The city of Cincinnati power rankings are as follows:
Bad coach, not great at basketball.
Winning on and off the court since time immemorial.
That was so perfunctory it was barely fun, kind of like beating UC would be if it weren’t so fun every time. Now that the salt level on Twitter has subsided a bit - Saturday was an all-time great Twitter day - let’s break down our dectet of brave Musketeers by the same vague criteria we always do.
10. Elias Harden
Could Xavier have replaced Harden’s <1 minute, 0 stat performance against UC? Probably. Harden did what the freshmen couldn’t do Tu’s senior year though, and that was be on the court instead of the starters. I’m going assume Elias kept Xavier from a fight that would have led to suspensions, so I’m grateful for his contribution.
9. Paul Scruggs
It’s hard to adjust to the speed of the college game, and it’s especially hard to do so as a point guard. Scruggs has massive potential and he’s working on putting it together on the fly. Keep in mind that everyone’s hero Quentin Goodin wasn’t lighting the world on fire at this time last year. Scruggs will be just fine, probably.
8. Kerem Kanter
Thank God for this dude on Saturday, right? If he averages 17 on 75% shooting the rest of the way, he obviously moves up. In the meantime, Xavier has three viable options at the five, and I’ve still got Tyrique and Medium Sean ranked above Kanter.
7. Naji Marshall
Mark it down: Marshall is the heir to JP’s throne. No, he’s not going to move into Mick Cronin’s head or antagonize anything with a pulse, but he’s long, athletic, and all action. He managed to do a little bit of everything against UC, which is a tough trick to pull in a game in which you’re 0-1 from the floor. I love this dude’s game.
6. Sean O’Mara
KenPom tells me Sean has lost a total of three pounds since he arrived on campus. If that’s true, his body composition has taken a 180; he looks like he’s dropped a third-grader. He’s also cashing out from the free throw line, which is incredibly valuable in a big man. Combining his touch around the rim and the fact that you can’t just flog him and make him split from the line is tough to counter.
5. Tyrique Jones
Xavier’s not a dominant rebounding team this year, but that’s not down to Tyrique. He’s Xavier’s best rebounder on both ends and has reliable - if slightly unrefined - game around the rim. He’s only this low on the list because there are so many other good post players on the roster.
4. Kaiser Gates
When he’s at his best, Kaiser is tough to replace. The defense he played on Gary Clark was incredible, holding Clark to a disastrous 88 ORtg and submarining UC’s offensive game plan (assuming they had one). Throw in 10/10/1 on 3-6/2-3/2-2 shooting, and I’m hoping we just witnessed the game that signals Kaiser’s full arrival as a stud.
3. Quentin Goodin
When he’s bad, Xavier loses. It’s hard to get more irreplaceable than that. The difference in the Muskies on both ends of the court is marked when Q comes out of the game. I’m glad he’s just a sophomore and seems durable.
2. JP Macura
Maybe I expect too much of JP. I feel like his production has been a bit of a disappointment this year, then I see he’s averaging more assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals than he was last year, shooting better, turning it over less, and posting a better ORtg. And he’s making friends everywhere he goes. We’re going to miss JP when he graduates.
1. Trevon Bluiett
He won’t stop shooting. It won’t stop going in. He doesn’t play the game the way Tu did, but he’s just as overtly ruthless during winning time, which is all the time for Tre. He has a ton of confidence in his shot from pretty much anywhere, and it’s awesome to watch right now.