Men’s basketball team prepares for Stanford

West, Sato combination will be key to winning second round NIT game | November 20, 2002

The No. 10-ranked men’s basketball team will get its second test of the season on Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. when it takes on Stanford University, a perennial Top 25 team, in the second round of the Owens Corning Preseason NIT. The game is being broadcast on ESPN2. Head coach Thad Matta told the Cincinnati Post that he wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of traveling across the country for the game, but felt it actually might help the team in the long run. The team didn't arrive in its hotel Tuesday until 7:00 p.m., according to a Cincinnati Enquirer article. It then practiced, ate and didn't return until 1:00 a.m. Xavier will once again depend greatly on its inside-outside combination of Romain Sato and David West, who combined for 44 points in the season opener Monday night against St. Peter’s College. West’s understanding of the game and unselfish play caught the attention of Matta, who told Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty that "David West will be a coach some day." West will be paired against Stanford's Justin Davis, who told the San Francisco Chronicle that he's well aware of West. This is the first time the two teams have met, but should be the right time to play for Xavier, because Stanford lost several key players last season and its point guard is injured. Stanford slipped by Boston University in its first round game.