Monday, March 17, 2008

Round 1: Georgia Bulldogs

The Xavier Musketeers (27-6) were awarded with a three seed and will head to Washington DC to play the Bulldogs from Georgia (17-16). The tip is at 12:20 on Thursday. The Bulldogs just completed their first four game winning streak of the year and saved Dennis Felton's job by winning the SEC tournament. Before that the 'Dawgs were losers of 11 of 13 and nobody was mentioning 'NCAA' or 'NIT' for that matter with them. I was watching basketball all weekend and must admit they are the story of the conference tournament season. Two games in one day? Are you kidding? Great accomplishment for them and a great story. But for anybody who thinks X got 'screwed' by playing a team from a 'power' conference just stop. When you look at their roster at first glance you will see they have tremendous size. X even tried to recruit a little of that size in Albert Jackson a couple years back. Researching the team a little closer you will see they are without two important pieces they expected to have at season's start in Takais Brown or Mike Mercer. Dial it in a little closer and you will see they use three freshmen off the bench. This game will be close but I see X winning it from the line. Miller mentioned the reference point of us being a 14 seed two years ago and playing Gonzaga as a three. That experience will help the Muskies as they will not be taking the Bulldogs lightly. Georgia has played against quality competition all year long and will not fold easily. Or could this be another Virginia-Kansas State-Auburn type blow out for Xavier?

Here's the matchups as I see them:


#2 Sundiata Gaines 6-1 205 Sr. #24 Drew Lavender 5-7 153 Sr.
#31 Billy Humphrey 6-2 185 Jr. #34 Stan Burrell 6-3 210 Sr.
#30 Terrance Woodbury 6-7 210 Jr. #20 CJ Anderson 6-5 220 Jr.
#34 Albert Jackson 6-10 250 So. #5 Derrick Brown 6-8 220 So.
#44 Dave Bliss 6-10 255 Sr. #31 Jason Love 6-9 245 So.

#23 Corey Butler 6-3 190 Jr. #1 Josh Duncan 6-9 240 Sr.
#50 Jeremy Price 6-9 270 Fr. #11 BJ Raymond 6-6 212 Jr.
#5 Zac Swansey 6-1 165 Fr. #25 Dante Jackson 6-5 195 Fr.
#20 Troy Brewer 6-5 170 Fr. #2 Adrion Graves 6-4 185 So.

Gaines is their leading scorer at 14.8 so I see Burrell taking him on the defensive end. Humphrey is no slouch either at 12.2 and is a good three point shooter. Woodbury is at 10.8 and after that the scoring levels off among the other guys. Bliss is a glue guy and again they boast good size along the front. However X essentially has 7 starters and I do not think they have an answer for #1 on the white team. He is a mismatch waiting to be taken advantage of by the Muskies and Duncan is due for a big game. Raymond has been in a little shooting slump lately as well. Lavender looking good in the A10 tournament (he set his team mates up constantly in the St. Joes games they just couldn't hit the outside jumper) and getting more confident with his ankle is key this week. Coach Miller can spend as much time as he wants with the players this week as they are on spring break. Do not overlook that. Also I think when it comes to the matchup coaching wise advantage goes to X. I feel really, really confident about this first game. If I were calling the shots I would play uptempo with them and focus alot on backdoor type plays to take advantage of their slower footed big men. The 'pack line' scheme D used by X should limit Gaines' drives in the lane. For us if we take away any of their three perimeter threats we will be in great shape. They take away anything from us we got two or three guys ready to fill that void. I LOVE BEING IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT!!!

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