Miami-Ohio (0-2) at Xavier (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 20, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Cintas Center (10,250) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: Fox Sports 1. Home Record: Miami 0-0, Xavier 3-0. Away Record: Miami 0-2, Xavier 0-0. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, Xavier 0-0. Conference Record: Miami 0-0, Xavier 0-0. Series Record: Xavier leads, 52-47.
GAME NOTES: The Miami-Ohio RedHawks will have their hands full on Wednesday as they try to contain Semaj Christon and the Xavier Musketeers in a non- conference bout at the Cintas Center.
The RedHawks will be playing their third consecutive road game to start the 2013-14 season. They enter with an 0-2 record after falling, 74-62, at Notre Dame in their season opener before being dismantled in a 90-54 loss at Arizona State last Tuesday. Coach John Cooper's squad has struggled tremendously on the offensive end against its major conference foes as it has shot just 37.7 percent from the floor to net 58 points per game.
Xavier has been impressive during its perfect 3-0 start. The Musketeers opened up their campaign with a rout of Gardner-Webb before holding off a very talented Tennessee Volunteers squad as part of the 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon. Coach Chris Mack's team continued its success on Friday with a 79-56 rout of Morehead State. Xavier has come out of the gate focused in all three outings to hold its opposition to an average of 21.7 points per game on 25.3 efficiency in the first half.
These instate rivals have squared off 99 times in history. Xavier holds a 52-47 edge in the all-time series, which includes a 6-1 mark versus the RedHawks at the Cintas Center. The Musketeers have defeated 10 of their last 11 opponents from the Mid-American Conference.
Although Miami has been poor overall offensively, it does have one bright spot in sophomore guard Reggie Johnson. The 6-foot-1 guard who attended the same St. Joseph's High School in Chicago as NBA Hall-of-Famer Isiah Thomas, has looked like the former Detroit Pistons star through the first two games of his sophomore campaign with an average of 23 points per game to lead the Mid- American Conference. Unfortunately, Johnson has not had much help as Will Felder and Blake McLimans are tied for second in the scoring column with 8.5 ppg each. Felder, who is shooting only 31.6 percent from the floor, is pacing the team on the glass with 12 rebounds through two outings.
Johnson will try to outduel the Musketeers' sophomore standout. Christon is leading Xavier in the scoring column at 17.3 ppg and has scored in double- figures in 22 straight games dating back to last season. Christon has a lot more support as eight of his teammates are scoring seven points or more per tilt. Matt Stainbrook has been a significant role player for the Musketeers as he is averaging a double-double with 10.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per outing. Christon is one of the top mid-major points guards in the nation and his backcourt mate Brandon Randolph, has taken pressure off of him by handing out 4.3 assists per game through the first three games of his collegiate career.
The RedHawks may have to wait until Saturday's matchup versus Division III foe Wilmington College to get into the win column. The Musketeers have had a blue collar mentality under Mack as they seem to take care of business by outworking their opposition and refusing the back down. Miami will need to give a collective effort as no one-man-show will be able to down Xavier this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 81, Miami-Ohio 63
11/20 10:35:54 ET