[7:25 PM] #11 Xavier v. Northern Iowa

Who will WIN this matchup?

#11 Xavier Musketeers (4-0)

Northern Iowa Panthers (3-0)


The line for this game is Xavier by 5 points.

Junior J.P. Macura, often overlooked within Xavier’s outstanding backcourt trio, has taken center stage this week at the Tire Pros Invitational in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Macura looks to stay hot and lead the 10th-ranked Musketeers to the title in the four-day, three-game tournament when they meet Northern Iowa on Sunday night in the championship game.

While Macura (19.5 points, 4.3 assists) has gotten off to an outstanding start, Bluiett (18.0 points) and Sumner (16.5, 5.8 rebounds, 50 percent shooting) are also putting up big numbers. The Musketeers recorded at least 83 points in all four games, but are struggling behind the 3-point arc while making just 29.6 percent of their attempts. Xavier has gotten contributions inside during the tournament as junior forward Sean O’Mara is averaging 11.5 points and senior transfer RaShid Gaston added seven points to go along with eight rebounds per game.

Carlson has emerged as a major threat in the tournament after being held scoreless in the season-opening win against Division III Coe College. Carlson is 6-for-12 from 3-point range in Lake Buena Vista and freshman Spencer Haldeman has drained 7-of-13 from behind the arc in the last two games. Senior guard Jeremy Morgan, the preseason Player of the Year in the Missouri Valley Conference, is averaging team highs of 16 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.3 steals while junior forward Bennett Koch (11 points per game) is the top threat inside.

Xavier won the AdvoCare Invitational on the same court – the HP Field House — last season.

Northern Iowa boasts 17 wins over Division I ranked opponents – 14 since Ben Jacobson joined the coaching staff in 2001-02.

Xavier G/F Malcolm Bernard, a graduate transfer from Florida A&M, had season highs of nine points and seven boards against Clemson.


StreakSmarts Pick: Xavier Musketeers

Confidence: 6/10

StreakSmarter Pick