Following a hard-fought victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers Friday, the Badgers close the first weekend with a matchup with the Xavier Musketeers Sunday. The Musketeers shape up to be one of the Badgers most difficult tests of the season.
The Musketeers come into Sunday’s matchup having handled Weber State 71-53 Friday night. After watching the Badgers offense flounder for majority of their game Friday, Xavier offers something that should have the Badgers concerned: potent scoring. The Musketeers led all of the Big East by averaging 81 points per game. It’s safe to say the Badgers will have to score more than 47 points to compete with the Musketeers Sunday.
Xavier’s potent offense is led by first team All-Big East standout Trevon Bluiet and Big East Sixth Man of the Year J.P. Macura. Bluiet averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds during the regular season. He scored 10 points Friday. James Farr led the Musketeers and all scorers on the night scoring 18 points and collecting 15 rebounds.
As a team, Xavier is very dynamic on the offensive end. They can find scoring from a variety of sources which makes them so hard to stop. Four Musketeers averaged in double-figures during the regular season and another two came close each averaging 9.5 points per game. The Musketeers are also very good on the glass. They led the Big East in rebounding margin at +7.8 rebounds per game.
On paper and as they showcased on the court Friday, the Musketeers are a very difficult team to beat. The Badgers will have to improve significantly on their performance Friday night to compete with the Musketeers Sunday. If the Badgers play a strong game, which they are more than capable of playing, Xavier can be beat. Wisconsin and Xavier tip off at 7:40 p.m. on TNT.