No. 14/15 Xavier Hosts Morgan State At Cintas Center On Friday
Nov. 9, 2011
No. 14 AP/No. 15 ESPN/USA Today Xavier University Musketeers (0-0) vs. Morgan State Univ. Bears (0-0)
Television: FOX Sports Ohio with play-by-play from Brad Johansen and analysis from former Musketeer captain Steve Wolf (Xavier `83). Jim Day hosts the "Musketeers Live" half-hour pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.
Xavier will honor Veterans Day by saluting active military members and Veterans by displaying a 40-by-60 foot United States flag during the National Anthem prior to the game. Handling the flag will be members of the Xavier University Army ROTC along with Veterans and active members of the United States Armed Forces.
Morgan State returns all five starters and 10 letterwinners overall from a team that finished 17-14 overall and 10-6 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference last season. The Bears of head coach Todd Bozeman are the preseason favorites in the MEAC.
Xavier, 24-8 overall in the 2010-11 season and Atlantic 10 Conference Regular Season Champion at 15-1, has three starters back from last year's team: seniors Tu Holloway and Kenny Frease and junior Mark Lyons.
Xavier has won 21 straight regular season openers (20 at home and one on the road) with its last loss in an opener coming in the 1989-90 "Sweet 16" season to Southern Utah State at Cincinnati Gardens (97-90 on December 2, 1989).
Xavier has won all 11 of its season openers at Cintas Center, including a 68-65 win over Western Michigan last season (11-12-10).
Xavier opens the regular season with a four-game homestand and home games in seven of its first nine games. After the Morgan State game, XU hosts IPFW on Nov. 15, Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 18 and Georgia on Nov. 25.
Xavier, ranked 14th in the preseason Associated Press Poll and 15th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, played its one and only public exhibition this past Saturday against defending NCAA Division II National Champion Bellarmine and won 76-73. XU used the closed scrimmage option in October instead of a second exhibition.
Xavier has high expectations entering the 2011-12 season, including the preseason favorite role in the Atlantic 10. The Xavier program is coming off a sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and a fifth straight A-10 Regular Season Championship. Xavier finished 24-8 overall and 15-1 in the A-10 last season.
Xavier returns three starters from last year's team, including senior All-American guard Tu Holloway, although Holloway will sit out the regular season opener.
Xavier returns two other starters who earned All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors last season, including 7-0 senior center Kenny Frease, a 2010-11 Honorable Mention All-A-10 selection who averaged 11.7 ppg. and 7.1 rpg. as a junior. Another returning starter is 6-1 junior guard Mark Lyons, a 2010-11 Third Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection who was second only to Holloway in scoring (13.6 ppg.) and assists (3.1 apg.) on last year's squad. Both Frease and Lyons were named to the 2011-12 preseason A-10 Second Team.
Xavier made its sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011, one of only 12 schools that can say that: Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Villanova, Wisconsin and Xavier. Xavier made its 10th NCAA appearance in the last 11 NCAA Tournaments.
Xavier, 24-8 overall, secured its sixth straight 20-win season and its 14th 20-win season in 15 years.
Xavier third-year head coach Chris Mack, the 2010-11 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year, is 50-17 (.746) overall and 29-3 (.906) in Atlantic 10 regular season play.