No. 11 Xavier lost six of its last seven games to close out the regular season. Fast forward two weeks and the Musketeers are going to the Sweet Sixteen after a dominating 91-66 win over No. 3 seed Florida State in the second round of the West Region.
There’s no other way to put it: Xavier completely outplayed Florida State.
Xavier was able to mount a double-digit lead heading into halftime by hitting 3-pointers — 5-of-7 to be specific — and flummoxing the Florida State offense with its zone defense. The Seminoles tried to solve the zone with 3-point shooting, but a 4-of-21 effort certainly wasn’t the answer.
Florida State’s defense didn’t help matters either. The Musketeers shot 56 percent from the field and 65 percent from beyond the arc on the evening. The Seminoles also couldn’t turn Xavier over, meaning they were always up against a set zone defense they had no answer for.
Trevon Bluiett scorched the nets for 21 points in a first round win over No. 6 Maryland. He went for 29 points against the Seminoles. He’s unquestionably the guy for Xavier, but the go-to star has recently received helped from names that likely didn’t appear too high on scouting reports earlier this season. Sean O’Mara scored in double figures again, following a career-high in points against Maryland by holding down the fort against a big Florida State frontline. Tyrique Jones, a freshman with upside, showed some of that promise en route to 13 points on Saturday night. Quentin Goodin, who has replaced Edmond Sumner in the starting five, had five assists to two turnovers in 34 minutes of action against the Seminoles.
Xavier has reinvented itself over he last few weeks. By doing so, the Musketeers have crashed the party. They advance to the Sweet Sixteen to play the winner of No. 10 Saint Mary’s and No. 2 Arizona.