Sometimes talking Xavier basketball is easy and fun, other times nothing much gets you wanting to face the fact that your team is in a freefall. With another Wednesday game night approaching, Xavier is suddenly hovering just above the bubble and playing with a team that seems completely stripped of offensive confidence. That kind of thing doesn’t lead to a great deal of cheer on a February day that hovers near 60.
Joel: Guys we currently have available, in descending order of EFG% in conference play: Shid, Sean, Tyrique, Mal, Kaiser, JP, Q. If you change it to overall ORtg, Kaiser jumps to the top and Mal and JP change places. What is it I'm missing that makes it make sense that JP and (especially) my guy Q are shooting so dang much?
Brad: I think it's a bit of a lack of discipline and a bit of panic setting in. Those shots are available all the time, so we take them as things start going poorly. It's hard to take the time to feed the post when you somehow find yourself down 21-2 early or needing some big buckets to stanch the bleeding late.
Joel: It's really hard to judge anything from a game when you're basically dead and buried six minutes in. Picking this one up against Seton Hall would be huge. Realistically speaking, we have to step up big time when Tre gets back. I think the committee will give us some leeway with these losses, but only if we get rolling again with Tre back. His threat makes everyone better, no question.
The question is where does the blame for this lie. Is it Coach Mack’s fault? After all, he’s the one that can tell them to feed the post, slow the offense, or please, for the love of everything holy, stop trying wrong footed left hand scoop shots. Is It Goodin’s fault? He is, after all, the point guard who is very good at distributing the ball who then kills possessions by shooting himself.
As far as Goodin goes, he’s not actually the anchor on the offense he’s been portrayed as. Even in conference play when he’s been on the floor a lot longer, his usage rate is only 18.7%, and his shots % trails everyone other than Bernard. It’s only because he’s mired in such an incredible shooting slump that it seems as if he is shooting an inordinate amount.
Joel: I don't think we're bubble bound just yet, but I'd like to win three more before the Big East tournament. We do that and I think we're safe... right?
Brad: I'm not sure we didn't just use up a lot of that leeway. It's not just that we lost without Tre, we got beaten by a pretty mediocre Providence team and then hammered by Marquette. I think we're now in the spot where winning the remaining games except Butler is a must to stay off the bubble. Drop even one of them and it is time to scoreboard watch.
And this brings us to the topic of the day. Xavier is barely above the bubble now. As long as they keep winning, there’s no need to look over the shoulder at the gaining herd. The instant that Xavier drops a game that isn’t Butler, it’s Bubble Watch time. As far as seeding goes, X has dropped into that 7-10 gap that no team wants to land in. In order to avoid one of those four seeds, they probably need at least 3-1 to close the season and then a win in the Big East tournament. At this point, getting in may be starting to take precedence over seeding talk.
And that’s not where any of us thought we’d be.