The Muskies can still shoot the three
Kind of. Mostly Remy Abell can. He hit 4-5 from deep and Myles Davis added 1-4. The rest of the team was 1-10, including an 0-4 for Trevon Bluiett. Obviously that's not exactly the work of a team full of Jimmer Fredettes, but even making that many threes is a big step up from what Xavier had been doing in conference play.
Coach Mack has been in the lab
Early in the game, Creighton went on a 6-0 run against Xavier's man defense. A couple of substitutions later, Xavier was in a 2-3 zone with JP and Jalen on top pressuring beyond the arc. Behind those two there was 20 feet of space before Matt Stainbrook in the middle and Brandon Randolph and Myles Davis providing support from the corners. The zone at least slowed down Creighton enough for Xavier to get back into the game. This is not a good defensive team; Mack is going to have to be creative with sets to keep from getting worked over at that end.
Xavier plays to the opponent
Setting aside for the moment whatever that was at Villanova, you can by and large tell how well Xavier is going to play by knowing the quality of their opponent. The Muskies took Providence to OT at their place, beat Georgetown on the road, and worked over sneaky-good Stephen F. Austin and Alabama teams. On the other hand, X beat Marquette by 4 and split with DePaul and Seton Hall. Good teams throttle opponents they should throttle; Xavier doesn't, and it cost them tonight.