Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's Banners on the Parkway postseason report cards. With the players done, we are moving on to breaking down the various facets of Coach Mack. In addition to showing how the community rated the coach on offense, defense, man management, and overall, we'll be assigning and explaining our own grades as well. If you've missed any of the previous breakdowns, check them out in our 2016: Season in Review section.
|Coach Mack: Offense|
|Community GPA: 3.60|
Xavier's offense finished the year the 17th most efficient squad int he nation. The NCAA tournament was a glimpse into why, as teams from across the nation showcased their inability to run even the most simple of offensive sets with anything resembling consistency. In comparison, Xavier's offense all year ticked over like an old clock, rarely sinking into the ball killing malaise of the last couple of years. James Farr and Jalen Reynolds both had excellent games in the post, which generally spread the floor for a bevy of shooters. By the time everything shook out, this was Xavier's most efficient offense since the Jordan Crawford led team of Coach Mack's first year.
Coach Mack on Offense: A
Xavier was a metronome of excellence on offense this year. Offensive efficiency is based on a scale where 100 is considered average. Xavier was over that mark in 28 of their 34 games this year. Villanova's offense may have been better overall this year, but even they had the same amount of below average games as Xavier. In short, Xavier's offense was excellent.
Unlike the defense, it was just an early season dominance, either. Yes, the Musketeers flexed copious muscle in wins over teams like Western Kentucky, Auburn, and Michigan before the Big East got going, but they also steamrolled DePaul twice, and victimized Georgetown, Marquette, and Villanova in conference play. The Musketeers made up for merely adequate shooting by crushing the offensive glass and executing out of bounds plays with such precision that they became must see gifs all season long.
A large part of the success of this year's offense was speed. While anyone who Xavier's guards play defense can be forgiven for not believing that, the backcourt attacked with relentless pace. Edmond Sumner, even post injury, was the main component of that, but Myles Davis, JP Macura, and LAJ also never hesitated to rake it an run. The beneficiary of all of that eagerness to get going was Remy Abell, who was always willing to get out on the attack with the confidence that Farr and Reynolds were going get the rebound to a guard who would have his head down the floor already. This Xavier team had the highest adjusted tempo and shortest average possession length of any Musketeers group in the KenPom era, and it isn't terribly close.
In debatably Xavier's best season ever, it was a reverse of the program norm that carried the day. The Musketeers this season relied on offense over defense and parlayed that into consistent top five rankings. Everything in the above paragraphs is down to the influence of Coach Mack. He recognized the speed he had and had the team get out and run, he used Jalems Farrnolds as well as anyone could have expected and leveraged them to dominate the offensive glass, and, of course, there are the out of bounds plays. There's just no way to look at Xavier's offense this year and not come to the conclusion the vast majority of us did: Coach Mack earned every bit of that A.