Andy Mac: Scouting Report - Seton Hall at Xavier
By Andy Mac Williams, 12/29/2020

Xavier Team 99 Update-Tuesday Dec 29th-SCOUTING REPORT-Seton Hall(6-4, 3-1 BIG EAST) at Xavier( 8-1, 1-1 BIG EAST) Wed. Dec 30th-Cintas Center-7PM-FS1. KenPom picks XU 73-71 giving Muskies 60% chance of winning. SHU Pirates are HUGE( 3rd tallest team NCAA) and veteran(start 3 Seniors and 2 Juniors). 6-4 record is deceiving. Tough schedule. One point loss at Louisville. Loss at good A-10 URI. Loss to Top 25 Oregon on neutral court. Won 5 of last 6. 3-1 BIG EAST-tied 2nd w/ Creighton behind Villanova(3-0).

Top player #23 Sandro Mamukelashvelli(6-10, 240 1st Team BE Preseason(18PPG-7 REBs-3+ assists). Point forward-amazingly mobile-difficult match-up one on one. 35 minutes/game. 32PTS vs St Johns-30PTS at Penn State. NBA future( European w/ USA toughness). 7-2 rim protector Ike Odiagu(#21) FSU transfer-played behind Romero Gill last season(#6 NCAA in Blocked Shot %). 9 blocks in 78-67 romp over Georgetown last Wed. Better offensively w/ more PT.

Bookend wings-Both 6-6 210. (#22) Myles Cale-SR. won BE POW w/ 30PTS vs G-town(5-9 from "3") and (#14) Jared Rhoden-JR.-BE Honor Roll-26PTS-14 REBS vs G-town. PG(#33) Shavar Reynolds-SR-former walk-on-HUGE game in win at Marquette-winning "3" and many stretch run FTs. Harvard transfer PG(#1) Bryce Aiken is over ankle injury and getting time at PG now(22 minutes vs G-town). Job share w/ Reynolds?

Bench Canisius transfer Takal Molson(#15 56% of minutes-solid 6-5, 205-good shooter-gets to FT line. Molson and Reynolds losing time to Aiken now healthy. (#4) Tyreses Samuel(6-10, 235) Soph-great tools-40% minutes.6-7 Mizzou transfer Tray Jackson just eligible.

Typical Kevin Willard team-constantly switching "D"-some press-some zone. No Myles Powell(25PPG-All BE) but better offensive balance now. 76PPG-Shoot a ton of FTS(72% FT line). 5 straight NCAAs and would have been a 4 of 5 seed last March except for Covid. Need Aiken to score from PG spot. His shooting touch is coming back after injury Key game for Xavier.

Close to upsetting Creighton in Omaha a week ago playing about a "C" game offensively(losing 66-61) just missing OT. Chance to stake claim in Top 3 of BIG EAST. 3 practices after X-mas break to regain scoring-shooting touch from "3" and for BIGS.

PG Dwon available after testing out of Covid protocol adds line-up depth and flexibility. Seton Hall makes inside baskets a chore w/ HUGE front line. X needs Freemantle to be on the floor and attacking the rim. Ben Stanley, Jason Carter, Bryan Griffin have to score thru contact and win rebound numbers. Guards have to recognize changing defenses and take care of ball.

X has depth edge and needs to put SHU BIGS in foul trouble and win FT battle( i.e outscore Pirates at FT line).

Travis Steele: "They're a great challenge. Ibiagu is an elite shot blocker. They've had a ton of success under Willard. Same formula. Great size-changing defenses. Mamu is phenomenal-a 6-11 play maker. They run the offense through him. He's so versatile and a willing passer. They are more balanced without Powell. At least we don't have to chase him around a million ball screens."

"We need Zach to handle adversity early in games and have that next play mentality. I have full confidence he'll be good at both ends of the floor. We have to man up on the glass. They are HUGE. We can't just box out. We have to push them back and create a larger rebound pocket because they'll just go over the back."

Two other BIG EAST games Wednesday. Butler at Providence-5PM-FS1 and DePaul at UConn-9PM-CBSSN.

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