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Myles Davis eliminated himself through questionable behavior. Gooden is strong enough and talented enough to handle the job. His play against UC in the Crosstown Shootout last Thursday was impressive. He played like a starter and a leader in the win over SJU in NYC(25 minutes-16 points-4-5FG-7-9FT-great decisions-handled the press-scored 8 points down the stretch). "Q" has a great resume' terrific size and shows no fear in attacking the rim. J.P Macura and Trevon Bluiett helped him consistently crack the St Johns press late in Sunday's game. Now the stakes grow higher. We're talking 35 minutes/game against more physical guards and multiple defenders and changing defenses. It's an accelerated graduate level course for a true freshman. Xavier threw Johnny Wolf into the deep end in 2006. Semaj Christon was thrust into the maelstrom in 2013. It's not ideal,but it's next man up reality and Goodin seems to relish the opportunity.

SETON HALL IS MUSCULAR!!

The Pirates finished the Big East campaign with a flourish last March. They beat Xavier twice over a two week span(90-81 on 2-28 in Newark and 87-83 in the BE Tourney Semis at MSG on 3-11). SHU roared out to big leads early in both those games and sort of coasted to wins. They beat Villanova 67-65 to win the Big East Tournament Title. VU then ran off 6 wins in a row to capture the NCAA Championship. Seton Hall fizzled in the NCAAs losing badly to Gonzaga. two vital pieces are missing from that team.

Burly guard Isaiah Whitehead is now with the NBA Brooklyn Nets. He was First Team All Big East. 6th man Derek Gordon is gone also. He gave XU guards fits with his rough defense and driving ability.

The SHU back court is different now. Grad transfer Madison Jones(Wake Forest) starts at the point. He's almost a non-scorer who distributes the ball well. Lefty Khadeen Carrington is the prime scorer(17.2PPG).The 6-4 Junior has the perpetual green light to shoot it. He gets to the FT line-scores off the bounce and triggers threes(40-101). The third guard is serial shooter Myles Powell(6-2 Frosh)(10PPG). He lost 40 pounds over the summer and bolted out of the gate in the non-conference-pouring in 28 points at Iowa. His play lately in the Big East has improved(17 points in a win over St Johns-8 points in an ugly 61-54 loss to Butler in Newark one week ago).

Seton Hall had the weekend off to get ready for their trip to Cincinnati.Three talented veteran Juniors populate the Pirate front line. 6-10 240 Angel Delgado is a nasty productive elite inside force(14.6PPG-12.9 Rebounds/game to lead the NCAA). Delgado is the Big East's top rebounder over the last three seasons and he's playing his best right now(20 boards St Johns-22 boards Butler). Only four Power Conference Players since 1996 have posted back-to-back 20 rebound games in league play(Tim Duncan-Wake Forest,Blake Griffin-Oklahoma,and earlier this season Caleb Swanigan-Purdue). Angel is no angel. He and Jalen Reynolds had a feisty relationship. Maybe Tyrique Jones needs to smack bodies with Delgado early and often. Delgado will just take the space and dominate unless he gets push back. His flaw is FT shooting(63-123)(51%).

6-8 215 Junior Ishmael Sanogo is Delgado's partner in crunch around the basket. he's a high level rebounder and shot blocker. Sanogo made the BE All Tourney Team for his gritty role in SHU's MSG wins over Creighton,Xavier and Villanova. 6-6 215 Junior Desi Rodriguez is a rover at small forward(16PPG). He'll carve up a zone with mid-range jumpers and bury wing threes and he loves to dunk.

Bench depth is a SHU issue. Powell is the back court sub along with Kansas State transfer PG Jevon Thomas. Versatile 6-8 Sophomore Michael Nzei fills in in the front court. Rasheed Anthony is a fouling machine.

HOW WILL XAVIER WIN THIS???

The Muskie Bigs have to show up and keep on banging. Nothing will be pretty inside. UC's BIGS-Clark and Washington may be more skilled in post moves,but Seton Hall's power guys are more nasty and determined. Pirate foul trouble would help. SHU FT shooting is the worst in the Big East(61%). It's cost them wins several times. Their road record is 1-4 with a win at Iowa in the Gavitt Games. Three BE defeats(at Marquette,at Providence and home against Butler) are directly traceable to lousy foul shooting.Keep it close and Seton Hall may well implode at the FT line.

Coach Willard will test PG Gooden with multiple defensive looks. He does not have the power guards this season to muscle the XU back court(Whitehead and Gordon-gone) so he'll try to trap and fool them. Without the injured Edmond Sumner,XU needs consistent efficient scoring from Bluiett and Macura and better finish around the rim from the BIGS. XU is 2-5 against SHU in New Big East games. The two wins at Cintas over the Pirates have been close and competitive. X can close-out the first half of the BE schedule at 6-3 with a win. Seton Hall is in NCAA trouble at 3-6 and 13-8 with a loss. BYRON

LARKIN BOOBLEHEAD NIGHT:

They've retired Byron's Number(23) and he's in the XU Hall of Fame. Now they have crafted a bobble head with his likeness. Byron is a watershed player in Xavier history. Bob Staak recruited one of the best local talents ever(from Moeller High School) and kept him in Cincinnati. Larkin helped revitalize the Crosstown Shootout as a big part of three wins in four tries against UC. He led Xavier to its first NCAA Tournament win in 1987(70-69 over #14 Missouri under the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis).Larkin captained the 1988 team and XU gained its first Top 20 AP rating in over 30 years.2696 points-a 42 point MCC Tourney game against Loyola-3 NCAA berths-What a resume' for Byron Larkin!!!!!!




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