Generally about this time each week we ask you who you would play and in what situations. Xavier has become some consistent though, that it's hard to come up with much to discuss there. The same five, Jalen Reynolds, Trevon Bluiett, Remy Abell, Myles Davis, and Edmond Sumner have started each game. JP Macura plays the most minutes off the bench, and James Farr is the other half of the ferocious Jalems Farrnolds that patrols the paint. There simply aren't that many moving pieces left to mess with.
There are only two games left before Xavier hits the grind of the Big East. On paper both should be wins but, as literally every announcer ever has said, "that's why they don't play them on paper!" (Cue awkward chuckle from the color guy). Those two games leave Xavier a little bit of a window to still tinker with a couple of things in the rotation should they choose to do so. Once the Big East comes around, you can bet even the cupcakes are going to put up a fight. The time to figure these things out is now.
1. Is Larry Austin Jr. a contributor?
The raw numbers say no. LAJ's offensive efficiency is 78.6, his turnover rate is 36.6%, his assist rate is only 14.8%, he's take a single jumper on the year, and he missed it. None of those are the numbers of someone who is really carrying his weight when he is in the game. On the flip side, he's playing three times as minutes as he did last year, his steal rate is 2.3%, good for an on the ball defender, and both the assist and turnover numbers are better than they were last year. What Larry needs to do is spell Sumner and keep Myles from always having to handle the ball. if he can do that, he stays on the floor.
2. Who is the second big off the bench?
Sean O'Mara (7.8) and Makinde London (7.4) are nearly even in minutes per game off the bench. Right now it is O'Mara who leads in the offensive efficiency and true shooting numbers, while London sports a 16.6% assist rate, an 8.4% block rate, and a 2.9% steal rate. It's simply the nature of the beast that in conference play the bench is going to shorten. Right now, Kaiser Gates seems like he'll slip off the end, leaving these two to battle for the minutes. Their rebounding numbers are virtually identical, so it's a choice of London's versatility against O'Mara's steady excellence (60% EFG, tops on the team) in the post.
3. Does Trevon need more rest?
A lot has been made about Bluiett rebuilding his body in the off season, and he deserves a lot of credit for that. The simple fact is, though, he couldn't sustain himself in the only season we have to look at for predictive purposes. This year Trevon has played more minutes against top tier teams and posted an offensive efficiency of only 94.2 in those contests. When he tires against good competition, things go downhill on him. In order to combat that, I'm sure Coach Mack would love to leave Trevon around 28-30 minutes per game. Does Xavier have another option? Could James Farr see more time at the four with Reynolds in? Either way, the Musketeers need to find a way to keep their bell cow healthy and effective.