Sunday Conversation: Nov 17th

Do you want to face this guy in the first round of the tournament? - Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier finally has depth, Dee Davis looks strong in one game, a tremendous recruiting class if it fits, and some discussion on whether this team has NCAA tournament potential.

After a brief handful of games, Xavier rests at 3-0 for the sixth straight time. The first real tests loom ahead after this week, which features only one game. After that, Thanksgiving comes with at least four games, some of which could come against competition that boosts the potential RPI. Until then, though...

On the depth of the team:

Joel: Okay, we're a couple of weeks into the season and have three games in the rearview; what do we know about this team? I'm going to start with depth. I know it's only been three games, but I feel like we have nine guys who can play. More than that, I think Coach Mack does, too. He has been hesitant to use freshmen depth, but he has been really rolling through the roster so far this year, and I love it.

Brad: Well, we know we can survive a guard having a bad game this year. Last year if a starter in the backcourt had a game like Randolph just did, we would have lost.

I was stunned when I saw Martin had eight yesterday. That speaks a great deal to what we have in depth.

Joel: 1-6/0-2/6-8 shooting for Martin; at least he executed from the line. He needs to be able to score from the floor or he is going to find himself fighting for minutes with Landen Amos.

Joel still loves Dee

Joel: Let's discuss Dee Davis for a minute, because he's my favorite. He has been turnover prone throughout his career, but he has been either a freshman or in over his head in the past. This year, he can settle in as the third/fourth scoring option. His ORtg last year was something on the order of 96/97. If he is the player I think he is, he'll be up in the 105 range this year as he has the luxury of picking his spots instead of forcing. If not, I'll be forced to continue making excuses for him.

Brad: I was really impressed with Dee Davis yesterday. Again, though, I was stunned when I saw his line. That's excellent. When you see Dee and notice him, it's because he's blowing up. He didn't do that against Morehead, we'll see how he does against stiffer competition. Dee doesn't have to score, all he has to do is shoot enough to keep defenses honest. 7/5/9? I'll take that, but it won't happen every game. 5/2/5 sound good?

Joel: More than his line was the fact that he only took six shots. If he shoots more than about half a dozen times, there's about an 80% chance something has gone badly. Either that or he is on fire and we're letting him roll. Mostly the gone bad one, though. We really should do nothing but win until the Iowa game at this point. There just isn't a lot of meat in this part of the schedule.

Xavier's best ever incoming class and if they fit

Joel: Massive recruiting class. Your thoughts?

Brad: What was it #4  [#6, actually] on ESPN #9 on Scout? We've never been close to that. Now, those are just LOIs, but that's an awesome start. Think we hold them all? And where does that actually leave us in scholarships?

Joel: Assuming we release Trey Couch from his LOI, that still leaves us oversigned by two. We'd have Martin, Stainbrook, and Dee as seniors, Farr, Christon, and Abell as juniors, Richards, Reynolds, Randolph, and M Davis as sophomores, and those five signees as freshmen. Even if Semaj jumps to the NBA, I don't see where the other scholarship is going to come from. If Martin has his degree, he might transfer somewhere else to be immediately eligible; if he doesn't, I don't think the NCAA is going to grant him another year since he already sat one out as a partial qualifier. Even if they will, he's already 23; that would have him finishing school about to turn 26. That's the Tommy Boy plan.

Other than Martin, I honestly don't know what else might shake out. At the start of the year I would have said Farr, but he's been going gangbusters early on here. I love that all five guys signed and that they're all so highly rated, but I don't like being oversigned. I guess we just have to sit and hope Coach Mack has his finger on everyone's pulse and we don't end up looking bad, right?

Brad: If you are certain on that, we have an issue. I don't see Christon making the jump because he just can't shoot that well yet. Of course, it's been three games, so maybe he's not showing something. Can Martin play for us as a grad student? If he does that, we still have a problem. Redshirting two of the incoming class doesn't help anything, and I don't see Coach Mack yanking someone's. Unless two players transfer, I've got no idea where the space will come from.

Joel: It's the little black lining that looms over this otherwise silver cloud of a recruiting class. There's really nothing that we can figure other than to trust the coaching staff that it's going to shake out, but you still can't talk about those five guys without at least mentioning it. Oh well.

Is this a tournament team?

Joel: Light schedule this upcoming week with just the one game, but I'm guessing that's because we have four the week after that. Aside from March Madness, the Thanksgiving tournaments are about the best college basketball viewing gets. Just wall-to-wall hoops. Hopefully we're rolling into it at 5-0 and looking sharp.

Brad: Speaking of the tournament, do you think we are watching these guys play come late March? I was really encouraged by about 38 minutes of that Tennessee game. I think this is one of those teams that could sneak in and, if it does, could really scare some people. Who wants Semaj in a first round game?

Joel: Gun to my head, I'm saying yes. KenPom has us as 18-11 at the end of the year. Throw in the results of various tournament games that he hasn't predicted because the matchups don't exist yet, and I'm calling us 21 or 22-12. Looking at our schedule once conference play begins, there just aren't bad losses in there. Beat DePaul twice, go 7-9 against the rest of the conference, and we're a 21 or 22 win team with a .500 record in a good conference with a handful of good-looking wins on the resume. Who says no to that? Picking off Iowa on Thanksgiving would be massive.

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