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Cocky Texas Southern guard gets big stage vs. No. 1 seed Xavier

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Posted at 11:55 PM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 23:57:58-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Xavier guard Trevon Bluiett has known Texas Southern's leading scorer since middle school and even played against him five or six times.

For his part, Demontrae Jefferson says he might need to see a face to remember Bluiett when asked about their relationship.

Don't take that as bulletin board material. Texas Southern coach Mike Davis said that's just the personality and attitude that has turned his 5-foot-7 sophomore guard into a player that might get a few NBA looks, a confident player who won't acknowledge knowing who anyone else is because Jefferson believes he's the best to ever play the game.

Not even LeBron James.

"The worst that you can do is start talking about another player," Davis said Thursday. "Trae acts like he doesn't know who he is. I asked him did he know LeBron James. He says, 'I don't know LeBron James.'"

Jefferson and Texas Southern will get their first-hand look at Bluiett on Friday night when they play Xavier, the No. 1 seed in the West Region. The Tigers already have made school history with their first NCAA Tournament win in eight tries.

Jefferson scored 25 points, pulled down eight rebounds, flexed and crowed as Texas Southern whipped North Carolina Central in a First Four game at University of Dayton Arena Wednesday night.

The Tigers (16-19) got into Nashville by 2 a.m. Thursday and made a quick trip to Steak 'n Shake before hitting the bed. Sleep is not a problem for a team that played its first 13 games all on the road against the likes of Gonzaga and Kansas — and lost every one.

"This isn't nothing we haven't done before, like we had back-to-back games, flying state to state, all non-conference," Jefferson said. "So just back to the basics, really."

A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seeded, but the Musketeers (28-5) have seen enough of Jefferson and Texas Southern not to think of them as a No. 16 seed.

"He lacks the size, but he makes up for it with his scoring and all that," Bluiett said of the Tigers' leading scorer. "We have shown that we have trouble with small guards in the past, but I feel like we've made adjustments to that and so, hopefully, we'll be able to contain him."

Xavier coach Chris Mack certainly has seen Jefferson show off his skills on YouTube. Mack's Musketeers, who lost to Gonzaga in the Elite Eight last year, have their own big goals this March.

"Being locked in and having fun and being a group that is playing to win a national championship (Friday) night is who we're going to be," Mack said.