Xavier (5-0) vs. (23) Iowa (5-0)
Thursday, November 28, 7 p.m. (ET)
The Sports Network
By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Imperial Arena (3,900) -- Paradise Island, Bahamas. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Xavier 5-0, Iowa 5-0. Away Record: Xavier 0-0, Iowa 0-0. Neutral Record: Xavier 0-0, Iowa 0-0. Conference Record: Xavier 0-0, Iowa 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams sporting 5-0 records will clash in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament at Imperial Arena in the Bahamas when the Xavier Musketeers take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Musketeers have opened with five straight victories, the most recent of which was a 93-65 rout of Abilene Christian. The win ended a five-game homestand for Xavier, which is still more than two weeks away from its first true road game.
A 5-0 start for Iowa has been even more impressive, as the Hawkeyes have won four of their five contests by more than 30 points. Such dominating victories, all coming at home, have pushed the Hawkeyes to No. 23 in the recent polls. It is the first time since 2006 that Iowa has made its way into the national rankings.
The winner of this matchup moves on to the semifinals against either Tennessee or Texas-El Paso.
These teams also met during an in-season tournament in 2010 when Xavier took an 86-73 victory during the Paradise Jam. Iowa won the only other meeting as Thursday is the third all-time matchup.
Bench scoring carried Xavier in its rout of Abilene Christian. Led by 15 points from Myles Davis, the Musketeers had a 48-6 advantage in points off the bench. The Musketeers also had a massive, 45-21 advantage on the glass, while netting 57.9 percent of their shots from the floor.
The defensive end of the floor has been very productive for the Musketeers, who are holding teams to 58.8 points per game on 38.8 percent shooting. Xavier hasn't been too bad on offense either, scoring nearly 80 points per game, while knocking down 52.5 percent from the field. Semaj Christon (16.4 ppg, 5.0 apg) has been a major reason for the offensive success as he leads the team in scoring, hits more than 50 percent of his shots from the floor and is second on the team in assists. Christon had 17 points and dished out six assists last time out. Matt Stainbrook (10.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg) is the leader on the boards and the only other player scoring in double figures.
Iowa hosted Penn its last time out. The outcome was never really in doubt as the Hawkeyes rolled to an 86-55 rout of the Quakers. In the victory the Hawkeyes forced their way to the free-throw line quite a bit, with a 28-10 scoring edge at the charity stripe. They also forced 25 turnovers and traded them in for 30 points.
The Hawkeyes have been even more dominant en route to their 5-0 start. Iowa has kept opponents from finding much success on offense, allowing just 54.6 points per game on 31.2 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes are putting up 92.6 points per game, for a massive +38 scoring margin. Roy Devyn Marble (14.6 ppg) is a strong scorer and a disruptive defender, as he has collected a team-high 16 steals. Aaron White (13.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Jarrod Uthoff (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) anchor the squad from the interior, with each netting more than 56 percent of their field goal attempts.
The Musketeers present the first real test for Iowa, which has dominated against inferior competition. With White and Uthoff protecting the paint and Devyn Marble leading the way on the wings, the Hawkeyes have the versatility to push past the Musketeers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa 75, Xavier 70
11/28 10:33:34 ET