The last week before March Madness featured plenty of noteworthy events for the Xavier Musketeers.
It was conference tournament week for most of college basketball, and this included the Big East and Xavier. Though the Musketeers fell short in New York City, it was still a very busy week for the program.
Xavier remains #3 in AP poll, moves to #2 in Coaches Poll
Though the Villanova Wildcats jumped Xavier in the AP poll, the Musketeers were ranked behind only the Virginia Cavaliers in the Coaches poll. It is the highest Xavier has been ranked in either poll in its history.
The Musketeers moved to the second spot after Michigan State lost in the Big Ten tournament semi-finals to Michigan.
Musketeers beat St. John’s in Big East tournament quarterfinals
It was a dominating performance for Xavier in their win over St. John’s, as they rolled the Red Storm 88-60. Xavier only led by four at half time, but they outscored St. John’s 55-31 over the final 20 minutes.
Senior Trevon Bluiett led the team in scoring, with 27 points, and rebounding, with seven. Senior JP Macura also had a strong outing, scoring nine points, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out five assists and getting four steals. The win sent Xavier to the semi-finals, where they would take on the winner of Providence vs. Creighton.
Providence mounts huge comeback over Xavier in OT
For a while, it looked like Xavier had this game in hand. The Musketeers came out of the gate strong, playing tough defense and getting easy offense. They even led by 17 with just over 15 minutes left in the game. Then suddenly, Xavier went cold.
After only turning the ball over twice in the first half, Xavier turned it over eight times in the second half. As result, the offense lost its rhythm and the defense had trouble getting stops. They only made nine shots in the second half and overtime.
Graduate student Kerem Kanter led all scorers with 18 points. Freshman Paul Scruggs had a career day, putting up 15 points on his 20th birthday.
The Musketeers get first 1-seed in program history
When the bracket was released, Xavier received the first 1-seed in program history, earning the top seed in the West region. The Musketeers open tournament play Friday against the winner of the First Four matchup between North Carolina Central and Texas Southern.
The game will be in Nashville, and should Xavier win they will take on the winner of Missouri and Florida State on Sunday.
With another busy week in the books, the next one is sure to be just as exciting.