Dancin’ At The Sweet 16: Xavier – West Virginia
Were taking a look at all four games this evening and with some things you might want to watch for, starting with the Xavier/West Virginia game.
This is an intriguing match-up because on one side you have the balance and tenacity of Xavier going against Joe Alexander, Alex Ruoff and the rest of the Bob Huggins crew.
While the Mountaineers are probably more dependent on their two biggest stars on offense than Xavier is, the match-up still looks like it’ll be too close to call. The Musketeers have six different players averaging in double-digits while WVU has four. Xavier is known as a patient team that’s committed to defense and will not waver from their game plan, even when they are trailing.
As for West Virginia, well, they play in the Big East, one of the more physical and demanding conferences in college basketball.
IF (big if) Stanley Burrell can defend Joe Alexander well enough to bother him and Xavier can match the Mountaineers’ outside shooting, or at least weather it, they have a great chance of moving on to the Elite 8. However, if Ruoff and Alexander start bombing 3s, they are as dangerous as any team left in the tournament. This is one of those games that’s too hard to call. Because of that, we’re going with a hunch:
I suspect the Musketeers defense will be bothersome for the Mountaineers and while Alexander will keep his team in it, Xavier’s balance on offense (led by Josh Duncan) and their commitment to defense will win out. Narrowly.
Xavier wins, 75-73.