Saturday, March 17, 2001

Schedule paid off for Xavier


Xavier Notebook

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        KANSAS CITY — For all the teeth-gnashing about Xavier's non-conference schedule, the Musketeers' success in that portion of the season helped them reach the NCAA Tournament.

        Their non-conference RPI ranked 33rd in the nation, 24th-best of the 65 teams in the field. Their conference RPI ranked 59th overall, 50th among the field of 65.

        George Washington athletic director Jack Kvancz, a member of the tournament's selection committee, told XU coach Skip Prosser his non-conference success was a deciding factor.

        “We get the message loud and clear that it's important to have enough strength in your non-conference schedule,” XU athletic director Mike Bobinski said. “There was enough. That being said, when we signed up for that non-conference schedule, we thought it would be better.”

        Six of XU's 11 non-conference foes played in the postseason last season, but many of their RPIs this season were lower than their RPIs last season.

        Still, some teams helped. Cincinnati, Kent State, Wisconsin and Princeton all reached the NCAAs, and Toledo reached the NIT. XU's non-conference strength of schedule rated 31st of the 65 teams in the NCAAs; its conference SOS was 45th of 65.

        “Chief among what they did that got them in was the win at Cincinnati,” RPI guru Jerry Palm said. “They proved they could beat a tournament team on the road. Alabama never did that, and Connecticut had the same problem.”

        MORE SCHEDULING: Three of the five non-conference teams XU has scheduled for next season are in the NCAAs — UC, Kent State and Wisconsin - and all will visit Cintas Center. The other two commitments are road games at Miami and San Francisco.

        SIGNEE UPDATE: A season-ending review of XU's three signees:

        • Purcell Marian senior Keith Jackson, a 6-foot-5 swingman, averaged 16.7 points and 7.4 rebounds, leading the Cavaliers (16-9) to a Division II district title.

        “He had to pick up a lot of responsibilities, but he pulled his team along,” Purcell coach Mike Gergen said.

        Gergen said Jackson seems most likely to play small forward but also could be a shooting guard.

        • Will Caudle, a 6-9, 215-pound forward from Indianapolis Warren Central, averaged 13 points and eight rebounds for a 15-6 team. He shot 65 percent from the field and was selected to the Indiana North-South all-star team. Caudle set the school's career rebounding record (420) in two seasons as a starter.

        As the team's only post player, Caudle frequently drew double- and triple-teams, and he averaged only 10 field-goal attempts per game.

        “He's very unselfish,” coach Scott Heady said. “The best thing he does for us is be real solid defensively. He runs the floor well and has a nice (shooting) touch.”

        • Jaison Williams, a 6-3 guard from Aurora, Colo., was dismissed from his Hinkley High team early in the season. He is finishing school at Columbus (Ohio) Northland.

Online pool and college hoops coverage at Cincinnati.com



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