Dec 29, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Xavier Musketeers guard Semaj Christon (0) brings the ball up court against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee won 51 to 47. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Big East Preview: Xavier Musketeers


Record last season:  17-14 (Conf: 9-7)

Postseason:  None

Coach:  Chris Mack

Coach’s record at school:  90-44

Offensive efficiency:  103.2 (125th in the country)

Defensive efficiency:  95.3 (60th in the country)

Returnees:  Semaj Christon (15.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG), Dee Davis (8.2 PPG, 1.7 RPG), Justin Martin (7.9 PPG, 4.7 RPG, Isaiah Philmore (7.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG) Erik Stenger (1.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG), James Farr (1.2 PPG, 1.1 RPG)

Notable losses:  Travis Taylor (11.9 PPG, 9.0 RPG), Brad Redford (7.6 PPG, 1.2 RPG), Jeff Robinson (6.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG)

Newcomers:  Brandon Randolph, Matt Stainbrook, Jalen Reynolds, Myles Davis, Kamall Richards, Aleksander Vezenkiv

Projected lineup:

G:  Semaj Christon

G:  Dee Davis

F:  Justin Martin

F:  Isaiah Philmore

C:  Matt Stainbrook

Outlook:

When I wrote up my pre-summer Big East power rankings way back in May, I admittedly overlooked Xavier’s roster as I mistakenly forgot about the three players that will be on the team this year, but could not play last year (Stainbrook, Reynolds and M. Davis) due to transfer rules and rulings from the NCAA.  And Xavier fans made sure to let me know about it.  Big mistake on my part.  Because after reassessing this squad, the Muskies should be in the top half of the Big East as they have a legitimate shot at competing for the conference title.

Xavier had ESPN’s 14th ranked recruiting class in 2012 (which included Christon, Farr, Davis and Reynolds), but only two of those four players were allowed to suit up last year.  Now the Musketeers will be at full power with the best point guard in the conference (Christon) and talent and depth at every position.  Yeah, maybe it’s a bit optimistic to expect the new comers to provide significant contributions immediately, but coach Mack has a proven track record of success.  So thinking that Myles Davis could immediately become one of the best shooters in the conference and Stainbrook being a problem for the opposition in the low post, doesn’t appear to be that unreasonable.  Throw in another top-100 recruit in Randolph to spell Christon, and Xavier fans will quickly forget about the turmoil of the last two years as they should find immediate success in the newly formed Big East and get back to the NCAA tournament. 

Projected Big East finish:  5th

Tags: Basketball Big East Semaj Christon Xavier Musketeers