GameNight: Xavier vs Missouri

November 20th, 2008
Nov 20 2008 - 1:00am


Preview & Prediction: By Raphielle Johnson






This could arguably be the best first-round matchup in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, with the Missouri Tigers (2-0) taking on the Xavier Musketeers (2-0). Xavier heads into this season having to replace three cornerstones of Sean Miller’s program in Stanley Burrell, Drew Lavender and Josh Duncan. But there’s still a good amount of talent on the roster, most notably forwards C.J. Anderson and Derrick Brown, guard B.J. Raymond, and a highly-touted freshman big man by the name of Kenny Frease. But the question as to who runs the show at the point is one that the Musketeers hope to have a solid answer for by the time Atlantic 10 play rolls around. Dante Jackson and Brad Redford have shared the role in their wins over IPFW and Toledo, but the Tigers’ pressure defense will provide a true test for the Xavier ball handlers.


As for the Tigers, Mike Anderson’s team is hoping to get back to the NCAA Tournament, and with four starters back this could be the year in which they get the job done. Forwards Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll have led the way in Missouri victories over Prairie View A&M and Chattanooga, but just like Xavier they’ll be getting their first true test of the season. Guards J.T. Tiller and Marcus Denmon have been the best distributors on the team so far, with Denmon boasting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.5. The key for Missouri in two victories: turnovers forced, with forty-five going the Tigers’ way in those games. They’ll have to get more of the same against an inexperienced Xavier backcourt if they’re to win this game.


Winner: Missouri       Margin: 1-4 pts.