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Roster(de)bating: Xavier v. Buffalo

Xavier was less than convincing in the opener against Lehigh; does the answer lie in shuffling the depth chart?

NCAA Basketball: Lehigh at Xavier
Possible solution: 100% usage rate for this guy.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

One game into the season, it seems clear that the rotation is going to be tightly controlled in the absence of Myles and Kaiser. If someone is having an off night, Coach Mack has fewer options to use to try to change things up rather than riding it out. Here safely on the other side of our respective screens, you and I can be a bit more freewheeling. Does the answer lie in...

...continuing to ride Ed and Tre?

Edmond played 100% of the team’s available minutes (a rate that ties him for first in the nation) and had a colossal usage rate of 28.3%. Just behind him, Trevon posted 92.5% and 24.4%, respectively, in those categories. Both of those guys harbor very realistic NBA aspirations; maybe the wise move is to saddle them both up until the roster returns to whatever full strength will be this year.

...going with a double big?

Aside from the concept of disappointment, the thing Coach Mack returned to the most post-game on Friday was the fact that Quentin Goodin represents all of his perimeter depth if the team goes with a single post. The remedy to that - other than just forcing a really tough growth curve on on Quentin - is to double up on bigs, push Tre or Mal Bernard to the three, and have a little more wiggle room on the outside. With Sean O’Mara, RaShid Gaston, and Tyrique Jones being capable of posting and O’Mara and Gaston showing impressive efficiency numbers on Friday, this might be the answer.

...slowing down the pace?

This is kind of counterintuitive, since the better team usually wants more possessions, but Xavier got less than 20% of its minutes from the bench on Friday. Coach Mack talked about fatigue being a factor in Xavier’s lack of execution late against Lehigh, and the Muskies played 76 possessions that game. Cut the game down by a meaningful amount of possessions and Xavier is walking out of Cintas with an eight- or nine-point win. Maybe Coach Mack should aim to do just that this time around.