by Tim Daniel
Xavier has officially found out their matchup for the 2022 NIT.
Although not making it to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is extremely disappointing for the fan base and team alike, Xavier still has a chance to prove they are better than they showed the last month of the season.
The Musketeers will host the 2022 Horizon League Regular Season Champions Cleveland State Vikings. The Vikings were 20-10 in the regular season but lost to the eventual Horizon League Tournament Champion Wright State Raiders, who will go on to play in the NCAA Tournament first four as a 16 seed.
In 2021, the Vikings won the Horizon League Tournament and made just their third NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Cleveland State is led by Head Coach Dennis Gates. Gates was a four-year player at the University of Cal-Berkeley from 1998-2002 and was an assistant at multiple schools, including eight years at Florida State where he was part of a staff who coached against Xavier two years in a row in the NCAA Tournament.
The Vikings provide three players who are double-digit scorers on average including 2022 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year D'Moi Hodge. Hodge averaged 15.4 PPG this season and provides a +1.4 Defensive Box Plus/Minus to go along with his offensive scoring ability.
Cleveland State also has senior guard Torrey Patton. Patton, the former Akron transfer is a former Horizon League Tournament MVP and is two-time all-horizon in his time with the Vikings.
According to KenPom, Cleveland State is ranked 203rd overall, is 247th in defensive efficiency, and 168th in offensive efficiency.
Tip-Off will be this Tuesday at 9 PM Est. If Xavier wins, they will face the winner of Florida vs IONA on Wednesday night.