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Xavier v. SFA: Three Things We Learned

It wasn't always pretty, but Xavier got the win in the end. Here's what we gleaned from that.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

These are not your slightly older brother's Musketeers

Saw what you will about the Zip 'Em Up era Xavier squads, but they were a mean team to play. As much as I'm not in love with the cliche, they just knew how to win basketball games. Defensive shutdowns and just enough clutch buckets to get by got those teams into the second weekend of a good number of NCAA tournaments. I'm not saying this team won't do that, but they're going to have to get there in a different way. Even up double digits in the second half, they never really felt like they were going to bury the game and get the walk-ons some playing time.

Big men who can shoot still present a problem

Nobody with a live internet connection was surprised that Jacob Parker was the focus of Stephen F. Austin's offense, but he was still able to get plenty of clean looks around the perimeter against Xavier's defense. It didn't end up being enough, but there was a stretch there when it looked like he was going to shoot the Lumberjacks through this game. Against a better team, Xavier's inability to defend a forward who can step out might have been crippling.

This team is explosive

With five and a half minutes left, the Muskies were up 66-61. Three and a half minutes later, Xavier was up 81-61. Trevon Blueitt got it started with a three, Matt Stainbrook nailed a couple of FT and two baskets, and then the whole team chipped in and ran away from the overmatched Lumberjacks. It wasn't always pretty and it was often a little frustrating, but when this team puts the hammer down offensively, baskets can come from anywhere.