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Xavier v. Wake Forest: three takeaways

It was always going to be difficult to go undefeated in the non-conference season, so I guess this one should not have been a surprise to us.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I didn't expect it to be easy, but I didn't expect it to be that not easy. They don't give away undefeated starts for free though, and Xavier has earned every bit of what they've got this year.

This team can take a punch

With less than a second on the clock in the first half, X was down 17 and looking completely out of sorts. Six and a half game minutes late, Ed Sumner was laying the ball in to give Xavier its first lead of the game. For the first time all year, the Muskies faced adversity. They showed that they're equal to the task.

Big man foul trouble will continue to be a problem

This team does not defend or board the way it's capable of with James and Jalen both on the bench, but Coach Mack often has his hand forced by their mutual inability to stop fouling, or at least getting called for fouls. As long as they can't keep their hands to themselves, we're going to see a lot of Sean O'Mara and Makindé London. God bless them both for trying hard, but that's a step down that occasionally feels pretty big.

It helps to have the better guys

We love to talk strategy and how well Coach Mack manages the roster and defensive rotations, but sometimes talent is the trump card. When Xavier started coming back, it was as much about the Muskies simply playing to their ability as it was anything else. See Trevon jar a three off the catch than another off the step back. See Ed split a double at the arc and use his length to turn it into a layup. See Ed again, casually stepping back into a corner three. It helps to have guys who can do those things.