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Xavier v. Providence takeaways

So that wasn’t much fun.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

With just a hair over 13 minutes left in the first half, Coach Mack sent Tim Stainbrook to the scorer’s table to give Quentin Goodin his first rest of the game. That sentence more or less recaps the game and sums up where Xavier is at this point in the season. With the backcourt depth shorn of three starting-quality guards, Coach Mack is riding freshmen and bit players in conference road games in February. It’s not quite seeing Kevin Feeney out there, but it’s dang close.

Predictably, a game in which the above mentioned sub happened didn’t turn out well for the Muskies. The team built a 10-point first-half lead thanks mostly to massive effort on defense and the glass. When a starter hit the bottom of his tank (or picked up his second foul early in the first half), there were no other options. Q and JP played 39 minutes, Shid played 30, and Mal played 34. Providence reeled in Xavier’s heavy legs by the end of the first half and strode away to a fairly comfortable victory in the second.

The effort is still there

Providence’s 18 points off of Xavier’s 17 turnovers obviously killed the Muskies, but X destroyed the Friars on the glass and dug in on defense until things got a bit leggy there in the second half. Disappointingly, Xavier only tied Providence in second-chance points with 14 despite having 19 OReb to the Friars’ 10. It’s a work in progress, but at least the work is there.

There’s not a ton of offensive firepower

See JP try to shoot the team back into the game. See Shid not get fed despite shooting 8-10 on the game. See Kaiser and Mal combine for a 4-14 from the floor. None of those are criticisms of those guys in particular. Like Michael Martinez with two down in game 7, the fault lies in the circumstances that put them into the situation. I can’t blame any of those guys for being who they are as players, but it’s a shame they’re being asked to cover a much bigger load than anyone could have anticipated.

MLB: World Series-Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians
I don’t blame you for being you, Michael.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Still, it would be dope to see someone step up.

Resting Tre was the right call

You saw how much we struggle without him. The beauty of where this team is right now is that we can focus on being ready after Selection Sunday, not having to pull out all the stops to get there. The important games are still ahead of us.