No. 16 Xavier Cruises Past DePaul
Andy Mac Williams,
Xavier took advantage of the home court and overcame a short roster (without Zach Freemantle and Des Claude) demolishing DePaul 82-68 in front on 10,400 plus at Cintas Saturday. XU posts win #20(20-7) their 1st 20 win regular season since 20-17-18. Muskies got the flow offense cooking(18 assists on 24 FGs) and shared the ball almost flawlessly(all 5 starters scoring in double figures and just 9 turnovers). The defense chipped in nicely w/ a ton of deflections plus forcing 15 DePaul turnovers. X got their pound of flesh vs DePaul after losing 73-72 to DU a month ago in Chicago. Adam Kunkel had a great day(16 points-8 assists-5 rebounds-2 steals). Kunkel shot DU out of their zone defense early w/ 4 1st half "3s".
X exposed a porous DePaul defense-bombing in 8 "3s" and killing them inside w/ numerous pick and rolls. Jack Nunge led X w/ 18 inside plus 10 boards and 4 assists.
Jerome Hunter did his magic around the rim(15 points-9 boards and a thunder tomahawk dunk). Colby Jones cruised all over(14 points-4 steals).
Souley Boum scored 11 w/ 6 rebounds. Sean Miller played 4 off the bench to save his core players for Tuesday's home game vs Villanova( 7PM-FS1).
X is 2nd BE(12-4) 1 GB of Marquette(13-3) MU has a weekend bye. XU improves to 14-1 at Cintas overall and 8-0 in BIG East home games. The NCAA Tourney Selection Committee revealed a snap shot of their Top 16 tournament teams early Saturday and XU was slotted as #4 Seed along w/ Marquette. The committee values XU higher than NET(26) and KenPom(23). Analytics are just part of the story. Also Saturday-UConn beat Seton Hall 64-55. Huskies 9-7 BE 5th while SHU sits 6th at 9-8.