Ken Pom's preseason rankings

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skyhops
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Re: Ken Pom's preseason rankings

Postby skyhops » Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:22 pm

Xavier held an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday at the Cintas Center and allowed about 300 students in to watch.

They played two 15-minute halves. They had refs, media timeouts, and even halftime.

Here are the takeaways:

Colby Jones didn't participate in the scrimmage.

He was in a walking boot nursing a foot/toe injury that is being called minor. Supposedly, he could have played if it were a real game.

Not getting to see Jones play put a damper on the scrimmage for sure, considering he figures to play a major role this season and is pushing for a starting role, according to people inside the program.

Jones might have also helped even out the teams a little bit better.

-----------------------

Speaking of the teams, here is how they were matched up:

BLUE | WHITE
Tandy | Odom
Scruggs | Wilcher
Johnson | Kunkel
Carter | Stanley
Freemantle/Miles | Griffin

The blue team essentially looked like a starting lineup with four of those five guys being all but cemented in their starting roles. Nate Johnson joined those four and fit in well, particularly on the defensive end.

While the white team ended up getting blown out, 68-52, there were a lot of promising signs.

Adam Kunkel was the clear leader of that group but each player made contributions and Dwon Odom looked good running the show as the point guard.

The white team hung around early thanks to its 3-point shooting, but the consistent barrage of Zach Freemantle, KyKy Tandy, and Paul Scruggs proved to be too much.

Overall, the offense looked pretty good on both ends, while the defense wasn't awful but definitely wasn't sharp either.

-----------------------

This is a different team if Ben Stanley and Adam Kunkel are eligible.

Those guys add talent and productivity. But maybe more than anything, they add real game experience. And it showed on Saturday.

Kunkel is confident. He knows how to play. And he shot it well from the outside on Saturday, which led to a big performance. He had six 3-pointers and kind of became the go-to guy for the white team.

His leadership really stuck out, though. Multiple times he could be seen directing Dwon Odom or talking to him after a play. Another moment that stood out was him communicating with freshman CJ Wilcher about a blown defensive read while the other team was shooting free throws.

This isn't a big surprise having watched Kunkel's high school career. That's who he's always been. Guys like playing with him. He brings great energy and can impact the game even when he's not scoring.

Stanley stood out for the scoring pop he adds and his physical presence. He totally passes the "airport" test. This team needs him to rebound more for sure, but he's aggressive on offense and capable of adding some scoring.

There are going to be bumps in the road for this team. Those bumps will be fewer and smaller if Kunkel and Stanley are eligible.

The expectation is still that Stanley will get a waiver and Kunkel likely will not unless something changes. Xavier is submitting the paperwork for Kunkel this week.

-----------------------

I know people are eager to learn about the "new system."

To be honest, I'm not sure what to tell you about it that Travis Steele hasn't already said publicly.

They're playing five-out with an open post. They're spacing the floor a lot more, shooting more 3s, and getting shots up quicker. With the bigs, it seems like they're trying to use their athleticism to their advantage by giving it to them on the move going towards the rim or in some space where they can out-quick their man. All the things Steele has said in interviews and at Big East Media Day last week appear to be true.

I think the biggest difference most fans will notice is that the offense feels more effortless and fun again. The ball is moving much better and they have enough shooters to fire up carefree jumpers from the perimeter. In that sense, it feels more like the days of 2017-18. And much like those seasons, they won't necessarily launch a bunch of 3s, but their willingness to fire and the ability to make some of them will help spread the floor and create easier opportunities off the bounce and in the post. On Saturday, the two teams combined to shoot over 40% from deep on over 30 attempts.

-----------------------

Paul Scruggs: I thought Scruggs played exactly the way this team needs him to. He scored efficiently by attacking open lanes when they presented themselves and he knocked down both of his 3-point attempts as well as both his free throws. Most importantly, he piled up the most assists on the team and only turned it over once. One of the passes he made to Jason Carter underneath the basket for an easy bucket in the final minutes of the first half was a highlight of the day for me.

