By Andy Mac Williams, 3/18/2018

The Muskies survived a weird choppy way too lengthy NCAA First Round game against feisty maverick Texas Southern winning in a walk 102-83. The game was poorly officiated with 59 FTs shot. The stat crew kept giving Xavierís #3 Quentin Gooden fouls committed by TSUís #2 Tre Jefferson. XU SID Tom Eiser runs his own scorerís book each game. After long discussions,the error was corrected. TSUís Jefferson was a total loose cannon(F1 foul plus a technical). He should have been ejected. TSU with their band of transfers played a nasty style of basketball. Xavier won and moved on with minimal damage except for Frosh Naji Marshall aggrevating back spasms which forced him to miss the Marshall game in late December. Hopefully,Naji can contribute Sunday evening against FSU.


Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura were in Batman and Robin NCAA form(26 and 29 points respectively). Karen Kanter displayed his full arsenal of low post moves(24 points in 20 minutes) and helped foul TSU 7 footer Trayvon Reed out of the ball game. X scored at will and ran the fastbreak well.

Tyrique Jones seemed close to full function after his spate of injuries. He asserted himself down low(7 points-4 rebounds-3 assists-2 blocks). Xavier played far from perfectly so thereís a ton of room for improvement against Florida State.


The #9 Seed Seminoles from the ACC steamrolled a young and uncertain Missouri team 67-54 late Friday. FSU jumped Mizzou early and led 42-20 at the half. The Noles come in at 21-11 overall. They were 9-9 in the ACC with notable wins against North Carolina and Clemson. They were shakey away from their home base in Tallahassee. Xavier beat them 91-66 in the NCAA Second Round last March in Orlando.

The Noles had a much more glittering resumeí last season and an inflated #3 Seed as ACC runner-up. Theyíve lost 3 starters off that team to the NBA but FSU is in revenge mode they claim after being pasted and surprised by Xavier in 2017.

FSU fell behind early-tried to live by the jumper-never adjusted to the XU zone defenses and basically spit the bit in that Orlando game a year ago. Florida State plays the same pressing aggressive style under Lennard Hamilton. He runs 10 athletes at you and tries to run you out of the gym. FSU has great size with two 7 footers and a couple of 6-10 guys. X has the depth and experience and talent to negotiate their powr game and frustrate FSU with changing defenses.

Kaiser Gates played 30 terrific minutes against FSU a year ago. He needs to contribute. Tyrique muscled the Nols inside(15 pints-5 dunks). He seems ready to rock again. Marshall with his physical style will help if heís able to play.

FSUís top scorer 6-6 Junior Terrance Mann may be out with a groin strain. FSU will not take XU for granted this time around, but they are who they are and they are not as talented as last season.

Xavier TEAM 96 is better than last seasonsí Elite 8 group IMHO with more depth and experience and two Frosh studs in Marshall(if healthy) and Paul Scruggs.

TEAM 96 proves my theory if they can post another win over FSU in 2018 even if the game score is closer and they have to work harder to win. Xavier 85 FSU 77. Hello Sweet 16 next Thursday in Los Angeles!!!!          

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