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Water Cooler Takes: Are there any next men up left?

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Xavier fought tooth and nail yesterday, but a lack of depth is really taking its toll.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Xavier
Great.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to know how to feel about Xavier’s season after this latest loss. On the one hand, they were game for the fight all day. Not until exhaustion kicked in after the game was essentially decided did Villanova really start to do things uncontested. The Musketeers scrapped for every inch of court yesterday. On the other hand, it’s talent that wins games. Xavier is now down three guys they were ostensibly counting to be starters by this point in time during the year. One of those guys is their most explosive player, the other is their leading scorer. Yesterday conclusive demonstrated that all the effort in the world can’t overcome losing talent like that.

X is out of options

Quentin Goodin and JP Macura played 40 minutes. Kaiser Gates and Rashid Gaston logged over 30, and an obviously limping Malcolm Bernard played 29. There’s no one left for Chris Mack to feed into the chipper. Tyrique Jones and Sean O’Mara are both still there, but neither of them are playing anything other than the four or five positions. With Tre down, there are no forwards or guards left. Back in September of 2012 Xavier was approaching a season with only eight scholarship players. That seems luxurious at this point.

Hot take nonsense is running wild

Your buddy with the half finished Natty Light and burning desire to Make Twitter Great Again by lighting up everyone in sight with the idea that Xavier quit last night is just wrong. This is somewhat borne from the somewhat uniquely American sports fan idea that effort and grit are all it ever takes to carry the day, and partly from the impotent rage that comes over even the most reasonable of fans when their team simply can’t get the job done late. The Musketeers didn’t quit or give up yesterday, they got tired. Frankly, the fight shown yesterday would have stood X in good stead in games like Baylor and the Shootout.

Trevon Bluiett is in a walking boot

I don’t think I need to tell you what this means. Xavier’s computer numbers didn’t budge after yesterday’s loss, because no one expected them to win that game. That leaves Coach Mack with just a little bit of wiggle room still left on the resume. It might be beneficial to let Tre just sit for a game at Providence. Of course, that means finding someone else to fill those minutes and it isn’t immediately clear who that would be.

The entire game plan may need to change

Xavier is built this year as a guard oriented team. They frequently, almost constantly in fact, play four outside of one. It might be time for Coach Mack to consider going to a double post to leverage the very tiny amount of depth that he does have. With Bluiett down, the team has one guard, three forwards, and three bigs. Getting Jones and Gaston on the floor at the same time could be one of the best ways of making sure that this team still has some vestige of gas left in the tank come tournament time.