With No. 2-seed Texas’ win over Penn State final weekend, the Longhorns made it to their first Candy 16 since 2008. Nevertheless, there may be nonetheless extra to be desired for interim head coach Rodney Terry and his group.
Standing in the way in which of Texas’ eighth-ever Elite Eight look is No. 3-seed Xavier.
The Musketeers have had an incredible season, going 23–8 within the common season and making it to the Massive East convention championship recreation.
Xavier head coach Sean Miller, in his second stint with this system, led the Musketeers to their first NCAA event look since 2018.
Led by a slew of upperclassmen, Xavier ranks seventh within the nation in offensive effectivity. The group shoots 39% from the 3-point line, good for fifth greatest within the nation. Regardless of taking pictures such a excessive share from past the arc, the Musketeers don’t depend on the three-ball. As a substitute, they prefer to get the ball inside for simpler seems to be.
Xavier is respectable on the defensive finish, discovering itself across the center of the pack by way of defensive effectivity. Miller’s squad doesn’t power many turnovers, and Texas doesn’t flip the ball over a lot, giving the Longhorns a bonus in that division.
Sadly for the Musketeers, senior Zach Freemantle, arguably their greatest participant, underwent season-ending foot surgical procedure. Freemantle is a six-foot-nine-inch presence on the courtroom. The ahead shot a ridiculous 64% from the 3-point line, averaging 15.2 factors and eight.1 rebounds per recreation earlier than his damage towards Creighton.
In his absence, a number of guys have stepped up. Senior guard Souley Boum is the group’s main scorer with 16.5 factors per recreation, whereas additionally appearing as the only real distributor, averaging 4.3 assists per recreation. Senior ahead Jack Nunge is scoring 14.1 factors per recreation whereas making up for the rebounding that Freemantle used to regulate, averaging 7.7 rebounds per recreation.
Nunge led the Musketeers to a win over No. 11-seed Pittsburgh within the Spherical of 32 final weekend, scoring a group excessive of 18 factors. Xavier additionally had 5 different gamers scoring in double figures. Miller has opted into a really brief rotation, with six gamers logging 20 minutes or extra in every of the primary two event video games, permitting his gamers to log larger stats than most beginning lineups.
Each the Musketeers and Longhorns have a large number of gamers which might be able to main the group in scoring on any given night time. Texas and Xavier will battle it out in Kansas Metropolis on Friday night time for an opportunity to tackle the winner of No. 1-seed Houston and No. 5-seed Miami.