James Farr led four players in double-figures with 18 points and 15 boards as No. 2 Xavier took care of No. 15 Weber State, 71-53.
Weber State put up a fight. They were within single digits for the majority of the second half, but a late push from the Musketeers eventually put Damian Lillard’s alma mater away.
The Musketeers are now sitting in a great position to make a run through the bracket. They matchup up really well with No. 7 Wisconsin, who picked off No. 10 Pitt earlier on Friday night, and if they do happened to get out of the first weekend of the tournament, they are ensured of avoiding No. 3 West Virginia.
The Mountaineers spent much of the season in and around the top ten. They finished the season in sole possession of second place in the Big 12 and reached the Big 12 final. They’re good, and their pressure — and the turnovers that it forces — would have been an awful matchup for point guard deficient Xavier.
That doesn’t mean that Chris Mack’s club is going to have a cake-walk to the Elite 8. Wisconsin was one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten in the last six weeks of the season. That’s very much a losable game, as would a date with No. 6 Notre Dame or No. 11 Michigan, who have the shooters and the spread offense to give Xavier. And that’s ignoring No. 14 Stephen F. Austin, who just beat West Virginia at their own game on Friday night.
But regardless of where you end up getting seeded, you’re going to play at least five games that you can lose if you’re going to win a national title. As the saying goes, styles make fights. It’s all about how you matchup with the teams standing between you and the Final Four, and now that West Virginia is out of the way, Xavier is guaranteed to match up better with anyone that they end up play.