You probably aren't gathering around the water cooler today unless you are one us who are so blessed as to work on the weekends. Churches and family Super Bowl parties still make great places to drop some Xavier knowledge though. The Musketeers are now a difficult to fully process 21-2 with only seven regular season games remaining. Much more of this and even ESPN will consider them a lock for the tournament. Here are some salient points on our team that is nowhere near the bubble this year.
1. Forget about the defense for a moment, Xavier scored 55 in a half.
Trevon: 14/1/2. JP: 15/3/0. Myles: 9/1/5. Those are all pretty decent lines, right? Those three Xavier players did that in a single half yesterday against Marquette. Xavier's defense wasn't clicking at all (more on that later), so the Musketeers simply threw the offense into overdrive and dare the Golden Eagles to score with them. The same team that suffocated Providence into a 4-24 stretch to win that game took a totally different tack and shot .567/.700/.737 in the second half to win this one.
2. You might not be the only one to forget the defense.
Marquette is not a good shooting team, but they shot 54.7% from the floor in this one. They are a wretched three point shooting team but they knocked down 9-17. To some extent it is hard to impact an opponent's shooting percentage as opposed to their number of attempts, but Xavier allowed so high a percentage because they were allowing far too many attempts at the rim or in the corners of the 1-3-1. The zone was going to get hurt once teams had more time to scout it, but it can still be effective. What is a little more concerning is how quickly Xavier's man to man becomes a scramble when either JP Macura or another guard gets beaten off the dribble.
3. Shooting free throws well wins games.
Xavier is shooting 65% from the line in their last two games. That lowers their season number to 73.4%. The large space that still remains between those numbers illustrates just how bad Xavier has been recently. A 65% mark on the year would land the team solidly in the bottom third in the nation and also in some serious trouble in any close game. The Musketeers shooting at their usual clip would have made this an 11 point game at the end and undoubtedly changed the timbre of that all too close final 90 seconds.
4. Carolina 31-17 Denver
What would Super Bowl Sunday be without a prediction?