Xavier won only 2 games against top-ranked team (Cincinnati and Butler) and had an unpleasant 2017 overall. Edmond Sumner is out with a season ending knee injury, while Trevon Bluiett issues made it impossible for coach Chris Mack to find the right balance. Still, there are a few positives that might allow some optimism: the Musketeers are 37th in offensive efficiency, per KenPom, their defense is not as efficient but still allows less than 99 points per 100 possessions, they are one of the best rebounding team in Division I and JP Mecura is averaging an unexpected 15 points per game. Xavier, however, is a low-efficiency team from beyond the arc and has a tragic 68% at free throw line. And despite everything, they had a good run in the conference tournament and almost reached the final.
Junior Trevon Bluiett is the top scorer for the Musketeers and a crucial piece of any strategy for coach Chris Mack. The Indianapolis native is probably headed to a career overseas. Edmond Sumner, on the other hand, has a great chance at an Nba career because of his athleticism, although he will have to improve on his 27.3% from behind the arc.
Will Sumner be back from injury? Will Bluiett be healthy for the tournament? Will coach Mack find a strategy to make up for the lack of rim protection on the team? The answers to these questions, or lack thereof, will determine the Musketeers destiny the next month, but the Sweet 16 will be their ceiling.