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Xavier lost back-to-back games by not knowing who they are on offense

If you’re good at something, definitely keep doing that thing.

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

Xavier is 127th in the nation in 3P%. Xavier is 10th in the Big East in 3P%. Xavier is not a very good jump shooting team.

How do you score if you can’t shoot jumpers? How about shooting layups and dunks?

That would stand to reason, and Xavier has had huge amounts of success doing it. In their last two games - both losses - Xavier shot 26-39 (66.7%) on layups and dunks. That’s pretty dang good, but just a hair better than Xavier’s 64.5% mark at the rim on the year.

The problem is that Xavier continues to insist on shooting jump shots, and they continue to be horrible at them. In those two losses, Xavier shot 26-83 (31.3%) on jumpers. In both games, the Muskies settled for jump shots early in the shot clock rather than demonstrating the requisite patience on offense that leads to better looks.

The problem here isn’t necessarily just one of numbers. Xavier has taken about 47.7% of their shots from at the rim on the season; that number has waned to 31.9% in the last two games. Some of that is credit to the defense that Xavier has played, but some of it has clearly been Xavier settling for jumpers early in the shot clock rather than feeding the ball to areas in which the offense is dangerous.

The other elephant in the room is Trevon Bluiett’s play. When Tre is going well, jumpers from him are a good thing. In the past two games, he’s just 6-21 (28.6%) on jump shots.

Xavier hasn’t been hitting jumpers lately, but they’ve been shooting more of them than they have at any point this season during the recent two-game losing streak. Unless Tre suddenly snaps back into form, Xavier can choose between forcing the ball inside - where Seankerique O’Jonter is 25-38 (65.7%) in the last two games - or continuing to struggle on the offensive end.