Scouting No. 25 Xavier at Seton Hall
By Andy Mac Williams, 2/8/2022

Scouting Xavier(16-6)(6-5 BIG EAST)(5th place)(#21 NET) at Seton Hall(14-7)(5-6 BE)(tied for 7th)(#35 NET). Prudential Center( "The Rock") Newark, NJ. Wed.(7-FS1). XU 3-2 Road-BE. SHU 2-3 Home-BE. Muskies looking to bounce back from upset home loss to DePaul. XU has trailed at the half in 8 straight BE games(4-4).

Travis Steele comments:

"Our guards need to make better decisions early. I think we'll be amazed at the offensive results if we just move the ball side to side consistently. Our guys play hard consistently and with urgency. We need to play smarter though-execute and make better decisions. What we do on possession one is just as important as possession 60 in the game. Consistent good decision making needs to get better."

IMHO Guard Dwon Odom is in line for more PT. He checks a lot of boxes re ball pressure on "D" attacking the rim off the dribble, finding open shooters and quickening the tempo. Muskies will need BIG depth vs Seton Hall and UConn(Friday at Cintas). Both teams are HUGE and DEEP at PF and Center.

Dieonte Miles' minutes have faded plus he's nursing a sore knee. Jerome Hunter figures at PF. Obviously Zach Freemantle and Jack Nunge occupy 50-60 minutes. Frosh BIG Cesare Edwards may get the call(6-9,220).

Steele on Edwards:

"He's trending in the right direction-super coachable w/ strong work ethic and attitude. He's made great progress in skill set and w/ his body. Cesare thrives on contact-and toughness-something we need more of. He seeks out contact and craves it. I've told him to be ready."

Seton Hall is long and strong in the paint. 7-2 SR. Ike Obiagu is 3rd NCAA in blocked shot % - a primo rim protector. 6-10 Mizzou transfer Tray Jackson has started the last 2 games(wins over Georgetown and Creighton). He booked 21 points-7 rebounds vs G-town. USF transfer Alexis Yetna (6-8,225) is a key piece(10PPG-7 boards) experienced and active. 6-10 Tyrese Samuel missed time with Covid but is rounding into form now. He's capable of a double-double anytime. That's 4 interchangeable pieces Kevin Willard mixes close to the rim.

Harvard transfer PG Bryce Aiken has missed the last 5 w/ a concussion. He may play. Very hard to contain off the dribble-delay from "3" and a 90% FT shooter. Syracuse transfer Kadary Richmond (6-6,200) is a post up PG playing well(12PPG-5 assists last 4-27 points earlier vs UConn). American U transfer Jamir Harris has plugged hole left by injured Aiken(13PPG w/ sniper 3 point shooting last 4 games). Mix in two veteran wing-SF types 6-8 Jahred Rhoden (14PPG) and 6-6 Myles Cale (12PPG). Both play around 30 minutes/game.

Seton Hall opened the season 9-1 w/ wins over Michigan, Texas and NJ rival Rutgers (lone loss 79-76 to Ohio State). Covid pauses and injuries cooled them off. Now the Pirates are getting well and starting to roll again (up to 35 NET and close to cracking Top 25s again). This game is an NET Quad 1 for the winner.

It's a Jersey Homecoming for Zach Freemantle so expect a HUGE effort from him! A road win at Seton Hall quickly makes up for a home stumble vs DePaul. Bruising and black and blue in the paint! Nothing easy about this one.

KenPom picks SHU 73-70. I'll predict it the other way 73-70 Muskies setting up a 3rd place BIG EAST showdown Friday at Cintas vs UConn.

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