The best Creighton blog there is breaks down the Big East's non-Creighton teams. Obviously, what he has to say about Xavier is of primary interest. He calls Semaj the second-best player in the league and pegs the total of 11 conference wins as what X needs to be safely in heading to the Big East tournament. Of course, he also says that Xavier could get hot and run the table, for what that's worth.
Nobody cares what Chris Kaman converted into a davenport, but scroll a little bit farther down the article to find the real emotional paydirt:
Robert Sacre fouled out later in the fourth, but NBA rules state that a team cannot have fewer than five players, so Sacre was allowed to continue playing.
I basically couldn't care less about the NBA, but Robert Sacre - who I once described as "semi-loathsome" in a game preview - could have picked up seven fouls in one game because a storied professional basketball club didn't have enough healthy dudes to fill out the roster. I have no idea if that has ever happened before, but it's amazing.
Xavier's problem is that, while it is not a bad defensive team, its D is not disruptive enough to create scoring opportunities when it is suffering an off-shooting night.
Seth Davis spends a few hundred words - including the above - to answer the question of Xavier's current struggles and tournament status.
Smart cops to the fact that he has at least partly earned his reputation as a flopper, but he says he's not the only one doing it. What is more interesting to me is why he says he's doing it:
Every team and every player does it to make sure you get the call... [the new rules are] so inconsistent. We have no idea what to expect. And as a player, it messes with your mind.
He goes on to say that he doesn't blame the refs, because they're trying to adjust, too. Interesting stuff.
Jim Boeheim, on the other hand, says that college basketball right now is as good as it has ever been, and he cites the new rules as a reason for that. Is this the difference between a coach and a player? A generational thing? Or is it just because Syracuse is undefeated and Smart's OSU team has dropped four of five? Your guess is as good as mine.
Our statistician of choice looks at players who get big minutes but don't start as well as players who do the exact opposite. None of them are Muskies, but this is interesting if stuff like it interests you.