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December 16, 2011Record: 7-4 (Notables Losses: Gonzaga, Oklahoma, West Virginia) (Notable Wins: FIU, Missouri St)
#4 Roderick Pearson- 6'2 Sr PG: Averaging 7.8 points, 3 assists
#13 Warren Niles-6'5 Jr SG: Averaging 9.8 points, 3 assists
#45 Dominiqu Morrison-6'6 Sr SF: Averages 16.2 points
#54 Michael Craion- 6'5 Sr PF: Averages 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds
#22 Steven Roundtree- 6'8 So PF: Averages 11.2 points, 7 rebounds
#32 Dame Bell Holter- 6'9 Jr C: Averages 7.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, plays starter minutes
#35 Mikey Manghum- 6'2 Jr PG: Averaging 4 points
Xavier Defensive Keys
-Contest all shots: ORU shoots over 45% from the field, very good for a team average (especially considering who they've played already). Xavier needs to contest all shots early and often forcing the Golden Eagles into shooting "tough two's"; meaning contested two point shots vs open threes or layups.
-Avoid balanced scoring: With six players averaging around 8 points per game or more this ORU team can beat you in a number of ways. With Xavier's guards being a little depleted a major key will be the Musketeer big men taking away any low post scoring from ORU big men.
-Andre Walker: He is probably the most important factor on both ends of the court but he will more then likely be called on to contain SF Dominiqu Morrison who is statistically the Golden Eagles best player. Walker is going to have to give his usual great effort, but probably for a longer stretch then normal, this will be the matchup to watch when ORU has the ball early.
Xavier Offensive Keys
-Run them: Even with 3 starters suspended the men of XU still have more depth then ORU. Playing their normal up tempo style of offense could lead to a really high scoring shootout; or it could lead to ORU getting worn down in the second half. That's the call that Coach Mack will have to make.
-Play with poise: ORU is a veteran team that is used to playing, and competing, in hostile environments. They also are a high scoring team and will most likely make a big run or two; Coach Mack loves to let the Musketeers play their way through tough stretches (although we'll see if that changes without Tu and Cheeks), freshman PG Dee Davis will have to be under control and not force the offense when ORU goes on these runs.
-Work the ball inside: The tallest player that the Golden Eagles play is 6'9, and only one other is taller then 6'6, so expect Xavier to try and get Kenny Frease and the rest of the Musketeer big men in foul trouble early. With their limited depth inside Xavier needs to control the paint from the tip to send the Golden Eagles into their short bench, and make them focus on defense; as ORU is an offensive based team.
Overall: This is a very good ORU team that is experienced, versatile, and believes in their ability to win games like this. Xavier is the much better team, even with three starters missing, if they play well (especially early) then they'll be fine. ORU is the type of team that if you let them hang around they can pull the upset late.