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Xavier's recruiting reflects the roster's limitations

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When you have a hole, you look to fill it. Coach Mack is doing just that.

A couple more of the right guys and this is a happy hugging shot.
A couple more of the right guys and this is a happy hugging shot.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

  • Matt Stainbrook 1-2 from the line
  • Myles Davis 2-2 from the line
  • Matt Stainbrook missed jumper
  • Myles Davis made three-point jumper, assisted by Matt Stainbrook
  • Myles Davis missed jumper
  • Remy Abell missed three-point jumper
  • Dee Davis missed three-point jumper
  • Remy Abell missed three-point jumper

Those are Xavier's possessions after the final media timeout against Arizona. X had the game within three twice and had the ball down four with just under a minute left. As you might recall, the Muskies just couldn't find the baskets to drag the game back. I think about this more than is probably strictly advisable or even healthy for a man of my station in life.

There's no shame in that loss to Arizona, a very good team in its own right that Xavier gave just about all it could handle. To get where we want them to be though, the Musketeers have to beat very good teams, and then great teams, and then at least one team good enough to be the national runner-up. You don't want to be using the term "admirable effort" in the season's epitaph, even though that's basically what all but one team's year boils down to.

Anyway, back to the Arizona game. Xavier's offense last year was like a machine, with every cog slipping into place to keep the system running smoothly. Everyone more or less executed his role to the best of his ability, and the offense's success was predicated on that execution. The problem with an offense like that is that it doesn't always adjust well when a well-executed defense takes it out of its tracks. Players can step up and give the proverbial 110%, but - as Xavier's waning in that final game attests - paying it out at that level over the course of a game against a challenging opponent leaves you at zero before the clock is.

It's difficult to break out of a system without a guy who can just flat-out go get buckets, and Xavier didn't have that down the stretch last year. Myles Davis did his best at times, but that was asking him to step out of his skill set last season. I love good, open system basketball, but we missed having someone like Tu or Semaj who could grab the game by the throat (though it could rightly be pointed out that both of them ended their Xavier careers unable to bring a tournament game back from the edge).

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm getting kind of obsessed with the idea of landing Kobi Simmons or Markelle Fultz.