For the first 13 games of this season Xavier's rotation was pretty set. Then Edmond Sumner got hurt and things have turned into a little bit of a free for all. As Kaiser Gates and Sean O'Mara have come on, Jalen Reynolds has sacrificed time. LAJ has faded toward the end of the bench and Makinde London has become all but an afterthought. The Musketeers now go on the road to Providence with a team much more in flux than it was when conference play started.
1. Is it time to really give Sean O'Mara a chance?
In Coach Mack's postgame on Saturday he admitted that he should have gotten Big Sean back out on the floor. In conference play O'Mara has been a complete horse, posting a 141 offensive efficiency rating and a 12.8 OR%. Yes, the defensive rebounding could use some work, but that's partly a function of Sean's lack of quickness in the 1-3-1. That number would likely go up (though it's impossible to say how much) if O'Mara had a designated rebounding assignment rather than a zone to clear. With Jalen doing whatever it is Jalen is doing right now and Providence there to be had on the offensive glass, this game cries out for more Big Sean.
2. Has LAJ lost his playing time permanently?
Up until the Crosstown Shootout Larry had played double digit minutes. In that game Larry got only four minutes on the floor. LAJ was then back to getting good time until the Marquette game. In the last three games, he's played a grand total of 13 minutes. The debate here is not whether Larry should play more than that, but rather if he will or not. It seems right now that Coach Mack is more content to have Myles Davis handling the ball when Edmond Sumner isn't on the court. LAJ needs to find a way to force himself back onto the court, and soon, or he may be looking at mop up minutes all year.
3. James Farr needs more playing time.
Since conference play started James is playing about 60% of the available minutes. In that same span he's only committing 3.4 fouls per 40 minutes. That basically means that James can, if fit enough, play as much as needed. The 30 minutes he played against Seton Hall led to the best performance of his career in terms of just taking a game over and making it his. Maybe every 30 minutes doesn't lead to that, but it's worth finding out.
4. So, the obvious question.
If both Big Sean and Big Game James play more, what happens to Jalen Reynolds? It's hard to say what is going on with Xavier's erstwhile preseason All Big East player. In conference Jalen's offensive rating is 95.8, worse than everyone on the team other than LAJ. His efficiency numbers were good against Georgetown, but he managed a line of 9/4/1 in 21 minutes. That's not wowing anyone. That Hoya game and the Butler game are the only times in seven conference that Jalen's efficiency has even been above 90. Sometimes he seems engaged, sometimes he seems like he's drifting. Whatever is going on with Jalen he needs to figure it out and do so quickly. There's rumor that he's feeling the maternal pressure to make money next year. Playing like this, he better hope that education stands him in good stead.