After beating Maryland Basketball 76-65 in the first round. Xavier Basketball looks to advance to the Sweet 16 later today against Florida State Basketball.
There’s always plenty of excitement surrounding the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Getting to watch major postseason college basketball games in the middle of a Thursday or Friday afternoon. Now the second round is here, which for Xavier means a match-up against Florida State, practically in the Seminoles backyard. As the two will tip off in Orlando, FL tonight at 6:10 P.M. Eastern on TNT. While getting set for tonight’s game, what can Thursday’s game against Maryland teach Xavier?
First, if Trevon Bluiett’s going to have a hot half scoring wise let it be the second. Bluiett’s had games throughout this season where he’s on fire in one half. Then relatively cold in another, that pattern showed up on Thursday night. When Bluiett scored 21 points, all but three came of them in the second half. If Bluiett can have two consistent halves of great shooting or a great second half; then Xavier will be in good shape.
The second takeaway from Thursday’s game was Xavier’s bench. Some of Xavier’s bench players and underclassmen had stand out games on Thursday. In particular, Junior Sean O’Mara and Freshman Quentin Goodin. O’Mara had the most rebounds for Xavier with seven against Maryland. Goodin had the most assists of anyone on the court with nine.
O’Mara’s been an unsung player for Xavier this season. Scoring 18 points on Thursday, only to Trevon Bluiett had more points for Xavier. While Quentin Goodin had a basketball equivalent to a baptism by fire this year. Being thrust into a more prominent role when Edmond Sumner was sidelined by a season ending injury. While statistically there’s still plenty of room for Goodin to improve; he could be Xavier’s star player in two years.
Xavier will be in for what should be a challenging game against Florida State. Considering the Seminoles come from the ACC, one could say they get lost in the national conversation. With powerhouse programs like North Carolina Basketball, Duke Basketball and Louisville Basketball in their conference. However, this Florida State team towers above many other teams. They have the tallest players of any team in the NCAA Tournament field.
After winning what could be referred to as the “Dez Wells Classic” against Maryland. Xavier now has the chance to advance to San Jose, CA and the West Regional semifinals with a win tonight. Where there could be the potential showdown between predecessor and successor. That is if Xavier wins and Arizona Basketball beats St.Mary’s later tonight. If that happened, Xavier’s head coach Chris Mack would face former Xavier head coach Sean Miller in the Sweet 16.