Jason Carter: Carter defended well and his rebounding stood out. He had a few inside buckets and made a few free throws. It wasn't a big day for him but he played fine.

KyKy Tandy: Tandy was the only player who scored over 20 points by my count. He made a pair of 3s and missed a few others, including a couple of heat checks. He really attacked well off the bounce and had a few nice finishes. Those drives also led to him getting to the free-throw line where he was perfect on the day. It wasn't his most impressive effort or anything like that, but Tandy showed exactly what XU needs him to be this year - a go-to scorer who is more than just a bomber from distance.

Zach Freemantle: Freemantle lived up to the recent hype with his play on Saturday as he was the best player on the floor. He was the second-leading scorer behind Tandy and the top rebounder on the floor. Most of his looks came in the flow of the offense and were high-percentage as he only missed one or two shots the entire day. He looked good handling the ball and attacking from the perimeter. He made 1-of-2 from deep.

Adam Kunkel: As mentioned above, Kunkel's leadership and veteran presence stood out on the younger white team. And he brought a flame-thrower with him on Saturday as he torched the nets with six 3-pointers. He missed a couple of attempts from inside the arc. He handled the ball pretty well and looked to be holding his own enough on defense.

Ben Stanley: Stanley is a big dude. He's a little bit shorter than Bryan Griffin but there doesn't look to be much of a difference in terms of their bodies. X definitely needs him to be more physical on the boards than he was on Saturday. He had a few nice finishes inside, one of which came from a weird side angle and I still can't get the image of Travis Taylor out of my head after seeing it. They definitely have some similarities in terms of their unorthodox finishes.

Nate Johnson: I thought Johnson fit in well. He's not going to be a focal point on offense. He's being asked to make shots and play his tail off. He didn't get many opportunities but he was 1-for-2 from deep and made a nice mid-range jumper on the baseline. He also moved the ball well and picked up a few assists. His motor and strength stood out on defense as he had a few rebounds and steals as well as some deflections.

Dwon Odom: Odom was as exciting to watch as anyone because of the combination of maturity and upside he showed. He simultaneously eased concerns about whether or not he was ready to run a team as a freshman and enticed fans with his long-term potential. By my count, he tallied six assists with just a few turnovers. He also grabbed a handful of rebounds. He showed tremendous feel for getting the ball to shooters on time. I also loved the way he worked off ball screens, punishing mismatches with a burst of speed when he got a switch. He scored on a few drives and had a few more where he made a nice move but just couldn't quite finish. I also think he'll be the best defender at the PG position that X has had since I've been covering the team.

CJ Wilcher: Wilcher looked to be in great shape and moved better than I've ever seen him move. He made a pair of 3s, including a deep one off the bounce, but I was much more impressed with how involved he was in other aspects of the game. He wasn't far off double-digit rebounds and had a few steals. He didn't look like a total liability defensively. He's a confident and aggressive player on offense, which we knew, but the rest of his game looked like it belonged on Saturday.

Bryan Griffin: Griffin is a big body and I thought he gave some worthy minutes. He missed a few finishes inside but he had one bucket and got to the free-throw line a bunch. He also had several rebounds, including a few on the offensive end. Defensively, he's going to struggle with ball screen coverage, but he wasn't as bad as I expected overall on that end.

Dieonte Miles: Miles' opportunities were more limited because he was coming off the bench for Freemantle. He had a dunk in transition and looked good running the floor. He's definitely gotten bigger. Other than that, I didn't really notice him much.
kyzrex
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Re: Ken Pom's preseason rankings

Postby kyzrex » Sun Nov 08, 2020 6:44 am

From what I’ve read in the paper and on various boards, along with what I’ve gotten from first hand accounts like what Sky just posted, it seems that the real question about this team revolves over around the newcomers. We already know what the 4 returners are capable of. My optimistic side says that we should be able to get 40-50 points and half that many rebounds from those 4 on a nightly basis. Hopefully even more. The pessimistic side says that they need to show us that they can do that consistently, and against the better teams in the conference.

