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Can we initiate the offense? Plus other things I want to learn from Xavier's exhibition

Exhibition games are definitionally meaningless, but that doesn't mean they're pointless.

Basketball is sort of back!
Basketball is sort of back!
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows it's hard to draw too many meaningful conclusions from an exhibition game. I'm not going to try to encourage you otherwise, because that would be silly. We're not going to find out tomorrow whether or not Xavier is a Sweet 16 team. We will get a hint at what this roster is going to be all about though. Here are some things I hope to learn from the exhibition game.

Can Xavier initiate the offense?

There are two facets to this. The first is point guard play. I'd like to see both Larry Austin, Jr and Ed Sumner look capable of getting the team in order and rolling. The other is the shot clock. Losing five seconds isn't that big of a deal, and I'd like te see the tame make it look like no big deal.

Lighting up the scoreboard wouldn't necessarily mean anything, though it would be cool. What I'd like to see is X avoid looking like St. John's, who turned it over 28 times while getting clubbed by a D2 team.

How is Xavier's front court depth?

We know all about Jalen and James. Against hostile competition for the first time this year, what will Sean O'Mara show us? Can Makinde make his length play? And where does Kaiser Gates fit in all this? There will be games that we need to go more than two deep up front for serious minutes; a peek at that tomorrow would be nice.

Where does the team stand on defense?

The 1-3-1 was a huge shift of philosophy for Coach Mack last year, and it paid immediate dividends. Now with the shorter shot clock, everyone and his mum are throwing around the idea of token pressure to make teams work to set their offenses. I doubt Coach Mack wants to show his whole hand in the first week of November, but he'll probably also want to let some concepts get some game run. I'm interested to see what they are.

That's a start and what I'm hoping to get out of the exhibition game; what are you watching for?