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Xavier Musketeers

NCAAB – BIG EAST

Xavier Musketeers Stats

Arena: Cintas Center
Coach: Travis Steele

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Xavier Musketeers

Xavier Musketeers Summary

Xavier was a natural fit for the Big East when it wanted to create a competitive, basketball-focused conference. The long-time mid-major Musketeers have a history of bringing in talented young coaches who go on to big things. Current coach Travis Steele is hoping the 2021-22 season will be the one where he lives up to the standard set by his predecessors.

The Musketeers, who last made the NCAA tournament in 2018, have shown signs of improvement this season after finishing below-.500 in conference play last year. Xavier is off to a 13-3 start, including a 3-2 Big East record. The Musketeers showed they were ready for the big time when they knocked off No. 19 Ohio State in the non-conference.

Since then, Xavier has struggled against ranked opponents, losing twice to Villanova and against now-ranked Iowa State. Still, the Musketeers are in a position to make a strong case for the big dance.

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Xavier Musketeers History

The Musketeers played their first game in 1920 and were an independent school until the 1985-86 season. Xavier then moved into the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, which is now known as the Horizon League. After a long period of sustained success, the Musketeers bumped up to the Atlantic 10 in search of a more rigorous challenge.

Once Xavier joined the Atlantic 10, the program really flourished. Xavier would have two seasons during this period — in 2004 and 2008 — where the Musketeers reached the Elite 8. Their sustained success in the Atlantic 10 led to an invite from the Big East during a major period of conference realignment for the 2013-14 season. Xavier is one of only two teams in the Big East — along with Creighton — to have never reached the Final Four.

2022 Key Stats

Xavier is built around being a soundly structured defensive team. The Musketeers allow their opponents to score 63.4 points per game, which ranks 51st in the country. Xavier also holds opponents to 40 percent shooting from the field and 30.5 percent from the 3-point line, which rank 52nd and 69th, respectively.

Offensively, the Musketeers have been respectable. Xavier averages 75.6 points per game and makes 33.6 percent of its 3-pointers. Nate Johnson leads the Musketeers in scoring, averaging 12.3 points per game. Paul Scruggs leads Xavier with 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Jack Nunge provides 11.9 points per game off the bench.

Scruggs and Colby Jones also score in double figures, averaging 11.2 points per game apice. X Xavier averages 33.6 percent shooting from the 3-point line and knocks down 7.7 attempts per game. The Musketeers also produce 7.5 steals per game on defense. But have never won a March Madness

Championships Won by the Team

Xavier was the first Ohio Division I school to win a postseason NCAA men’s basketball championship. In 1958, the Musketeers were making their third straight NIT appearance. After going 1-1 in the previous two years, Xavier broke through in a big way. The Musketeers rattled off wins over Niagara, Bradley, St. Bonaventure, and Dayton to win the 1958 NIT tournament title. It remains the only postseason championship in school history.

In the Midwestern College Conference, Xavier was a regular in the conference tournament championship. The Musketeers won six titles between 1983 and 1991. Once Xavier moved to the Atlantic 10, it collected tournament titles in 1998, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

The Musketeers have yet to win a Big East Tournament but were the regular-season conference champions in 2018.

Important Team Events

Following the successful tenures of Skip Prosser and Thad Matta as coach, Xavier needed to make the right hire when choosing the person to lead their program in 2004. The Musketeers decide to go internal, promoting Matta’s top assistant, Sean Miller. Miller, who once gained notoriety as a child for his dribbling skills on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, grew up the son of a prominent Pennsylvania High School Coach.

Miller, who played at Pitt, coached at Wisconsin, Miami of Ohio, Pitt, and NC State before landing at Xavier, came highly regarded. Miller scheduled difficult games in the non-conference to try and raise the program’s profile. After a 17-12 record during the 2004-05 season, the Musketeers ripped off four 20-plus win seasons in a row.

Xavier won the conference tournament in the 2005-06 season after finishing seventh in the standings. In Miller’s final three years with the program, they topped the regular-season conference standings every year. In Miller’s final two seasons, they reached the Elite Eight and Sweet 16.

Top Players

Xavier has four players — Tyrone Hill, James Posey, David West, and Jordan Crawford — who were selected in the first round of the NBA draft. West, who finished up with the Musketeers in 2003, had a long career in the NBA, stretching from 2003 to 2018. West won the Oscar Robertson Trophy and was named the AP National Player of the Year.

In the professional ranks, West experienced the most personal success during his tenure with the New Orleans Hornets from 2003 to 2011. West was twice named to the all-star team during this period. Toward the end of his career, he would catch on with the Golden State Warriors and contribute to their championship teams in 2017 and 2018 before retiring.

Top Coaches

The top coaches in Xavier’s history have been able to parlay the Musketeers’ job into a career-launching pad. Current Louisville coach Chris Mack is Xavier’s all-time wins leader, compiling 215 wins during a tenure that stretched from 2009 to 2018 and included an Elite Eight appearance. Prosser, who coached the team between 2004 and 2011, collected 148 wins before moving on to Wake Forest.

Pete Gillen had a successful run with the program between 1985 and 1994 is second on the program’s all-time wins list with 202. After moving on from the Musketeers, Gillen would coach at Providence and Virginia. Miller, who recorded 120 wins at the school, would go on to have a long run at Arizona. Matta, who had a brief, three-year tenure at the school would have a long run at Ohio State. Matta became the Buckeyes’ all-time winningest coach and appeared in the 2007 national title game.

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Xavier Musketeers FAQs

What other Big East school has never made the Final Four?

Creighton.

How many times have the Musketeers made the Elite Eight?

Three.

What conference did Xavier play in right before joining the Big East?

The Atlantic 10.

How many Musketeers have been selected in the first round of the NBA Draft?

Four.

What awards did David West win in his senior year at Xavier?

The Oscar Robertson Trophy and the AP National Player of the Year.

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