Christon is coming off his best performance since the Purdue game back on the first of December. He was a consistent force on offense for X against GW, and was efficient while doing so, hitting 9-of-13 shots from the field (including 1-of-1 from 3-point range). He also dished out seven assists. The big knock on Christon has been his free-throw shooting. After picking it back up for the three previous games, he made just 2-of-6 from the charity stripe against GW. Tired legs from playing extended minutes without Redford could have something to do with it, but he's struggled off and on with free-throws all year. Kloof has been inconsistent this year for the Bonnies, but over the last two games he's picked up his play a little bit, with 10 points in the loss at Colorado State and 8 points in the loss at George Washington. He's an average shooter from beyond the arc, who take and make an open look if left alone, but isn't too aggressive in looking for his shot. The interesting thing will be to see how he defends Christon as Kloof has not been very impressive on that end of the court.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Brad Redford Sr (6-1, 187) vs Matthew Wright Jr (6-4, 200)
Expect Redford to get his second straight start in place of Dee Davis, who is still nursing a sprained wrist. Davis hasn't been ruled out yet, and Coach Mack has said it will be a day-to-day, game-time decision until he gets back. Redford's importance to this offense can't be understated, and if he can draw some more confidence from his career night against GW, it could be huge for this team. It's tough to ask for consistency out of a specialist, but if Redford can avoid the games where he's a complete non-factor on offense, the defense then still has to account for him. Wright is a solid backcourt piece for the Bonnies that can do a little bit of everything. He makes plays on both ends of the court, leading the team in steals and assists last year. He's just an average scorer that sometimes shoots too much, and he's willing to jack from 3-point range, despite being just an 18% shooter from deep. Wright has some size and athleticism on Redford, as most opponents do, but as long as the Musketeers don't let him get easy points in transition to get going, they should be able to hold him in check.
Justin Martin So (6-6, 205) vs Chris Johnson Sr (6-5, 188)
Martin looked like he might be coming out of his funk after the Temple game when he went for 10 points and five rebounds, but against GW he was a non-factor, missing minutes early because he had three fouls, and then late because Robinson was playing well. The Musketeers need more scoring from wherever they can get it. If Robinson and Philmore can offer that, then they'll get the minutes. Martin has to get back to being a consistent presence - on offense, rebounding the ball and on defense - for this thin lineup that could really use his scoring ability. Johnson has made major strides from last season, and is now just 12 points shy of surpassing his entire scoring output from a year ago. He's second on the team in 3-pointers made, where he's shooting 45 percent, and has just been more aggressive and involved all around on the offensive end. He's coming off a 17-point performance against Washington, and is capable of that type of production on any given night with his ability to shoot and get to the free-throw line.
Slight Edge SBU
Jeff Robinson Sr (6-10, 225) vs Demetrius Conger Sr (6-6, 215)
Robinson is coming off the best game he's played since the Butler game, scoring 14 points and grabbing six boards against GW. His impact was huge in that game as he was aggressive around the rim, and stretched the floor too by knocking down jumpers. His stroke has looked pretty smooth the last few weeks, and his confidence seemed to be in the right place against the Colonials. He's a game-changer for this team when he's a weapon on offense and rebounding. In the win over GW, Robinson played the best game we've seen from him. Conger is the only player on the Bonnies' roster that has scored over 20 points this year. He's without a doubt their best player, and his versatility makes him a match-up problem. This is one of those times where if Jeff Robinson can play well, especially defensively, he's very valuable because of his rare physical makeup and versatility.
Moderate Edge SBU
Travis Taylor Sr (6-8, 216) vs Marquise Simmons Sr (6-8, 230)
Taylor's improved play has been remarkable over the course of the season, and it's hard to picture what this team would look like had he not stepped it up offensively. He's become a reliable offensive option, showing last week that, not only can he score, but he can also facilitate and make his teammates better as he dished out six assists, and dismantled GW's zone defense with his passing. Simmons missed all of last year with a torn right achilles that he suffered just two minutes into the season opener last year. He's worked his way back into the starting lineup as a fifth-year senior, and has at least provided the Bonnies with a relatively big body that can bang and rebound. He's averaging 7.4 points per game, and has been in double figures just four times this season (Cornell, Niagara, Siena, The Citadel). He seems to struggle defensively against opponents with scoring bigs, so this could be a huge opportunity for Taylor. If Simmons is on him, he should find success scoring. If Conger is on him, he will hold a size advantage, should still be able to score some, and will have the opportunity to draw fouls on the Bonnies' best player.
Moderate Edge Xavier
Xavier Bench vs SBU Bench
Expect Dee Davis to be out again, though no official word has been given. The Musketeers are really thin right now. Landon Amos has been a nice piece off the bench on the defensive end, but really the big issue is that they just don't have a second ball-handler right now if something happens to Semaj during the game. St. Bonaventure does have some depth. Redshirt senior, and Cincinnati native, Michael Davenport has started at times this year, as has sophomore guard Jordan Gathers. Senior guard Eric Mosley is definitely the Bonnies' best threat from the perimeter as he's hit at a 45 % clip from beyond the arc this year. He's a guy who can heat up in a hurry and provide some instant offense. Mosley averages 10.2 points per game off the bench, which is third most on the team behind Conger and Johnson. Sophomore center Youssou Ndoye will also provide some scoring around the rim and rebounding off the bench.
Slight Edge SBU
These two teams will play contrasting styles for the most part. St. Bonaventure plays much faster than does Xavier, and is a more efficient offensive team, but a much worse defensive team than the Musketeers. It will be interesting to see how what the Musketeers do with the opportunity to play in transition against a team that isn't very good defensively, especially Christon, who hasn't gotten as many opportunities for easy buckets in the open court as of late. The Bonnies are particularly poor with their perimeter defense, allowing opponents to hit at a 38 percent clip from beyond the arc. If Redford can get some free looks at the basket, we've seen what he can do for this offense. During this five-game losing streak that Bonaventure is on they have allowed opponents to shoot above 50 percent in all five of those losses, and rank last in field-goal percentage defense in the Atlantic 10 at 45.4 percent. Another huge key will be the play of Jeff Robinson. If he can help add some scoring, and give Xavier some length and size inside to help combat Conger, the Musketeers should have no problem in Olean. Not knowing how they'll react on the road against a below average team, it's easy to see this being a close game.
Score Prediction: Xavier 67 St. Bonaventure 64