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Sunday Conversation: 1-17

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Xavier is unquestionably the bet team in the state this year and a large part of that is the growth of Kaiser Gates.

Gates defense has earned him playing time.
Gates defense has earned him playing time.
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Joel

Two teams from Cincinnati traveled today. Both played conference road games against teams ranked just outside KenPom's top 100. UC got outplayed, out-toughed, and ultimately outscored against Temple. X controlled the game from the 15-minute mark in the first half on, finishing off a 21-0 run about the time Mick Cronin was bellyaching about being outsiders in a league that UC was a founding member of.

It's good to own the city.

Bryan

At the risk of spending too much time on UC, a quick look at their shooting numbers puts the lie to Mick's whining. 1-18 from three and 63% from the line aren't going to get it done in a major conference or, as it turns out, the AAC.

Brad

He's like Jim Boeheim without the success. Back to Xavier though, I can't believe how deep this team is. We had three starters really struggle today and still ended up in much more of a cruise than the score indicates. Guys like Gates or Big Game James just keep taking up the slack where they need to. Next game Myles might go for 18 or Jalen might drop 15/13. It's incredible.

Joel

There is a lot of value in veteran players in terms of mentality, but I think today illustrated how valuable they are physically. Henry Ellenson is going to get paid one day very soon, but today James Farr was just physically a grown man in there. Being more physically mature and having spent three more years in a college weight room is a big deal, and I think it showed. Grabbing 19 boards is monstrous.
I could not be more impressed with the way Kaiser Gates is playing defense right now. When he was in the middle of that 1-3-1 in the first half, Marquette could not find a way through. He has played himself into being a big part of what Coach Mack is trying to do right now.

Brad

He got dribbled past a couple of times in the second half, but I agree with what you're saying. The NKU game he came in and looked borderline uncontrollable. The difference in the player we had then and the one we have now is almost incomprehensible. Byron yesterday was mentioning that Coach Mack is a hot commodity every time there is a job open. That development of players is a large part of why.

Bryan

We had a couple of big wkns come from elsewhere this week when Michigan and Auburn knocked off top 15 teams. When all is said and done, I liked our non-conference schedule this season. Is there any way it could have been better? We beat good teams but didn't necessarily run into anyone who is considered a top team at this point.

Joel

I think this is a place being in the Big East will help us. Teams from the BCS conferences were hard to get into X because nobody wants to be carrying an A10 loss on the resume in March. Now we're not only a power program but in a power conference. I think we'll be able to get big names into town going forward now.

Bryan

I find it super ironic that OSU wouldn't schedule in state when they were the bullies, and now they probably could have used a crack at Dayton without Pierre, UC, or even Akron to get a decent win. Instead they lost to UT Arlington and have basically no chance at an at large bid. All that to say, I am glad we didn't schedule like chumps.