ANDY MAC is BACK!! Xavier-Butler Preview
By Andy Mac Williams, 1/6/2022

My holiday break coupled with bad mojo from the Villanova loss plus frustration with the pandemic now screwing with three Xavier hoops seasons plus a computer meltdown added up to my hiatus from social media. No reason to be pessimistic about Muskies at 11-2 with a 22 Net and wins over OSU, Va Tech, UC, Oklahoma St and Marquette. So letís get back to playing after 17 days off with great vigor! XU stayed together through Christmas and New Years practicing every day. No Covid issues. Postponements were on UConn and Georgetown. Everybody is at Butler ready to go. Friday versus the Bulldogs at 8:30 on FS1.

Travis Steele thinks long break helped Zach Fremantle. He badly needed reps and extra conditioning after sitting August thru November with broken foot. Also PG Dwon Odom dip for a week after Villanova with an injury. X best player in Marquette win and VU loss. Odom now full go for Butler. X needs to regain the edge and consistency they showed until second half meltdown at Nova.

Butler is 6-5 versus D-1 teams. Best win at Oklahoma. BE win over DePaul. Nasty Tuesday loss at home to Top 25 Seton Hall. Dominated on glass. High turnovers for BU (13). Struggled from 3. Dogs play slow tempo. X needs low turnovers. BU allows 60PPG with low fouls. X has to win FT and paint numbers BIG Time!! Plus stalk the 3 point arc.

Butler is 139 NET. This would be a bad Quad 3 loss for Muskies. Butler has struggled with guard scoring so far. We well know sophomore Chuck Harris can explode. He killed X at BET last March in the second half and OT in a 70-69 Muskie defeat which deep diced Xavier's NCAA bid.

Jair Bolden can get hot outside. SF Bo Hodges ETSU transfer may play. He's been out since August with injury. He gives BU a physical wing they lack.

Bryceís Nze and Golden give Butler two veteran BIGs who play a lot together. Aaron Thompson is 5th year PG who struggles to shoot but is a load to contain on drives and defends top tier. Fresh Tayler and Lukoscous are talented and precocious.

X may be a box of chocolates coming off the long break, but this is a pivotal return to action game. Paul Scruggs role is HUGE playing his final game at home in Indy. He saved X last Feb at Hinkle coming off a COVID pause by scoring 24.

The BIG EAST is a beast with five teams in the NET Top 33: Villanova, UConn, XU, Seton Hall and PC.

Butler is getting healthy and together. A slow start gives BU confidence. Look what happened to PC at Marquette Wednesday! Friars are 13-1, 3-0 BE and were creamed by 0-3 Marquette. Get the win Muskies!!

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