But I honestly don’t know what the freshman and transfers will bring, and even if all are eligible that question still remains. I feel that it won’t be until they actually start playing the BE schedule will we have an answer to it, either. Oklahoma might give us some indication, but I don’t think that the rest of the non-con slates will really tell us much. With only having 1/2 the normal non-com games to play, there really is less of a cushion than in the past. IMO, If X is going to be a contender for the top half of the conference (at the very least) these players are going to need to be able to give solid performances from the very start of the season. The pessimist in me says that doesn’t happen very often. It usually takes freshman a month or two to adjust to the college game, and it usually takes transfers coming from lower levels a handful of games to adjust to the BE level of play. But this year, with the limited schedule, that may end up being to little, to late.

The saving grace for all this is that X is not alone. Almost every other team in the the conference is going though the same thing. Other than Villanova and Creighton, every team is having to replace most of their top players and will be looking to transfers, freshman, or former backups to contribute right away. It’s going to be an interesting year and the surprises may be many.
#WHYNOTX?
skyhops
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Re: Ken Pom's preseason rankings

Postby skyhops » Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:41 am

I agree with Kyzrez regarding the newcomers. The team will look completely different if Stanley and Kunkel are eligible to play, but from what I hear Stanley will be able to play and Kunkel will have to sit as was originally planned. Jones has been impressive and will probably be starting at the three sooner than later. Stanley will hopefully push Carter and he and Miles will add an important inside presence in the Big East (we need to rebound). Nice to hear the Wilcher has been playing well and is in shape.
Xavier2005
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Re: Ken Pom's preseason rankings

Postby Xavier2005 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:23 pm

Show me with results and wins. The last two years were sub par. Chris Mack was so good in that he got his last Xavier team a One Seed. Then he and the team bombed and lost in the second round of the NCAA. Great regular season but a terrible NCAA March Madness performance. The best performing Xavier teams were the two X teams that got themselves to the Elite 8. They were the best. 68 teams make the Dance each year....and at the end of the first week end there are ONLY 16 teams left . No one remembers the other 52 teams that well. X has missed the Dance the last 2 years(they would have never made it last year). A third or fourth year miss sets the Xavier men's program way back. X has entered the arena of what have you done lately?
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muskieman
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Re: Ken Pom's preseason rankings

Postby muskieman » Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:32 pm

skyhops wrote:
Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:22 pm
Xavier held an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday at the Cintas Center and allowed about 300 students in to watch.

They played two 15-minute halves. They had refs, media timeouts, and even halftime.

Here are the takeaways:

Colby Jones didn't participate in the scrimmage.

He was in a walking boot nursing a foot/toe injury that is being called minor. Supposedly, he could have played if it were a real game.

Not getting to see Jones play put a damper on the scrimmage for sure, considering he figures to play a major role this season and is pushing for a starting role, according to people inside the program.

Jones might have also helped even out the teams a little bit better.

-----------------------

Speaking of the teams, here is how they were matched up:

BLUE | WHITE
Tandy | Odom
Scruggs | Wilcher
Johnson | Kunkel
Carter | Stanley
Freemantle/Miles | Griffin

The blue team essentially looked like a starting lineup with four of those five guys being all but cemented in their starting roles. Nate Johnson joined those four and fit in well, particularly on the defensive end.

While the white team ended up getting blown out, 68-52, there were a lot of promising signs.

Adam Kunkel was the clear leader of that group but each player made contributions and Dwon Odom looked good running the show as the point guard.

The white team hung around early thanks to its 3-point shooting, but the consistent barrage of Zach Freemantle, KyKy Tandy, and Paul Scruggs proved to be too much.

Overall, the offense looked pretty good on both ends, while the defense wasn't awful but definitely wasn't sharp either.

-----------------------

This is a different team if Ben Stanley and Adam Kunkel are eligible.

Those guys add talent and productivity. But maybe more than anything, they add real game experience. And it showed on Saturday.

Kunkel is confident. He knows how to play. And he shot it well from the outside on Saturday, which led to a big performance. He had six 3-pointers and kind of became the go-to guy for the white team.

