After dropping three straight- all in galling fashion in one way or another- Xavier got back to their winning ways by righting some of their own wrongs, but mostly obliging a shambolic Georgetown team that seemed determined to put this one in the "L" column. Despite never leading by more than 13, this was a game that it never quite felt like was going to slip from Xavier's grasp the way late leads against Butler and Creighton had. I putting some bad days behind them, Xavier improved in some key areas, but the chinks remain in the armor for now, even as the process of trying to remove them moves on.
3 Reasons to be Positive
1- Aggressive Tre showed back up today- It is no secret that Bluiett had fallen in love with his three point jumper this season, shooting more from outsid the arc than inside it for the first time in his career this season. Today, possibly as a result of going 2-17 over the past three games from deep, Bluiett was back to utilizing his driving ability and deadly pull up game to put Georgetown on their heels when they defended him. Tre only went 4-10 from inside the arc, but the added dimension kept defenders from overplaying him on the perimeter, leading to better looks from three.
2- JP took care of the ball again- To go along with Bluiett's struggles from the field, JP Macura had developed a real taste for passing (or handing) the ball to the wrong team over the last 3 games, racking up 12 turnovers- which is more than any other five game stretch in the Junior's career. Today he got the job done for X as he put up a line of 20/5/4 with 3 steals and 2 turnovers. For Xavier to be a force going forward, someone other than Ed needs to be able to distribute the ball, and it isn't going to be Myles Davis. JP's knack for finding holes in the defense is going to be essential, but only if he can make good decisions with the ball like he did for the most part today.
3-Bernard is stepping up at the right time- Malcolm Bernard is probably not going to go down in Xavier history as a legendary performer, but he is giving this team what it needs right now. After setting his Xavier career high today with 12, he has now hit double digits in 3 of 7 Big East games and is shooting .545/.421/.821 since conference play began. His usage rate is only 13.3%, but he gives X a big boost when he does become the focal point, posting a true shooting% over 70 so far against the Big East. He might not grab headlines, but he is quietly making the most of his chance at major college basketball.
3 Reasons to be Negative
1-You are my dad, and you are always negative about your sports teams-
He is from Cleveland, can you blame him?
1b-Myles is not bailing us out-
All season long, as we examined the issues with this team, it seemed like Myles' skill set would be vital to a deep March run. Now there are no more unknowns. There is no one else coming through the door. We have what we are going to have and these 9 players (plus walk-ons) will live and die on their own merits.
2-The bench is problematic- Discounting Edmond Sumner's adeventure as a reserve against Creighton, Xavier's bench has all but disappeared since St. John's. Kaiser Gates is still doing his best impression of a 6'8" Allen Huston, O'Mara can't seem to catch a ball cleanly, and the freshmen are still getting blooded in to Big East basketball. All four are players with massive upside who have had good games and will have more good games for X, but right now they are simply not producing.
3-It was only Georgetown-
I for one grew up with Georgetown being a namd that was feared and respected in college basketball. They had Ewing, they had Mourning, they had Iverson. We hoped maybe someday X could be like them. Now they are 10-10, 1-6 in the Big East, and look for all the world like an also ran playing out the string. It is hard not to feel bad for a strong, proud fanbase watching their program slog through another year of futility, but it is also hard to get overly excited about beating them.