Xavier tries to dig out from nightmarish offseason

JOE KAY AP Sports Writer Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Nobody's had a worse offseason than Xavier.

Returning senior guard Mark Lyons didn't see eye-to-eye with coach Chris Mack, who wanted him to become more of a team player this season. Lyons is gone.

Forward Dez Wells -- the only returning starter -- was expelled from the school for violating its code of student conduct. Just like that, the school that has dominated the Atlantic 10 found itself in an unaccustomed tough spot.

Xavier is heading into one of its most challenging seasons in years. There's little experience and hardly any depth -- only eight scholarship players to start the season.

The Musketeers reached the NCAA tournament's round of 16 for the fourth time in five seasons last March. They'll be hard-pressed to get back to the tournament again.