Depending on your Sunday morning habits, you are probably either settling in for a church service (in which case you should get off your phone and pay attention) or just sitting down with some coffee and trying to figure out what to do on a Sunday without the NFL. The fact that it feels like March outside really only heightens the feeling that Xavier is now playing some genuinely meaningful games. Without any further ado, here are the takes worth having from yesterday's encounter.
1. There are bad games in the Big East
Part of the allure of moving to the Big East was getting away from the late January games that could only hurt the resume regardless of outcome. Unfortunately, those games can't be completely escaped. Much as there was no selection committee member that was going to be impressed with a home floor wiping of Fordham, there is no one taking note when Xavier goes on the road and hammers DePaul. As good as the Big East is, there are still at least four games on the slate that are lose-lose affairs. Take heart though, the A10 has five teams currently ranked worse than DePaul. At least after Wednesday in this conference the Musketeers get back to playing good basketball.
2. Xavier lacks a true sniper
After 21 games it's fair to say that the sample size is large enough to start drawing some real conclusions about teams. Yesterday continued a mildly alarming trend when Xavier players not named Makinde London combined to go 3-15 from behind the arc. That dropped Xavier's three point percentage to 35.7%, good for 130th in the nation. That's not a horrible mark by any stretch of the imagination, but it somewhat accentuates the fact that Xavier lacks a true knockdown three point threat. Right now Trevon Bluiett leads the team in both attempts (124) and percentage (38.7%), with Myles right behind at 37.5%. Those numbers would be the lowest to lead the team since Tu Holloway's 34.5% in the 2010-11 season. On the other hand...
3. Xavier's inside dominance has returned
Yesterday the Musketeers shot 56.1% inside the arc, against Providence it was 60.5%. Those are both easily top 10 in the nation for two point field goal percentage if Xavier were to maintain that pace over a season. Couple that with the fact that Xavier grabbed 78% of DePaul's misses yesterday and 41% of their own and you get the picture of a team reasserting dominance in the paint. Sean O'Mara, James Farr, Jalen Reynolds, and, of course, JP Macura, are all shooting well over 50% inside the arc and Xavier is top 30 in the nation in both rebounding rates. This is a team that is clubbing people inside right now.