You can be forgiven if you’d like to leave portions of 2017 in the past. To put it mildly, the political scene of America was hewn in two, protest became a de rigueur part of life, and an Indians team that won 22 straight games somehow couldn’t win one in three tries when it mattered. Whether on the macro or micro level 2017 wasn’t a good one for you, there was one shining bright spot: The Xavier Musketeers.
Xavier dumped six straight in conference play but, in vintage Xavier fashion, rallied when it counted and raced to the Elite Eight. Hailed as a Cinderella, the Musketeers were actually a Big East power damaged by injury that managed to overcome that and the losing streak and provide, as they almost always do, one shining moment of 2017 greatness.
1. Xavier loses with class, John Calipari does not.
And the biggest story of the year comes from that run. When Xavier finally lost, they bowed out with all the class the program is rapidly becoming known for. When John Calipari and UK had the same chance, well, their lack of class was gratuitous.
2. JP Macura, Wisconsin, and class.
This class thing seems to be a running theme. When Wisconsin taunted JP all game long, they left themselves open to retribution if Xavier won. When the Musketeers roared back down the stretch, their elite provocateur rose to the occasion.
3. Xavier ends 2017 loaded for 2018.
It hard to get excited about next season
if you are a Cleveland Browns fan right at the end of the season before it. Joel was excited, apparently for good reason, for this season though, and it wasn’t long after Xavier lost to Gonzaga that we were looking ahead.
4. Our early thoughts on the Arizona matchup
While literally every major media outlet focused on the Sean Miller v. Chris Mack matchup, it was the actual action on the court that would determine who advanced. At first blush, the Wildcats were an imposing matchup.
5. It can’t all be good news.
You can be forgiven if you’ve forgotten about this, as it hasn’t really been mentioned since games began, but Trevon Bluiett was picked up on marijuana charges in Indiana this summer. That may have triggered a familiar sinking feeling, but nothing serious came of it. if
6. As Kerem Kanter arrives, Brady Ernst leaves.
It’s safe to say that Coach Mack got this one right. Ernst is averaging 2.1/2.4/0.2 in 11 minutes per game for Florida Gulf Coast and has not torched UC at all this year.
You guys love recruiting, so we write about it. Once again, Xavier had a great class, though it now looks like Naji Marshall was the centerpiece of it and Elias Harden may have some way to go.
8. Replacing Edmond Sumner.
Replacing Ed isn’t going to be easy, though Q is having an amazing year thus far. In an attempt to shore up the point guard spot, Coach Mack went after Michael Weathers. Weathers evidently didn’t prefer top five teams in the country, and landed elsewhere. An Al Freeman article slots in here nicely as well.
9. Evan Boudreaux joins the squad.
There’s no time like the present for making next year’s team better, and Coach Mack is already on to that even as Big East play gets going.
10. Trevon Bluiett cried when Xavier lost, but he gave fans a great ride.
“Alone, in the corner, he came to grips with the fact the dream had died. That’s not the way to remember this run though. Instead remember that, for two weeks on an injured leg, Trevon Bluiett played the kind of basketball that makes this the dream.”