March 1, 2013
Scouting the UMass Minutemen
Record: 16-9 Overall (6-6 Conference), (6-4 Road)
Key Wins: Providence, Ohio, LaSalle
Key Losses: Saint Bonaventure, Charlotte, George Washington
#3 Chaz Williams - 5'9 junior PG: Averages 16 points per game and ranks among the league leaders in assists and steals. Lion hearted guard might be small but has the ability to take over and dominate the game.
#23 Freddie Riley - 6'5 senior SG: Averages 8 points per game and is the team's top three-point shooter.
#33 Terrell Vinson - 6'7 senior SF: Second leading active scorer is getting 12.2 points per contest.
#34 Raphael Putney - 6'9 junior PF: Has been cold shooting it but trusts his stroke. Averages 7.8 points per game.
#25 Cady Lalanne - 6'10 sophomore C: Averages 8.1 points and leads team in rebounding at 6.8 per game.
#22 Sampson Carter - 6'8 senior PF: Sixth man and role player averages 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per night.
#1 Maxie Esho - 6'8 sophomore PF: Only other bench player to see any real minutes averages 6 points and 4.8 boards.
Notes: Umass' second leading scorer, junior wing Jesse Morgan, tore his ACL in late January and will miss the remainder of the season. Through fourteen games, Morgan was averaging 13.4 points per game.
Xavier Defensive Keys
- Contain Williams: The heart and soul of UMass is junior point guard Chaz Williams. Given the amount of size that the Minutemen play, it is difficult for other players to create shots; making Williams job all the more difficult. For Xavier to win, Semaj Christon (and a healthy Dee Davis) will have to keep Williams in front of them, forcing him into tough shots over taller defenders.
- Play big: UMass can beat teams with their size alone. If you look at their seven man rotation, only Williams is shorter than 6'5. Xavier will need to have their big men come to play, and avoid foul trouble, if they wish to win this game at home.
- Use the crowd: The Minutemen are a very good scoring team, they average 73 points per game, and have a lot of different guys that can score the ball. All that being said, UMass is just an average offensive team on the road. If the Cintas Center is rocking on Saturday then the Minutemen could struggle to score.
Xavier Offensive Keys
- Attack off the dribble: With all of the size that they play in their rotation, UMass is one of the slower teams in the Atlantic 10, especially on the perimeter. Look for Semaj Christon and company to try and attack every mismatch that they get, forcing a the more slow-footed Minutemen defenders to really have to focus on sliding their feet.
- Make Williams guard screens: The best way to slow Chaz Williams down offensively is to make him tired by having to play tough defense. Look for Mack to make Williams guard ballscreens and away from ball screens early and often, whether the junior guard is matched up with the bigger Semaj Christon, or someone like Dee Davis or Brad Redford.
Overall: Coming off of the emotional high of the Memphis win we'll get a fresh look and a chance to see how the Musketeers handle some success. This is another huge game, with even more implications long term than the Memphis game because of conference affiliation. This is one that Xavier must have at home, and they'll enter as solid favorites. If they play like they did in three of the last four halves of basketball (minus the second half against VCU) then the Musketeers should get a nice home win against a god UMass team, led by one of the league's most dynamic guards.
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