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Thoughts on the Bellarmine Game

 

Another preseason has come and gone, and Xavier has once again wrapped its exhibition game against the Bellarmine Knights. This year came with the added bonus of actually defeating the Division II program, something that was disappointingly lacking from last year's outing. While there was no television broadcast to enjoy and no radio from Byron and Joe, I was able to catch the game on AM 970 out of Louisville. This was something less than optimal, but it did give me opportunity - when paired with other news coming back from the game - to make some general observations on Xavier basketball heading into the season.
 
Byron and Joe are an excellent radio team. I always knew this intellectually, but having to listen to Bellarmine's announcers Saturday as I returned home from a wedding in southern Kentucky really accentuated this knowledge. They were kind of homers, often stumbling over each other, and generally disjointed in their description of the game. It was not easy to know what was going on just by listening to them, which kind of defeats the purpose of announcing. I can't wait to hear Joe Sunderman telling me about gym shoes and time lines this Friday.

Right, on to the basketball itself:
  • Tu is still really good.
  • So is Cheek.
  • Big Kenny know what to do against smaller defenders, and he didn't waste any time by getting too fancy.
  • Jeff Robinson might be developing at the four.
  • College is different than high school. Justin Martin, Dez Wells, and Dee Davis will all one day be good players, but there will be an adjustment period.
  • Travis Taylor (0-1, 3 boards) and Brad Redford (0-2 from behind the arc) showed signs of rust...
  • ...but Andre Walker (3-4 shooting, 6 points) did not, possibly because he actually got to suit up last year.

This game opened the door to a lot of interesting ideas, but the temptation to overanalyze no doubt extends from the fact that it was Xavier's first game of the year that was played in front of actual people. Last year's loss to this same Bellarmine program should serve to remind the observer that the results of exhibition games are ultimately not that instructive in terms of predicting the course of the season. Hopefully the first-game jitters are a little more calm for the team now, and the Muskies can get out of the blocks well this Friday.