For a team that has been to three straight Sweet 16s, Xavier is expected to make another run this season without top scorer Jordan Crawford and leading rebounder Jason Love. Those expectations took a slight fall over the weekend when junior guard and top 3-point shooter Brad Redford tore his ACL. Of his 108 career field goals, 101 have come from behind the arc. Without this three-point specialist, Coach Chris Mack loses his top perimeter shooter which often extended defenses and opened up driving lanes for point guard Tu Holloway.
And then, the program got even worse news early this week- the NCAA ruled that Justin Martin, the star of Xavier's highly regarded recruiting class and expected starter at small forward, is only a partial qualifier. This means that the 6'7" wing can practice with the team, but cannot travel or play in any games this season. Martin was the likely fill-in for Jordan Crawford who wound up being a first-round NBA Draft choice and is now playing for the Atlanta Hawks.
Without Martin or Redford, Mack is left with only 10 scholarship layers eligible for games this season and the Musketeers' run for a fourth straight Sweet 16 is in jeopardy.