- Eric Angevine
Insider knows you're hot for hoops during the summer, so we're bringing you a closer look at a few of the high-profile schools before most freshmen have even moved into their dorms.
We continue with Xavier.
2010-11: 24-8 (NCAA tournament -- round of 64)
Let's get the obvious good news out of the way first: Tu Holloway will be back at Xavier for his senior season.
"Any time you can get a consensus All-American to come back, especially in this day and age, it's certainly a huge plus for our program and for Tu's development as well," Musketeers head coach Chris Mack said. "He's poised to have a terrific year, and he's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. He's put in a lot of time, and I think he's going to have a great senior year in a leadership position as a point guard."
Holloway's three-year arc at Xavier has been extraordinary. Standing an even 6 feet tall, he excels at just about every guard skill in the book. Last season he averaged 19.7 points, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game while playing nearly every minute of every game. Perhaps more impressive in that context were his rebounding numbers. Holloway had triple-doubles against Wake Forest and Fordham last season and barely missed adding a third against La Salle.
"I'm not changing anything in my game," Holloway said. "I'm doing everything I did last year, just better."
Even with Holloway on his game in a big way, the Musketeers had to maneuver through a minefield of potholes last season. The second-round loss to Marquette in the NCAA tournament was just the bitter end of a frustrating season that saw too many injuries slow down a very experienced and talented team.
"We were 24-8 last year, and we had a lot of close games that we didn't finish, and we should have finished," Holloway said. "Gonzaga [64-54 loss] was one game, and we were playing Old Dominion in the Virgin Islands and lost the championship game by a few points [67-58], so there are a lot of close games we need to finish to make us elite this year."
The team has a talented nucleus of returning starters, with big man Kenny Frease (54.9 percent shooting) and off-guard Mark Lyons (13.6 points per game) providing Holloway with options inside and out. If the rest of the team falls into place throughout the season, only one goal will suffice.
"We've made Sweet 16s," Mack said. "Honestly, the coup de grace would be to play in a Final Four and be able to play for the national championship."
Eric Angevine previews the 2011-12 Xavier Musketeers for Insider's Summer Buzz series. Experts Jay Bilas, Doug Gottlieb, Joe Lunardi and Fran Fraschilla provide analysis, with most believing Tu Holloway will be among the nation's best players this season.