There are no more distractions for the dedicated Xavier fan living in Cincinnati. Thanks to the combined efforts of Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones, college basketball is now the only show in town. DePaul presents something more of a roadblock than St. John's did, but they are still hardly the class of the conference. These are the three questions that Coach Mack has to answer before the Musketeers hit the floor again.
1. When is Edmond Sumner coming back?
When Sumner went down we immediately identified the Marquette game as the one he would probably need to be back for. Now we are nearly two weeks on and Xavier still doesn't have a timetable for the point guard's return. That doesn't mean he won't be back against the Golden Eagles, but it does cast it into doubt. There is no question that Xavier is a different team without Sumner. Two of the team's three highest turnover rates have come after Edmond went down.
The question now starts to become whether Edmond will be showing serious signs of rust when he returns. He was hitting his stride when the injury came, his one minute takeover against Wake Forest demonstrated that, and Xavier is a demonstrably offensively efficient team when he is on the floor. It's good that Xavier is rushing an injured young man back to soon but, strictly from a basketball sense, he can't be back too soon.
2. Have we already seen the end of the Jalems Farrnolds double post?
The rumor swirling around the St. John's game was that Jalen Reynolds hadn't started because he was difficult during the week in practice. Jalen entered the game and used the highest percentage of possessions on the team in posting an offensive efficiency of 82. The line of 10/13/0 was superficially impressive, but it wasn't Jalen at his best and he still managed three fouls. James Farr also accrued four fouls and the big men were forced back into their rotation. Kaiser Gates was ineffective and Sean O'Mara didn't attempt a shot in eight minutes. For the first time all year, Xavier's post dominance was challenged.
3. Is this the game for Larry to take over the point?
DePaul is really bad on defense. Improbably, they are significantly worse than St. John's is. One of the reasons that the Blue Demons are so bad is that they don't turn opponents over very well at all. Xavier has struggled to control the ball since Sumner was injured, but last game LAJ only turned the ball over one time even with the increased pressured from the Red Storm. Myles Davis is the heart and soul of this team, and you can bet he'll have the ball if this turns into another situation where Xavier needs to make free throws down the stretch. Before that though, against a team that won't attack much, it may be time to let a much more confident looking Larry Austin run the point.