Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season. We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
After being one of the premiere programs in the Atlantic 10 for nearly two decades, the Xavier Musketeers take a step up in competition by moving to the Big East. Their streak of seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances ended last year and will more than likely extend another season.
Last Season: T-6th, 9-7 in A-10, 17-14 overall
Predicted Big East Finish: 7th
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Matt Stainbrook (Jr)/James Farr (So)
PF: Isaiah Philmore (Sr)/Jaylen Reynolds (Fr)/Erik Stenger (Sr)
SF: Justin Martin (Jr)/Kamall Richards (Fr)
G: Dee Davis (Jr)/Myles Davis (Fr)
PG: Semaj Christon (So)/Brandon Randolph (Fr)
Gone: F/C-Jeff Robinson, PF-Travis Taylor, SG-Brad Redford
The biggest bright spot in a rather disappointing season was the play of freshman point guard Semaj Christon who led Xavier in scoring, averaging more than 15 points per game. He is at his best off the bounce but needs to limit his turnovers and improve his outside shooting to take the next step in his game.
Dee Davis will once again be Christon’s backcourt mate and is capable of playing either guard spot. He is also the Musketeers’ top returning three-point threat which becomes an area of concern since the team loses three-point specialist Brad Redford. There isn’t a whole lot of depth at guard meaning freshmen Myles Davis and Brandon Randolph need to play immediately. Davis redshirted last season and Mack will need his long range shooting off the bench. Randolph brings more explosiveness to the point guard position but might find minutes hard to come by.
Justin Martin returns to the small forward position. He is a solid role player due to his combination of strength and athleticismsm. Richards is a lefty with similar size and stature as Martin and should see minutes in a reserve role.
The frontcourt gets a boost with the addition of Western Michigan transfer Matt Stainbrook. He provides the true big body down low that Xavier lacked last season. Isaiah Philmore should step into the starting power forward after a solid though certainly not spectacular first year with the Musketeers after transferring in from Towson. Energy role player Erik Stenger, seldom used James Farr, and redshirt freshmen Jaylen Reynolds will compete for playing time off the bench.
Mack also added Indiana transfer Remy Abell during the off-season though he must sit out this upcoming season. With already three top 100 level recruits committed for 2014, the Xavier Musketeers figures to be a player in the new Big East in the very near future; just don’t expect big things in their inaugural year in the their new home.
Player to Watch: Semaj Christon
You can make a solid argument that Christon is the best point guard in the conference. Last year’s A-10 Rookie of the Year has caught the eyes of NBA scouts and might bolt for the association after this season.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/12 vs. Tennessee
11/28 vs. Iowa (Battle 4 Atlantis)
11/29 vs. Tennessee/UTEP (Battle 4 Atlantis)
12/1 vs. Kansas/Wake Forest/Villanova/USC (Battle 4 Atlantis)
12/14 vs. Cincinnati
12/21 at Alabama
12/28 vs. Wake Forest
OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#56 Saint Mary’s
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#64 Florida State
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#70 Miami FL
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#84 Washington State
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#95 Seton Hall
#97 George Mason
#99 Penn State
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#108 Virginia Tech
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks