That was quite the game. Xavier overcame two big Providence runs to hold on and pick up a top 10 win on the road. The 1-3-1 that was specifically conceived to overcome the Friars last year proved their undoing again this year as they heaved three pointers like a deep shooting Sisyphus, doomed to succeed so rarely it seemed they never did. On Xavier's side the ever cheeky JP Macura stuck a dagger of a three pointer and Myles Davis led the team with the steady hand of a Columbia River pilot. That's only part of what you'll need to know to stay conversant about this game.
1. Xavier may not be a top 25 team without Myles Davis.
Does that seem a little extreme? Consider this: when Edmond Sumner isn't in the other option for Coach Mack at point guard is LAJ. LAJ is averaging four minutes per game over the last four games and turns the ball over 32% of the time he touches it. Myles, on the other hand, plays the second most minutes on the team, makes 38% of his three pointers, drives when the team needs him to score, and shoots 88.7% from the line. Since conference play started Myles has the seventh highest assist rate in the Big East, the 20th offensive rating, and the 15th EFG%. On a team loaded with talent, Myles may be the most indispensable part.
2. Jalen is back!
The reports of Jalen Reynolds demise may be premature. Jalen sent a second half message by crushing his way through Ben Bentil to score and then flexing his cantaloupe sized biceps for a rather unappreciative crowd. Jalen managed 31 minutes, put up 15/11/1, shot 70% from the floor and, perhaps most impressively, was only whistled for three fouls in a game in which two other Musketeers fouled out.
3. Edmond Sumner still has some flaws.
First off, the kid is only a freshman and has suffered a horrific looking injury this year. Those important caveats aside, he was awful in his 31 minutes yesterday. Sumner had a line of 1/8/3, went 0-9 from the floor, had an offensive efficiency of 32, and seemed rattled by the attentions of Kris Dunn. It was good to see him get on the glass when his shot wasn't going but this game is one he is going to want to forget.
4. Kris Dunn lives a lot on reputation.
To say that Dunn gets a favorable whistle is to put it mildly. That's not really worth dwelling on, as it isn't all that quantifiable. Dunn, though, isn't as good as people seem to think. In conference he has an offensive efficiency rating of 101. His assist rate is astronomically high partly because he shoots so much. That cuts down on the amount of assisted buckets available for teammates and boosts his assist rate. Is Dunn a good/great player? Yes. Is he as good as Bill Raftery thinks he is? No.
5. Fox announcers are mostly garbage.
Dickie Simpkins and Bill Raftery on back to back games, can it get much worse than that? Simpkins kept referencing Xavier's great win over Kentucky, a team Xavier hasn't played since 1968, while Raftery desperately shoehorns any sort of idiotic reference (Sweet Music!) that he can into a game. That's without getting into Raftery's self reverential and utterly outdated schtick that he does simply because it's his thing. Simpkins, meanwhile, rated Villanova as the third best team in the Big East while the Wildcats were in the midst of a 22 game conference winning streak and said Xavier, a team that is 0-6 against Nova, would beat them seven times out of ten. It's insane that Fox spent so much money and puts so much time into the Big East only to undermine it by having fools call the game.
Also, no one should call himself Professor D.