X gonna give it to ya(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The Comeback is now, probably, part of eternal Xavier lore. Fans and students years from now will pore over Youtube and wish they had seen or heard it happen live. This season, however, still moves on. Coach Chris Mack and the rest of the assembled Musketeers cannot be happy with playing themselves into two massive in a very winnable game. So what, if anything, did we learn from Purdue?\
1. This team can score- 9-10 from the floor, 30 points, and a 19 point deficit erased in 9:53 speaks for itself. A lot of the heavy lifting was done by the best point guard in the nation, but the Musketeers can flat out fill it up. A team with that kind of firepower is never out of a game.
2. Swag comes with pitfalls- In one postgame interview, Tu Holloway mentioned that the team may have been a bit too confident coming out. There's nothing wrong with confidence. We all love three goggles, the self assured nod, or a smirk of superiority after a great play. None of that negatively effects the team. What can effect the team is when that swagger carries over in to a sense of not taking an opponent seriously. The Musketeers will not score 30 points in every ten minute stretch, so respecting an opponent is key. That takes us to...
3. Something is wrong early- Xavier buried Georgia early in the game with a 10-0 run. Other than that, they've led Morgan St. by five at the half, and trailed Miami, Vandy, and Purdue into the second half. Not destroying anyone is one thing, consistent poor starts are another. The 10-0 run against Georgia is an extreme example, but a solid first half like they played against IPFW would help the Musketeers greatly. At some point, even Tu Holloway can't save you (I think).
4. Kenny Frease gets confused easily- The message board drivel would lead you to believe Kenny Frease is slow, apathetic, and dull. Only one of those may be true. When Purdue doubled Kenny they did it by dropping a man from a guard instead of a wing. Faced with a top-bottom trap (most traps come from the side of the court) Kenny was confounded. His travel with 1:03 left in the first half was a perfect example of this. Xavier had some momentum going, and looked in to the big man. When the trap came, Kenny didn't have the easy dump back out, so he froze, then shuffled with indecision. In the second half a presumably coached up Frease started looking to the high opposite wing for an open. While that adjustment helped, it's one Frease has to make on his own.
5. Chris Mack has something special going- Most teams down 19 with under ten to play fold. Honestly, there's not a lot of shame in that. Coach Mack can say it's not about coaching all he wants, but no team hoists itself like that without feeding off a plan and basics set in place by the man on the sidelines. If anyone starts complaining that Coach Mack isn't making the correct adjustments, ask them to get specific. The comebacks speak to a well coached team knowing that it is in any game.