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Water Cooler Takes: On to the next

There were some positives from last night’s win, but one bad omen bears watching with Nova on the horizon.

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Watching Xavier play DePaul is never fun. The game will almost certainly feature moments when the Musketeers look as if they are aware that this game is beneath them and are playing it merely because they have to. With one foot already in the preparation for Villanova on Saturday, this game was no different. Xavier ultimately won by 11, but the crisp play that had been featured in their two latest wins was hard to find.

One more test passed

Quentin Goodin only played 29 minutes last night, but he still racked up another eight assists. Against a team that pressures the ball and turned his teammates over 17 times, Xavier’s new primary ballhandler only had two turnovers. 2-6 from the floor won’t win many plaudits, but Goodin recognized that and found the guys who were shooting well. The big test looms, but Q passed this one with flying colors.

Xavier devoured rebounds

DePaul isn’t very good at anything regarding basketball. (Well, unlike Saint Louis, they did get to and from the game ok). That inability to execute was most notable when it came to rebounding. Xavier demolished the Blue Demons on the glass. Rebound margin is a fool’s errand, but Xavier snagged 15 more boards in this game. X grabbed 48% of their own misses and 75% of DePaul’s. With so many possessions thrown away with turnovers it was vital that Xavier didn’t give away more easy second chances points. They certainly didn’t.

A bad omen

Villanova’s defense isn’t quite as turnover aggressive as DePaul’s usually, but you can bet that after seeing this game film Jay Wright will have his team coming after the ball. Quentin Goodin did well, but his backups were appalling with the ball. JP Macura shot and rebounded well, but turned the ball over five times. Malcolm Bernard was 3-4 from behind the arc, but he coughed the ball up four times. It was good that Goodin only played 29 minutes (even if that was foul inflicted), but his replacements have to take better care of the ball.

Ending possessions!

He’s not of the house of Hohenzollern, but Kaiser Gates is living up to his first name when it comes to dominating the defensive glass recently. Against DePaul he pulled in eight defensive rebounds (twice as many as any of his teammates) and came up with two steals. That’s ten possessions he snuffed out on his own. For a guy who had somnambulated through the season through the Shootout, Gates has come storming back since Sumner’s injury. His efforts were a large part of Xavier’s 75% defensive rebounding rate.