Tuesday December 8th,2009 was part of a learning experience for this Xavier Basketball team. The Musketeers lost 71-56 that night at Kansas State in the middle of a snow storm.
The first half of the game was just too much for the Musketeers. They trailed 30-20 at the break but were demoralized on the boards at a 28-8 clip. They also failed to score a basket in the final 7 minutes of the game. From that point on there was a toughness that was starting to rise in this Musketeer team. In the second half they won the rebounding margin by seven but cold shooting and foul trouble cost the Musketeers a comeback. I saw that Kansas States toughness was beginning to be matched by Xavier and Jamel McClean has epitomized that since that fatefull day.
A little over three months later Xavier and Kansas State meet again at the Sweet 16 in Salt Lake City. I have one prediction, this game will be one tough, gritty, nasty battle that will come down to offensive rebounds and turnovers. Kansas State wins ball games with great offensive rebounding margins but Xavier has become a very good offensive rebounding team. Xavier has won recently with extremely low turnover rates. So, if Xavier can win the battle of the offensive boards or stay close I feel Xavier can gain revenge on the Wildcats. But if KSU dominates the O-boards Kansas State should come out on top.
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