Did Sean O’Mara break out last year? In four of Xavier’s first seven games, the big man from Illinois deployed his array of post moves and deft touch to score double digits. In Xavier’s four NCAA tournament games, he averaged 10.5 points, scored the winner against Arizona, and missed a grand total of seven shots. He was, at least until the entire team ran out of gas, immense. You may have noticed, though, that there were games played between the last two weeks of November and the last two of March.
O’Mara gashed NDSU for 12/5/0 on 6-9 from the floor on the 29th of November. After that and prior to his 18/7/1 against Maryland in the first round, he had more games in which he didn’t score (five), than games in which he scored double figures (three). For the season, he averaged 6.1/3.1/0.6 on 60% shooting. They were solid numbers, but for a guy very clearly capable of scoring in bunches in the post, they were underwhelming. Did the tournament explosion herald a permanent breakout? That story will finish being told in basketball’s dog days of February.
Best case scenario:
March awakened something in Sean. He wasn’t great against Gonzaga, but no one was. The other three games, he was a legitimate post threat who averaged 21 minutes a game and, late against Arizona, put on a body positioning clinic. If Sean gets 20 minutes a game this season, he gets 9/5/1 on 60% from the floor. Surrounded by Xavier’s bevy of athletes, he’s a consistent threat in the post.
Worst case scenario:
February 4th-11th again. In that span, Sean played 13 minutes and posted a total line of 0/1/0. That’s near as makes no difference a three game trillion. Sean needs rhythm to get going, and if he can’t find it early or keeps fouling everyone, Coach Mack will put Tyrique in, go small at the four, and move on with life.
Most likely scenario:
A better version of last year. That means eliminating the stretches of anonymity, dominating only on occasion, but remaining a very vital part of the rotation. For Sean O’Mara, and for Xavier, that’s a good scenario indeed.