His leadership really stuck out, though. Multiple times he could be seen directing Dwon Odom or talking to him after a play. Another moment that stood out was him communicating with freshman CJ Wilcher about a blown defensive read while the other team was shooting free throws.

This isn't a big surprise having watched Kunkel's high school career. That's who he's always been. Guys like playing with him. He brings great energy and can impact the game even when he's not scoring.

Stanley stood out for the scoring pop he adds and his physical presence. He totally passes the "airport" test. This team needs him to rebound more for sure, but he's aggressive on offense and capable of adding some scoring.

There are going to be bumps in the road for this team. Those bumps will be fewer and smaller if Kunkel and Stanley are eligible.

The expectation is still that Stanley will get a waiver and Kunkel likely will not unless something changes. Xavier is submitting the paperwork for Kunkel this week.

-----------------------

I know people are eager to learn about the "new system."

To be honest, I'm not sure what to tell you about it that Travis Steele hasn't already said publicly.

They're playing five-out with an open post. They're spacing the floor a lot more, shooting more 3s, and getting shots up quicker. With the bigs, it seems like they're trying to use their athleticism to their advantage by giving it to them on the move going towards the rim or in some space where they can out-quick their man. All the things Steele has said in interviews and at Big East Media Day last week appear to be true.

I think the biggest difference most fans will notice is that the offense feels more effortless and fun again. The ball is moving much better and they have enough shooters to fire up carefree jumpers from the perimeter. In that sense, it feels more like the days of 2017-18. And much like those seasons, they won't necessarily launch a bunch of 3s, but their willingness to fire and the ability to make some of them will help spread the floor and create easier opportunities off the bounce and in the post. On Saturday, the two teams combined to shoot over 40% from deep on over 30 attempts.

-----------------------

Paul Scruggs: I thought Scruggs played exactly the way this team needs him to. He scored efficiently by attacking open lanes when they presented themselves and he knocked down both of his 3-point attempts as well as both his free throws. Most importantly, he piled up the most assists on the team and only turned it over once. One of the passes he made to Jason Carter underneath the basket for an easy bucket in the final minutes of the first half was a highlight of the day for me.

Jason Carter: Carter defended well and his rebounding stood out. He had a few inside buckets and made a few free throws. It wasn't a big day for him but he played fine.

KyKy Tandy: Tandy was the only player who scored over 20 points by my count. He made a pair of 3s and missed a few others, including a couple of heat checks. He really attacked well off the bounce and had a few nice finishes. Those drives also led to him getting to the free-throw line where he was perfect on the day. It wasn't his most impressive effort or anything like that, but Tandy showed exactly what XU needs him to be this year - a go-to scorer who is more than just a bomber from distance.

Zach Freemantle: Freemantle lived up to the recent hype with his play on Saturday as he was the best player on the floor. He was the second-leading scorer behind Tandy and the top rebounder on the floor. Most of his looks came in the flow of the offense and were high-percentage as he only missed one or two shots the entire day. He looked good handling the ball and attacking from the perimeter. He made 1-of-2 from deep.

Adam Kunkel: As mentioned above, Kunkel's leadership and veteran presence stood out on the younger white team. And he brought a flame-thrower with him on Saturday as he torched the nets with six 3-pointers. He missed a couple of attempts from inside the arc. He handled the ball pretty well and looked to be holding his own enough on defense.

Ben Stanley: Stanley is a big dude. He's a little bit shorter than Bryan Griffin but there doesn't look to be much of a difference in terms of their bodies. X definitely needs him to be more physical on the boards than he was on Saturday. He had a few nice finishes inside, one of which came from a weird side angle and I still can't get the image of Travis Taylor out of my head after seeing it. They definitely have some similarities in terms of their unorthodox finishes.

Nate Johnson: I thought Johnson fit in well. He's not going to be a focal point on offense. He's being asked to make shots and play his tail off. He didn't get many opportunities but he was 1-for-2 from deep and made a nice mid-range jumper on the baseline. He also moved the ball well and picked up a few assists. His motor and strength stood out on defense as he had a few rebounds and steals as well as some deflections.

