Early pundits say Xavier in the A-10 race, especially with do-it-all 2011 Player of the Year Tu Holloway running the point again for the Musketeers. Along with center Kenny Frease and guard Mark Lyons, Chris Mack's team looks like a shoe-in for a pre-season Top 15 team.
Xavier's chances of makes a seventh straight NCAA appearance of heightened not just by Holloway, Lyons and Frease, but a stellar freshman guard Dezmine Wells and a red-shirt forward Justin Martin, who was the top member in last year's recruiting class. Xavier's frontcourt depth has been enhanced with a versatile Vanderbilt-transfer Andre Walker. Walker, like Wells and Martin, is skilled who can play and defend multiple positions, which will allow Mack and the Musketeers to play different lineups and give opponents different looks throughout the season.
Temple, on the other hand, losses one rotational player, but a key one, the all-time leading rebounder in program history- Lavoy Allen. However, four starters do returning including All-A-10 potential guards Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez and Scootie Randall. The Sixth Man of the Year, Khalif Wyatt, sophomore Aaron Brown and incoming freshman Will Cummings give the Owls tremendous depth in the backcourt.
Coach Dunphy has the advantage of playing Xavier at home during the regular-season where the Owls have been stellar over the past few seasons. This head-to-head matchup will be the difference between the regular-season title and second-place in the A-10 and look for the underrated Owls to take it.