Eds: With BC-BKC–Xavier Preview
By The Associated Press=
Last season: 24-14, reached third Elite Eight in school history.
Coach: Chris Mack.
Conference: Big East.
Who’s gone: Point guard Edmond Sumner (NBA), guard Malcolm Bernard, forward RaShid Gaston.
Who’s back: Guard Trevon Bluiett considered the NBA before deciding to return for his senior season, giving Xavier one of the top scorers (18.5 points per game) in the Big East. Senior guard J.P. Macura was the only player to start every game during Xavier’s injury-riddled season and had his best moments in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 13 points. 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Forward Sean O’Mara emerged during the tournament, including an 18-point game against Maryland. Point guard Quentin Goodin took over after Sumner tore an ACL and averaged 5.3 assists in 17 starts as a freshman. Forward Tyrique Jones started 13 games as a freshman and averaged 4.2 points. Forward Kaiser Gates overcame injuries and started four games as a sophomore, averaging 5.8 points.
Who’s new: Forward Kerem Kanter transferred from Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he averaged 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds. He’s expected to step into a big role with his ability to shoot from the outside and push the ball up the floor.
The Skinny: The Musketeers have never reached a Final Four, losing to Gonzaga in the Elite Eight last season to miss out again. They’ve got one of their most balanced and experienced teams heading into Mack’s ninth season at his alma mater.
For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-Top25