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Sunday Conversation: 2/23

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What the heck happened against Georgetown? Why is Xavier so bad on the road? How many more wins does Xavier need, and where can they get them?

I have nothing clever to put here.
I have nothing clever to put here.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Joel
So this is the second straight one of these that has come after an absolutely rubbish showing in which we turned the ball over against pressure and gave up an inexcusable number of clean looks from behind the arc. Rather than start on that particular can of worms, let's open a different one: we're awful away from home.

Our best win outside of Cintas is indisputably the Shootout, which happened in a different calendar year and feels like it happened in a different lifetime. Our best win in a true road game is either Alabama - where we needed a huge comeback to beat a mediocre team - or... wait for it... Butler. Butler. Our best road win may have come in a venue where they have to end games early enough to get the cows back inside for the night. Why are we so bad away from home?

Brad
Maybe it's because we don't try hard enough on the road. Trying harder fixes everything, right?

Joel
Is that really how you want to do this?

Brad
I'm not happy. What in God's name was that? I mean, seriously. That was the worst, worst performance that I've seen in a long time. Adjustments do need to be made, but we didn't fight at all.

Joel
One of our followers on Twitter noted that Georgetown held the lead steady and even pulled away once they went into cruise control, where we usually let the other team creep back in. I think that gave an idea of the scope of our capitulation. They were done running away and hiding, but we were done trying to catch them. It was all bad.
With that said, this one wasn't all on the players. The strategy has to be up for debate at some point, right? Holding the course and hoping for the best seems like a recipe for disaster at this point; the book on how to beat us is clearly out there, and it's time for us to adjust to the adjustment. Or maybe I've just gone completely mad like Nicholas Angel.

Brad
It's just so bad. I don't even know what to say. Honestly, what is there to day? We got destroyed so completely that only the fact that I have to write the recap (oh joy) kept me from turning it off. Atrocious. Really, what do you say? The only thing I want to know about that game was whether it was a worse loss than Villanova. Coming when and how it did, I'd say yes.

Joel
Don't go into the dark!

We can't defend for spit right now, though a lot of that is because we keep passing the ball to the wrong team. Those uncontested fast breaks really hurt the defensive numbers. I only bring that up in light of the fact that St. John's currently leads the conference in forcing turnovers. Anyway, we have to keep hold of the ball and we have to get to the offensive glass against them. If we don't, we're going to get demolished.

Brad
I'm going to watch some Olympics now.

Bryan
We have had such struggles on the road that you have to wonder about this team's confidence at this point. It is like when a tough road game pops up, a loss is the predetermined outcome. It didn't even seem as if anyone was fighting it today, just resigned to fate. Some of that has to come from coaching but some of that has to be on a player to step up and drive the team forward in harder situations. Chalmers was the first one I can remember noticing being an extremely vocal leader, and Burrell and Dante certainly fit that mold, followed by Tu, but no one from this team has ever been that and I think it makes a significant difference when you are playing teams that expect to beat you instead of Rhode Island. Also, our guys look like they are trying out a new sport when the other team plays anything other than man to man right now. It almost looks like they are cheating.

Brad
I didn't sleep well (not because of this, but probably because of the sundae I ate after midnight) and I woke up thinking about basketball. I think Bry is right for one thing, there is no vocal leader on this team. None of the guys seem to have the correct temperament for it, with the possible exception of Stainbrook.

I also think we have to beat either Villanova or Creighton to feel good about our tournament chances now. That's bleak, but I think it's reality. We've thrown away a lot of good work to get ourselves to the point where we have two virtually unwinnable games staring us down and we have to win one of them. It's as simple as that.

Joel
I think we have a puncher's chance in any home game. We've beaten St. John's, Georgetown, Marquette, and Providence at Cintas. The whistle is a big part of home court advantage, and that really helps us. Semaj and Stain get to the line more, but it also gives Dee more freedom to work. We've been worthless on the road lately, but I think we can at least put ourselves in position to win against Creighton and Villanova at home. Of course, you have to defend the arc against those two, and we don't do that at all.

We need two more conference wins: do we get them? Whether or not you think we do, which two games give us our best shot?

Bryan
Seton Hall is a must win if we take our chances seriously at all. St. John's is the only other one I can even conceptualize us winning at this point. McDermott might score 100 on us and Nova is all but a foregone conclusion.

Brad
St John's and Seton Hall. We have to play defense though, and we seem to struggle with that. If we don't win both of those, we enter the conference tournament needing some help.

Joel
I think we win at Seton Hall and then against Creighton. We played them tough at their place, and I think the fact that we're using more of Stenger and Reynolds right now will help us match up with their mobile bigs. If Nova is a foregone conclusion, it's probably worth noting that St. John's played them within a bucket this week. Getting either of those wins is, to me, too big an ask for this team right now.

Brad
Sorry, my monitor messed up there and it looks like you said you think we beat Creighton. Creighton, who could get up 35 threes against our "defense."

Joel
They banged 14 of them in 28 attempts against us at their place and only beat us by 6. We can get buckets against them; their defense doesn't matchup with us any better than ours does with them. Write it in ink: we win a shootout against Creighton on March 1.

Bryan
Creighton hung 95 on us the same week we held Georgetown to 67. Our defense has regressed markedly since then.

Joel
We'll see who's eating salmon that night, and who's eating crow.

Brad
I think you're nuts; we're going to lose by 15.