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Opinion: maybe it’s not time to give up on Xavier’s season just yet

Fix Trevon, save the season.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Villanova
Coach Mack wants you to not give up yet.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier, you may have heard, has been steamed garbage during conference play this year.

Everybody and his mom has probably at this point reminded you that Xavier has never gone undefeated and that good seasons can include losing streaks as well as winning ones. That’s not what this is about. What it is about is what needs to change to get Xavier back on track.

In the above piece by Rob Dauster, the author points out that Trevon Bluiett is in a shooting slump. Coach Mack is quoted as saying that Tre is healthy, and Dauster points out that this isn’t the first time Xavier’s senior star has gone through a bit of a shooting slump.

Before we go any farther, how about a table from a spreadsheet? What you’ll be looking at here is the lines of every Xavier rotation player in Xavier’s three losses.

Tre 11.3 4.0 3.0 .343 .333 .308
JP 12.3 4.7 3.0 .419 .267 .875
Sean 4.3 2.3 0.7 .556 .600
Kerem 17.3 6.7 1.0 .786 .000 .727
Kaiser 4.0 1.3 0.3 .364 .364
Tyrique 8.3 4.0 0.0 .625 .833
Q 4.7 3.7 4.3 .217 .400 1.000
Naji 8.0 3.7 0.7 .471 .000 .889
Scruggernuts 4.0 1.7 0.7 .600 .000 1.000

Basically two lines illustrate Xavier’s problem. The first is Tre’s, which is miserable. That shooting line illustrates just how much he has struggled in Xavier’s losses; the fact that he’s 4-13 from the line kind of lends credence to Coach Mack’s assertion that his issues are mental. On the other hand, it also fuels the speculation that he might be hurt.

The other line is Q’s. Like Tre, he has been doodoo in The Muskies’ losses. What’s worse is that, in these games that he’s been shooting so poorly, he’s averaging two more shot attempts than he does in Xavier’s wins. When Trevon isn’t getting buckets, Q is trying to compensate, and it’s going pretty badly.

The bottom line - unless you think Kerem playing better means Xavier will lose - is that the Muskies go as Tre goes. That leaves only two positions for a fan to take: either Trevon is banged up and X needs to either sit him until he’s healthy or come to grips with the idea that the season is scuttled, or Tre is slumping and X will become a buzzsaw when he clicks back in.

It’s worth noting the Tre shoots .477/.430/.909 at home this year, and Xavier’s next two games are at Cintas. If Tre is just slumping, watch for him to drop big numbers and make everything right again over the next five days. If that doesn’t happen, let’s check back and reassess the propriety of a full-blown freakout.