Xavier recently completed a preseason trip to Brazil in which they went 4-0 and got a lot of playing time for the six new freshmen on the roster.
Not only did the newcomers get to play a lot during the 10-practice, four-game trip in South America, but with guard Dee Davis out for all four games with a hamstring injury, even more minutes were available.
According to Shannon Russell of Cincinnati.com, sophomore forward Jalen Reynolds also was very good on the trip, averaging 13.3 points and 10.8 rebounds in only 18.8 minutes per game.
Davis could have also played on the trip, but the coaching staff opted to hold him out.
“Dee could have played towards the end of the trip but not having practices under his belt, we really had nothing to gain by throwing him out there. We’ll start basketball activities – workouts, shooting – next week and I anticipate Dee being full-go by then,” Mack said to Russell.
Players ran the four games with international rules on the trip so it included a 24-second shot clock and extended three-point line to go along with more physical play.
“You could hold. You could push dribblers, so consequently you really had to take care of the ball while you were getting harassed,” Mack said to Russell. “It was eye-opening for some of our players.”
This kind of trip probably helped Xavier acclimate to the Big East because of the adjusted international rules and talent level of the professionals. Although young, it will be interesting to see how the Musketeers look this season without Semaj Christon and all of the new faces.
Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.
“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”
McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.
“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.
Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.
And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.
The biggest shock to me?
The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.
Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?
Here is the rest of the AP Poll:
1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)
DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas