clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Don't Cancel the Season Just Yet

Ok, so maybe it isn't time to scrap this thing and start counting the days until it's time to mow again. Here is why Xavier is still just fine.

"It was just one game."
"It was just one game."
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone loves a good freak out every now and then. Brad loves leading people right where they're dying to go. In a way, it was preordained that he would write his piece about why now is the perfect time to decompensate. I'm not going to lie, there are definitely some warts on this team still. Despite that - and how cathartic it is to lose your mind - let me present you with a few reasons to remain future-oriented rather than getting lost in the panic of the moment.

The effort is still amazing

Even when the whole thing was going down the drain, Xavier never quit on the game. Georgetown made not one but two second-half runs that should have been backbreaking, but Xavier kept clawing back and had chances to cut the lead to a single possession in the final two minutes. Myles Davis and James Farr set a tone for the team with their leadership, and everyone largely falls in line. It would have been easier to saunter out the final 90 seconds or so, but instead the Muskies were flying all over the place try to achieve a miracle comeback. That kind of commitment portends good things.

Trevon Bluiett is a volume scorer... and that's okay

Sometimes a team needs a guy who is willing to come out and just put the ball on the rim, regardless of if his last shot or five went in. Trevon is that guy for Xavier. When everyone is a little bit lost for what to do next on offense - and the team clearly was against the Hoyas - Tre can reach into his bag of tricks and pull out something that looks like basketball. It doesn't always fall, but it forces the defense to move and react. He is a guy who always has to be accounted for, and that opens up chances for the rest of the team.

Know who else was a bit of a volume scorer? Jordan Crawford. They're two different types of player, but having a guy who will fearlessly keep attacking paired with a young but up-and-coming point guard keeps defenses on their heels. Xavier's hideous shooting line from Georgetown aside, the offense still managed to get 1.07 points per possession on the night. The offense is fine with and probably even better for Trevon getting up his dozen or so shots a night.

Chaos reigns

In the last five days, 10 of the top 15 have taken a loss to an unranked team, #4 Villanova beat Seton Hall by one, and Kansas State went to double OT with #13 Baylor. In the Big East, home teams sport a 13-19 record for a .406 winning percentage. With just over 7 weeks to go until Selection Sunday, you could make a case for any of about a dozen teams (including Xavier) for national champ. If you're not burying West Virginia because of their home loss to Texas, maybe take a couple deep breaths on Xavier, too.

We knew this was going to happen

Okay, maybe not exactly this, but something like this, sometime. It's an impossible ask to want a group of college-aged guys - or any group, really - to perform up to its full potential every time out. The reason Xavier was 16-1 coming in is that this team had enough depth that there were always enough guys having good nights to make up for the guys on down nights. Against Georgetown, there weren't quite enough good nights on the floor to make up for the bad ones. there's a reason it has been nigh 40 years since someone went undefeated.

Further, Xavier's system is designed to win the glass, contest the paint, and make the opponent win with difficult shots. It usually works because the odds of a 30% three-point shooter suddenly jarring 5 of 6 to start a game are very low. It occasionally breaks down because those odds, though low, occasionally do pay out. Standing and watching Durand Johnson and Traci Carter hand out rebounds was a key part of Xavier's wins at St. John's and Marquette. Despite the fact that Tre Campbell had the game of his life on Tuesday, the math still favors Xavier's system going forward.