So... UC almost kept it as close as Miami (OH) did. The Bearcats should be proud of that. Meanwhile, Xavier is now 10-0 and will surely be in the top 10 when the polls come out. They're currently 10th in the KenPom. A season is a lifetime, but we're looking at a really good team here.
I'm going to throw something out there: Nova might be as horrible a matchup for us as they've been in years past. They shoot a ton of threes but can't board at all. Am I just riding that Shootout high, or might this be our year in the Big East?
I love that the first game is us and Nova because that will answer that question immediately. I certainly think that we are better suited for a challenge at the title this season than the last two, but I also think that Nova is a lot better than the UC's and Alabamas of the world. Conference will be tougher than the teams we have been beating, and the opening night will give us barometer of how much tougher.
Nova will definitely give us a look at whether or not we can be great. UC, Michigan at their place, Dayton... that's all well and good, but those are the kind of teams you beat to make it into the second weekend. Nova is the kind of team you have to beat to make it out of the second weekend. That's going to be a great test.
I just want to throw out there what a legend Myles is. In three Shootouts, he has 34 points, he's 7-10 from three, and he has 7 assists. He's really stepped into a leadership role on this team, too. And he'll be back next year. The dude is a classic Xavier four-year player.
Myles was the key to this game. He got clobbered early by Ellis (how was that not a tech?) and came back and just outplayed everyone else on the court. That was as bloodless of a performance as you are going to see in a rivalry game.
I thought Xavier's handling of Ellis was impeccable. He got some points, but he had to work for them and he turned the ball over like it was covered in smallpox. On the other end he did block some shots, but Ed Sumner just fractured him with that dunk. That felt like a seminal moment, not only in the game - which it functionality ended - but also in the rivalry.
UC used to be the bullies, especially with Huggins and the guys he would bring in. That was their biggest, meanest guy not being able to rise with our point guard, and he knew it before Ed was even all the way up. I don't think we were ever afraid of them, but that was a public execution that the whole nation is going to see over and over. They can go back to being the flat track bullies in their mediocre football conference; we are the comprehensively better basketball team and everyone knows it.