Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you. Other days Georgia State knocks out the Bears on a stunning last-second three, then you roll through Georgia State with a shooting performance that boggles the mind on your way to the Sweet 16. I suspect I've lost some of you on this rambling monologue about bears, so let's just get to the rankings.
13. and 12. Edmond Sumner and Makinde London
I mentioned a bit back that I didn't have a good read on how expressive Makinde might be as compared to Edmond's at times overt glee, but he brought it strong with some sort of song and dance routine on the plane after the Georgia State game. I was never cool enough to understand exactly what was going on there - and getting older certainly hasn't increased my cool factor - but the main takeaway is that everyone else in our city, our state, and our conference has been eliminated and we're still literally and figuratively dancing.
11. Brandon Randolph
Another week, another set of DNP - CD for Brandon. I know Randolph's first two years at Xavier have not been everything most Musketeer fans were hoping for, but it's still disappointing to see the amount of garbage he takes both directly and indirectly on Twitter. He's a 19-year-old kid living 3/4ths of a continent away from home while trying to recalibrate his dream halfway through it; maybe cut him a little slack.
10. Sean O'Mara
With Stainbrook and Reynolds taking turns scoring and Farr resurgent as a dominant rebounder, O'Mara has had plenty of time to soak it all in over the past month or so. This stage will be his one day.
9. Larry Austin, Jr.
Dee Davis isn't coming out until Xavier is up 30 or he loses more than one appendage. This isn't a knock on Larry; Dee is playing like a senior should and Coach Mack is riding him like Seattle Slew.
8. JP Macura
Step 1: receive basketball. Step 2: try to score said basketball. JP continues to be JP. Coach Mack continues to do a pretty good job of putting him in situations to succeed and limiting his looks at situations that don't favor him. That's pretty much it.
7. James Farr
Aside from looking a little like he was born in Innsmouth, James Farr has been notable of late for being a complete destroyer on the glass at both ends. He ripped down 13 boards against Ole Miss, perhaps in an attempt to offset his 1-4 from the line. He didn't have impressive raw numbers against Georgia State - in part due to the fact that there were so few missed shots - but he seems to have finally found his niche at X.
6. Trevon Bluiett
It's hard to describe exactly what is going on with Trevon. He just looks a little too aware of what's at stake out there. In contrast to JP's ridiculously simple catch-and-shoot ethos, Trevon seems to be concentrating on making the right play, or possibly just not making the wrong one. Maybe I'm reading way too far into it, but it looks to me like he just needs to loosen up and go a little more.
5. Remy Abell
Remy has been efficient but not assertive all year, and he continued that with ORtgs of 162 and 143 in Xavier's first two games of the tournament. He has 16/3/4 on 5-10/1-4/5-6 shooting and hasn't turned the ball over at all. He's active on defense and - as he is fond of showing off - strong on his way to the rim on offense.
4. Jalen Reynolds
This was a tough call, placing Jalen here. When he's going, Jalen is only stoppable by himself. When he's off, he can throw up a 2-12 against Ole Miss in the blink of an eye. Obviously we're hoping for the guy who threw up 21 and 6 on 8-9 shooting to be the one we get the rest of the way. That dude is a beast.
3. Myles Davis
All the broken presses in the world don't mean anything if you don't make the other team pay, and Myles did just that by going 5-8 from behind the arc against Georgia State. He's now shooting 7-13/7-13/2-2 on the tournament and averaging 11.5 PPG. Xavier offense is based around ball movement and team play, but Myles is the closest thing we have right now to a dude who you can throw the ball to and ask to go get a basket.
2. Dee Davis
I don't think this guy wants to go home. In the first two games of the tournament, Dee put up 32/5/8 on 8-13/5-10/11-13 shooting. Since the ball went up in the Crosstown Shootout, he's 15-35 from beyond the arc, closing the one glaring hole in his game for most of the year.
1. Matt Stainbrook
Stainbrook was insatiable against Ole Miss, but it was his performance against Georgia State that really underscores how special he is. Against a team bent on making every touch difficult, he played 35 minutes, posted an ORtg of 110, and was able to be a positive contributor despite not being the focus of the offense or even the interior game. You don't fall out of bed one day being able to do that, and Xavier is going to have a lot of work to do to fill his shoes next year.