South Regional action pits Cougars against Musketeers
Lexington, KY (Sports Network) – A couple of teams that have had nearly
identical seasons meet in the first round of the NCAA Tournament South
Regional tonight, as the ninth-seeded Xavier Musketeers hook up with the
eighth-seeded BYU Cougars from Rupp Arena. The victor of this contest
moves on to face either top-seeded Ohio State or 16th-seeded Central
Connecticut State in the second round on Saturday.
Xavier, 24-8 overall, won the Atlantic 10 regular season title at 13-3,
although it had its nine-game winning streak stopped with a loss to Rhode
Island in the league tournament. Despite the loss, the Musketeers were
awarded an at-large bid to their 17th NCAA Tournament and their sixth in the
last seven years. The team is 11-17 all-time in this event, with its best
showing being an Elite Eight appearance in 2004.
As for BYU, it won its first outright league title since 1987-88, finishing
13-3 in the Mountain West Conference. Like their opponent however, the
Cougars were knocked off in their league tournament and therefore had to
earn an at-large bid. This is the team’s 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance and
its first since 2004. BYU is just 11-24 all-time in this event and it has
been defeated in the first round in each of its last four appearances.
The Cougars lead the all-time series with Xavier, 2-0, although the two teams
haven’t met since the 1967-68 season.
The Musketeers are about as sound of a team as their is, as they are averaging
a solid 76.4 ppg off an efficient 47.9 percent shooting from the field and
39.0 percent from behind the arc. Justin Doellman leads the club in scoring
with 13.4 ppg and he is also pulling down 5.5 rpg. Stanley Burrell nips at his
heels with 13.1 ppg and he is hitting on 81.6 percent of his free-throw tries.
Drew Lavender adds 11.2 ppg and team-high 4.7 apg to the rotation, and he is
the squad’s top three-point shooter with 45.9 percent accuracy from long
distance. Justin Cage rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.1 ppg to go
along with 5.5 rpg.
The Cougars have gotten the job done with their high powered offense that is
averaging a healthy 78.1 ppg on 49.3 percent shooting from the floor and an
equally as good 41.3 percent from three-point land. Keena Young, the MWC
Player of the Year, is the team’s top scorer (17.2 ppg) and rebounder (6.5
rpg) and he is also shooting 54.9 percent from the floor. Trent Plaisted has
provided a nice complement to him, as he contributes 12.8 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Lee
Cummard adds 9.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg for BYU, which is outrebounding its opponents
by 6.4 rpg this season.