Dwon Odom: Odom was as exciting to watch as anyone because of the combination of maturity and upside he showed. He simultaneously eased concerns about whether or not he was ready to run a team as a freshman and enticed fans with his long-term potential. By my count, he tallied six assists with just a few turnovers. He also grabbed a handful of rebounds. He showed tremendous feel for getting the ball to shooters on time. I also loved the way he worked off ball screens, punishing mismatches with a burst of speed when he got a switch. He scored on a few drives and had a few more where he made a nice move but just couldn't quite finish. I also think he'll be the best defender at the PG position that X has had since I've been covering the team.

CJ Wilcher: Wilcher looked to be in great shape and moved better than I've ever seen him move. He made a pair of 3s, including a deep one off the bounce, but I was much more impressed with how involved he was in other aspects of the game. He wasn't far off double-digit rebounds and had a few steals. He didn't look like a total liability defensively. He's a confident and aggressive player on offense, which we knew, but the rest of his game looked like it belonged on Saturday.

Bryan Griffin: Griffin is a big body and I thought he gave some worthy minutes. He missed a few finishes inside but he had one bucket and got to the free-throw line a bunch. He also had several rebounds, including a few on the offensive end. Defensively, he's going to struggle with ball screen coverage, but he wasn't as bad as I expected overall on that end.

Dieonte Miles: Miles' opportunities were more limited because he was coming off the bench for Freemantle. He had a dunk in transition and looked good running the floor. He's definitely gotten bigger. Other than that, I didn't really notice him much.
Thanks for the report. With all the talent who looks to be the go-to guy at the lend of a game, or go to guys? Having Odem and Tandy going at each other can only help both of them over time. I hope Miles becomes more of a force defending the rim and more aggressive rebounding. Freemantle can not be expected to stay out of foul trouble
I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can't trust em.
X-Expert
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Re: Ken Pom's preseason rankings

Postby X-Expert » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:30 am

Comparing Calipari to Steele is ludicrous. Only one team wins the NC but his tourney success with FF, Elite 8. S-16, and the 1 NC is better than most coaches in the country (and I hate UK). 68 teams make the tourney and for all of X's great coaches not one FF. Whether you agree with the ranking or not is irrelevant but i would agree with AH that i'm sure the perception of coaching comes into play here-especially when there are a lot of new players. How can it not?
kyzrex
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Re: Ken Pom's preseason rankings

Postby kyzrex » Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:30 pm

X-Expert wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:30 am
Comparing Calipari to Steele is ludicrous. Only one team wins the NC but his tourney success with FF, Elite 8. S-16, and the 1 NC is better than most coaches in the country (and I hate UK). 68 teams make the tourney and for all of X's great coaches not one FF. Whether you agree with the ranking or not is irrelevant but i would agree with AH that i'm sure the perception of coaching comes into play here-especially when there are a lot of new players. How can it not?
However, the implication in AH’s post is that the low ranking is a direct commentary on the lack of respect for the coaching staff at X. It implies that Xavier would be more highly ranked if they had a different coach. While I think it’s safe to say that the person at the helm certainly influences how well a team is thought of, I think it’s also prudent to observe that the roster DOES have a lot of question marks. Even if a Calipari or a Coach K were coaching this team, that wouldn’t change. So, does it play into the rankings....sure it does. HOW MUCH it plays into the rankings is certainly open to discussion. IMHO, even if X had a Hall of Fame coach running the program this year, the preseason rankings wouldn’t be terribly different.....nor would they mean any more than they do already, which is practically nothing.
#WHYNOTX?
thecoach
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Re: Ken Pom's preseason rankings

Postby thecoach » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:12 pm

There are very few if any teams that are going to get a lot of preseason swag with one returning senior in the lineup. I don't think the coaching staff weighs heavily on it, but at best they were borderline to make the tourney last year with more veterans so until you see what you got i wouldn't expect a lot of national guys to be ranking a very unknow quantity with this roster. Hell, i don't think the fans even know until they see the team play 9 or 10 games. I don't have the memory for it, but my guess is this team in terms of actual game experience is one of the most inexperienced teams in the past 15 or 20 years.

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