For first time since 2013, Xavier has lost four games in a row. Two weeks ago, they had a chance to take the top spot in the Big East with a win against Villanova. Now, they are fighting to keep their heads above water and regroup for the postseason- whatever it may be.
The offense is well and truly sputtering
Xavier has now gone four straight games without garnering a point per possession. Over the course of those four games, Malcolm Bernard and Quentin Goodin have started every game and scored 15 points apiece. Both players have positive attributes that they bring to the table, and are very productive members of the rotation, but Xavier's balanced attack from earlier in the season is gone as teams can now key in on JP Macura, Trevon Bluiett (when healthy), and whoever of Jones, O'Mara, Gaston, and Gates (if any) are contributing. The turnovers and horrid outside shooting that have plagues X all year are still taking their toll, but when opponents can start to count on certain guys not hurting them with baskets, everything becomes harder.
It is time to scoreboard watch
Just five years ago, Xavier playing themselves onto the upper part of the bubble was cause for excitement and positivity around these parts. Now it is a sign of a season that has gone sideways and a fate that was almost unthinkable at the start of the year. We have rehashed the things that habe gone against Xavier this season, and surely will again once it is over, but the state of affairs is that they are still needing wins to secure a bid in the NCAA Tournament. Teams around them in the conversation losing won't hurt, but our Musketeers still have work to do to fill out a resume worthy of the sport's premier event.
There is still time to salvage the season
Hey fan, does watching your team dump four straight (again) and not look particularly good doing it have you down in the dumps? Never fear! Within the next week Xavier will host Butler and Marquette, two teams that give them a chance at a resume boosting win without having to leave campus! I am using a lot of exclamation points to make things seem rosier than they really are, but there are some reasons for optimism. Trevon Bluiett is on his way back to 100% and... Ok there is only the one reason, but Tre had been a man on mission before he went down, and gives Xavier a puncher's chance against just about anybody if he gets hot in front of his adoring Cintas Center public. It might look bleak now (because it is), but the sun may peek out from behind those clouds yet.