Villanova came to Cintas last year and left with an L after an inspired and inspiring performance by a deep and talented Xavier team. This was not that game. Xavier had a lead early, but the Wildcats kept coming and Xavier just couldn’t find answers. A balanced attack from Nova featured 5 players in double digits and X was saddled with its seventh loss of the season.
Attrition is draining Xavier
Myles Davis. Edmond Sumner. Trevon Bluiett. Xavier’s top three scorers last year, all returned this year, all out today. Myles and Ed you already know about, but Trevon’s ankle rolled on him again today and - despite a game effort - he was ineffective and then unable to go. Quentin Goodin, JP Macura, and Malcolm Bernard were forced to play with basically no backups, and Xavier lacked the offensive firepower to reel in Villanova.
Also, Kaiser finished the game with a bandage on his face and Malcolm was limping. The good news may still be coming.
The team is still fighting
JP was all over the floor, sliding on his pajamas to grab loose balls and contest every inch of the court. The team gang rebounded to the tune of an OReb% of over 50%, which is borderline absurd. Every sort of play predicated on effort was present for Xavier, but the execution just couldn’t match it. Heart alone isn’t going to carry the day against the reigning national champs.
Shot selection is a bit of an issue
JP and Q combined to go 6-30 from the floor, including a 1-14 from Goodin. RaShid Gaston was 10-13 and scored 23 points. I know Macura and Goodin want to win, and they are two of the guys Xavier gets unquestionable effort from night in and night out, but at some point that needs to be tempered just a hair if Xavier is going to yet make something of this season.