Last night Xavier did some work to quiet the fears of any fans worried that the defense was coming apart, the team was sliding backwards into the tournament, or that Chris Mack wasn't at least the third best coach in the conference. The Musketeers swatted aside Marquette by starting the game with an 11-2 run and opening the lead to 28 before rotating in everyone who goes to school for free.
Marquette isn't ready for one and done
Henry Ellenson was undoubtedly the best player on the Golden Eagles this season. Were he staying, the two top 100 recruits that Steve W. has coming in would be the base of a team very capable of challenging in the Big East. He's not though, and that leaves Marquette with Haanif Cheatham and Traci Carter (he of the ill-advised staredown with Trevon) as the carryovers from the freshman class. No seniors are moving on, but the coaching staff is essentially starting over with the same crew they have this year. They could be very good but, once again, it's going to take them awhile to get there.
Trevon is tougher than he gets credit for
Trevon Bluiett was Xavier's third best player. All-American? Not if you're paying attention.— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) March 8, 2016
I don't know who Zach Braziller is, but he greatly underestimated Trevon Bluiett. Trevon responded by coming to Zach's city and letting him know about it last night. Bluiett went down in the first half (and Xavier fans everywhere panicked), but he came back and kept tormenting Marquette to the tune 24/6/1 with an offensive efficiency of 148. Highly touted lottery pick Henry Ellenson even resorted to soccer style tackles on Trevon to no avail.
The big guns got rested
Give a lot of credit to the conference's third best coach, Chris Mack, for instilling in his team that burying this game early was the way to go. Xavier avoided the slow starts that have plagued them since Villanova, and most of the season, and punched the Golden Eagles in the mouth early. Xavier also stayed on the gas long enough to give the coaches a chance to get everyone in and out. Did the chippiness of the game play into Xavier staying motivated? Maybe, but at the end Xavier was cruising and no one had played more than 28 minutes.
Myles Davis did it all
Myles went for a relatively quiet 8/6/5 on only six shots. Myles also threw in a block and steal and didn't turn the ball over at all. The only Golden Eagle who outrebounded Myles was 6-10 Luke Fischer. Henry Ellenson didn't, Wally Ellenson didn't (though it would have been hard from laying on the floor, pretending to be a gunshot victim), and JuJuan Johnson didn't. Myles ended six Marquette possessions with his rebounds, more than any other Xavier player. When Xavier needs some aspect of a game filled, Myles fills it. Last night it was rebounding, tonight it could be scoring 25. It's hard to overstate what he means to this team.
There really is a Xavier Nation
I hate the fill in the team name Nation style of branding fanbases, mostly because it usually isn't true. No, Columbus, there isn't a Blue Jackets Nation. Some teams do buck that trend though, and Xavier appears to be one of them. Xavier fans were on the Today show, "Let's Go X" was plainly evident both on tv and radio, and several NY outlets reported how well Xavier was represented at MSG. At the very least, Xavier's core fanbase is willing and able to travel, no matter the game.