Trying to bounce back from a loss is always a tough task because the need for changes is tempered by the need to avoid a knee jerk reaction to a bad performance. Luckily, Coach Mack has that job and not me, which is fair because he gets paid roughly 40x what I do. Regardless of how Coach Mack's lot in life compares to mine, here are the three questions that need addressing to hold serve against Seton Hall:
Wherefore art thou Jalmes Farrnolds?
Back in the day, or at least about a month ago, no one in the country could figure out quite how to slow down Xavier's two headed post monster. Since the beginning of conference play, Jalen has struggled to get on the court at times, and Farr has seen his ORtg drop to below 100 for Big East play. Seton Hall is comparable to Marquette as far a defensive rebounding and shot blocking, and James was excellent against Marquette, which would be a positive sign for him. On the flip side, Seton Hall hits the offensive glass much better than Marquette does and we saw Xavier struggle to keep them off it when Jalen Reynolds, owner of the #1 defensive rebouding percentage in the league, was not on the floor, which would point to him getting the start. Add in the fact that the last time both these guys were in double digits was December 19 against Auburn, and you can clearly see the need for Xavier's post men to get back to their best sooner rather than later.
Is this O'Mara's time?
It feels weird to put two apostrophes in the same word, but I am committed so I grin and bear it. While Xavier's two main bigs struggle, O'Mara has been quietly excellent whenever called upon this season. The only game he has gotten more than 20 minutes in was Auburn, when he was part of Xavier's putting of the "pain" in paint, but he has answered the bell other times this season. In fact, in the 5 games in which he has gotten more than 10 minutes, Sean's lowest ORtg is 132. Against Georgetown, O'Mara was comfortable getting physical around the bucket and scored 6 points in 8 minutes of a dreadful two point shooting performance. If Xavier struggles in close again, will Coach Mack let O'Mara have a run of minutes and see what he can do? I don't know, watch the game and find out.
Is the 1-3-1 the way to handle Seton Hall?
Seton Hall only shoots 33% from three as a team, which is good for 201st in the nation. What they lack in spot up shooters, they make up for in having Isaiah Whitehead, who shoots more often than anyone else in the conference for reasons lost on everyone but, I am generously assuming, himself. He is fresh off a 6-18 performance from the field at Villanova, which surprisingly did not spur his team to the win. Simply put, does Xavier try to force Seton Hall to shoot over a zone defense and hope they don't get hot, or put Abell on Whitehead and hope he shoots the Pirates out of the game?