|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET12:00 PM GMT8:00 PM 北京时间5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST, Nov 5, 2019
Cintas Center, Cincinnati, Ohio Attendance: 10,050
No. 19 Xavier ready to offer imposing 'welcome' to Jacksonville
Visitors beware. No. 19 Xavier is introducing "kill time" to the Cintas Center.
The Musketeers will use a message board above the student seating section to highlight defensive stops this season. Three stops in a row is a "kill," and statistical analysis has shown that kills have been a major part of their success.
Xavier has won 98 percent of its games in which it had at least seven kills -- seven stretches of three consecutive stops -- according to second-year coach Travis Steele.
The Musketeers will unveil the kill counter against Atlantic Sun member Jacksonville in the season opener for both in Cincinnati on Tuesday.
"We want to make it even tougher to play here," Steele said. "We want to engage the crowd."
Steele believes he has a group that can excel at his preferred man-to-man defense as the Musketeers look to rebound from a 19-16 season in which they missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in six seasons and only the third time since 2001.
Forward Naji Marshall, a 6-foot-7 junior and preseason All-Big East pick, is one of four returning starters, joining 6-9 forward Tyrique Jones and guards Quentin Goodin and Paul Scruggs. All averaged in double figures last year, when the Musketeers won eight of their final 11 after enduring a six-game losing streak.
Marshall led the team in scoring at 14.7 points a game and averaged 7.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Goodin is looking to become the second player in school history to lead the team in assists for four straight years. He averaged 4.8 last season.
"We could be elite on the defensive end as long as our guys continue to stay committed to that," Steele said.
"That's what we have to hang our hat on. We can pressure the ball and we can contain the dribble really, really, really, really well. We're long and we're pretty versatile. We're not always going to be the prettiest team. We have to be a blue-collar, nasty, defensive-oriented team."
It remains to be seen how close to full strength the Musketeers are in the season opener. Junior forward Jason Carter (back) and touted freshman guard KyKy Tandy (foot) did not play in an exhibition game Wednesday. Jones was limited to 17 minutes due to a knee injury.
"Patella a little sore," Steele said. "Don't think it is anything more than that. Wanted to be cautious."
Steele has a coach's take on the national ranking.
"We haven't earned anything," he said. "That label has been given to us. We have to earn that right every single day in practice."
Jacksonville, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Cinderella trip to the 1970 NCAA championship game behind Artis Gilmore and Rex Morgan, returns three starters from a 12-20 team.
Guard Tyreese Davis (10.1 points) is the only returning double-digit scorer after leading scorer and rebounder JD Notae (15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds) transferred to Arkansas, but coach Tony Jasick likes his blend of returners and newcomers.
"We've improved our skill level, and we've got a group of guys that are much more attuned to what it takes to win," Jasick said. "Hopefully, that shows up in the games."
--Field Level Media
Updated November 4, 2019