As the more astute among you may have noticed by the fact that our content sucked roughly 58% more than usual this weekend (and the fact his name wasn't on very many articles) Joel was unfortunately not able to watch Xavier's epic run to the Big East Tournament semifinals. Never fear, however, Joel is back from his deathbed or pilgramage or honeymoon or wherever he was but in his absence I wrested away control of his ever popular Xavier Power Rankings right after he asked me nicely to do them since I has seen the games. Without further ado, welcome to this brave new world.
13. Eddie Ekiyor
Given Xavier's recent experience with a certain other player who started his X career more than a year removed from High School ball named Ed, it is tempting to move Ekiyor up, but there is a real reason to do so. Also, I am afraid of changing too much on Joel since I don't know if he was off the grid meeting with seedy underworld mob boss types this weekend and would use his new-found contacts in the criminal underbelly of society to order a hit on me. Better safe than getting fitted with cement galoshes.
12. RaShid Gaston
Can I just say, I am extremely excited to see what this guy brings to the table next year. We have had some excellent transfers in the interior over the years from Thornton to McLean to Takeoff Trav and I think if Gaston wasn't capable of putting his name in among them, Coach Mack would not have given him two years of scholarship for one season of work.
11. Makinde London
Makinde got 2 minutes of play in the BET and grabbed two boards and an assist. Converted to a rate over 40 minutes, that is over 30 rebounds a game! The drawback is that his shooting line was 0-2/0-1/0-1 and no matter how many times you multiply zero by zero it is still zero.
10. Larry Austin Jr.
Larry was as good as he could be against Marquette, which is to say he was very very good. Against Seton Hall, with Xavier needing an answer to their distribution woes at point guard in the first half, he came in, looked visibly uncomfortable against Seton Hall's press, turned the ball over, and came back out for the rest of the game. I get as excited as anyone when Larry lights up DePaul, but on Friday it could be argued that X really needed him to come up big and he looked panicked by the pressure.
9. Kaiser Gates
Gates is typically a punch off the bench for X on offense and another big presence on the glass on both ends. This week he turned 26 minutes of play into 3 points and 5 rebounds with a pair of blocks. More distressingly, when Gates was in as part of Xavier's 1-3-1, he was typically caught watching rebounds, making things tougher for Xavier under the basket. Gates is capable of lighting a game up, but he didn't have it this week so he drops.
8. Sean O'Mara
O'Mara come in against a Marquette squad that was reeling from Xavier's 1-2 post punch of Reynolds and Farr and gave them something else to worry about. He rarely makes it look pretty, but he is typically brutally effective on offense and is starting to be able to use his size on defense without fouling. X would always take 6 and 4 in 11 minutes from their third string big man and in his 6 minutes against Seton Hall, he ended more possessions with rebounds, something Xavier struggled to do all night, than 5 of the 9 players to play more than him combined. With me giving O'Mara a big jump this week, I can only hope that Joel's weekend excursion was to a Tibetan monastery, where he learned the value of all viewpoints and the peace of nonviolence.
7. Remy Abell
Remy posted a pair of sub-par offensive showings this week, which was supplanted better by his defense against Marquette than it was Seton Hall. Remy is going to be vital for Xavier in this tournament, especially if they run into Demetrius Jackson of Notre Dame or Tyler Ullis of Kentucky.
6. Jalen Reynolds
Jalen was extremely effective when on the floor this week, but only was on the floor for 34 minutes. His dismissal against Seton Hall was hard to fault him for, but the fact is he has to adjust to the fact that refs basically walk into the building looking for an excuse to call something on Jalen. The national stage brought out the best in Jalen against Georgia State and Arizona last year, so we can only hope for a similar reaction this year.
5. JP Macura
Like basically the rest of the team, JP was better against Marquette than Seton Hall this week. It is becoming pretty clear that JP is getting onto the refs radars as well, which is not an entirely unfair place for him to be. As long as he continues his resurgence from beyond the arc and maintains his form on the offensive glass, he will be a hugely vital player for Xavier.
4. James Farr
Oddly, Farr, who shot 78% from the line in BE regualr season play, was 4-11 from the line this week. Other than that, Farr was everything X could have asked him to be. He too 40 minutes to go for 30 and 13 and was notable in the second half against Seton Hall for his effort in trying to bring Xavier back into the game. We know for sure that this tournament is Farr's last go round with X and if we have learned anything about him over the past 4 seasons, it is that he going to do whatever it takes to make it last as long as possible.
3. Myles Davis
Brad stated at some point (I really only skim the other articles on here) that as Myles goes, so goes Xavier. On this week's sample size, it is impossible to dispute his thesis, which it kills me to admit. Myles 3 worst ORtg's this season have been : @ Villanova, @ Creighton, and in the BET Semifinal against Seton Hall. Myles was excellent against Marquette (8/6/5, 0 TO) and almost equally as bad against SHU (8/3/4, 8 TO), much like Xavier as a team. For X to make a run this tournament, Myles has to shake that one off and get back to his best, because Xavier doesn't have anyone else like him.
2. Edmond Sumner
Ed was elected to the all-Freshman team in the conference, and for good reason. Ed was electrifying this week, scoring 31 points and dishing out 11 assists to just 2 turnovers. His 7-23 shooting performance in the semifinal was an anchor to his overall performance, but his 9 boards were a worthy counterbalance. Sumner will be especially valubale for X if they come up against West Virginia, as his improved care of the ball will be put to the test.
1. Trevon Bluiett
Bluiett has rightly come under fire at times during his Xavier career for his performances in big games. This week, he looked like a man on a mission at times, knocking down jumpers, scrapping for boards, and scaring Traci Carter back into his senses against Marquette before helping spark a second half run to get X back into a game they were rapidly losing track of against Seton Hall. Bluiett is a bad matchup for basically any team in the country with his mix of skills, and when he brings his guns to bear like he did this week, Xavier is never out of a game.
There it is, folks. There is a new Muskie on top of the power rankings and a new writer dishing them out. While I am sure Trevon will relish his teammates putting themselves in the consideration next week, Joel is going to have to pry this thing from my cold, lifeless finger. Or, you know, just tell me he is writing it next week.