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Sunday conversation covers the Big East from Villanova to Chris Mullin

That’s as top to bottom as you can go.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Georgetown
I have as many Big East wins this year as Mullin does.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Joel

Okay, weekend off, let’s talk Big East. First item on the agenda: how bad is St. John’s? They laid an absolute egg against Butler today, scoring 45 points in 66 possessions. Two questions about this: will they win a Big East game this year? Will Chris Mullin be back next year?

Bryan

I am going with no and yes, respectively. I don’t see them going on the road and beating DePaul, which is their only realistic shot the rest of the way. Their easiest remaining home game is Marquette, who I think is going to annihilate them from deep. That being said, the rebuilding of the roster Mullin inherited was always going to be more than a 2 year process for pretty much any coach St. John’s can attract. Do I think he has done a good job? No. But think you have to afford most anyone more than 2 years in that situation. I fully expect to be having a similar conversation next year and falling on the other side of it.

Also, I get that this is his 3rd year of coaching, I was thinking more of full recruiting cycles.

Brad

When St. John’s named Mullin we were pretty early in calling it a bad idea. Three years later, the only thing that has changed is that it is a failure as opposed to being an impending failure. Yeah, he’s brought some talent in, but they haven’t done anything more than just an assemblage of talent should do. There’s no evidence of coaching at all.

This year they are 0-10 in conference. They’ve not won a Big East game since last Feb 25th. That year they piled up all of two top 50 KenPom wins. This year, they have none. If Mullin is back next year, it’s solely down to legacy, because he’s a miserable coach.

Joel

I’ve watched about as much St. John’s basketball as you’d expect from a conference foe, and I can’t say as I’ve seen a lot of things I could attribute to coaching. Their offense consists of throwing it to the most talented guy and having him try to go get a bucket. Their defense is active but has the cohesion of five dudes who just met each other at an open run. I wonder what their practices look like.

It’s also worth noting that, while we all kind of agree that they suck, they’re 90th in the KenPom. Our old conference has 11 teams worse than that. That shouldn’t spare Mullin’s job, but it illustrates how far X jumped.

Brad

The Jay Bilas stuff on our Twitter got me wondering: which announcer who do you most hate to have on the game you are watching? While Jordan Cornette and Donny Marshall deserve special note for failing to prepare, and Bilas’ general arrogance is off-putting, it has to be Bill Raftery for me. It’s been 20 years since he’s actually contributed analysis and he just keeps shoehorning in catchphrases at every possible chance. I hate muting Gus Johnson, but Raftery almost makes it necessary.

Bryan

I am gonna go the other way here. Raftery has a shtick that is pretty annoying, but at least it usually has something to do with the game. Marshall on the other watches the game secondarily while droning on about his playing playing career. At least Raf actually coached the game and understands it at some level. Marshall is David West-lite and never has anything enlightening to say. Send him to be a crap announcer in the crap conference where his crap school now plays.

Also, Jay Bilas is ridiculously smug for someone who knows as little as he does.

Brad

On the other hand, I caught a game with Adrian Branch last night and not only did he reference all-time gunner legend Eddie House, he had spot in analysis of the little things in the game. For instance, he took about 30 seconds and demonstrated how the way Shannon Evans was catching the ball was impacting his release. That’s what a good color guy does.

Joel

One of my top announcer pet peeves is when they treat every play as a referendum on basketball. If a guy pulls from a mile out, it’s not because he wanted a heat check or was feeling himself a bit, it’s because kids are watching too much Steph Curry. If a executes something, it’s not just his making a good play, it’s that what makes him so special is that he’ll take an uncontested layup on his strong hand rather than trying to a highlight reel reverse.

Most plays are just plays, not reflections of the state of the game at large. When announcers try to make every dang play into something bigger, it drives me nuts. The later you stay up - and I’ve been staying up pretty late here recently - the more likely you are to run into one of those dudes. Just let the game play out and give me the occasional tidbit on footwork or whatever.

Jarring segue: Xavier is behind Nova on percentage points but has one more loss in conference play. X also gets to host Nova yet in conference play. Who wins the Big East, and by how many games?

Bryan

I still think it is Nova’s to lose. The only thing that has derailed them this year is an all time great shooting performance from a Butler team that hasn’t matched it before or since. We still have a pretty daunting trip to Omaha and have to go play in that decrepit old barn in Indy. If we get through that stretch unscathed, I think we have a chance since Nova still has to go to Creighton and Seton Hall after they play us, but until someone can beat them with anything other than sublime luck, I can’t look past them as favorites to win. I think they end up winning it at 15-1 with us in second at 13-5.

Joel

They’re just going to skip those last two games?

Bryan

Yup. Forfiets.

Joel

Gonna make this an uphill struggle for X.

Bryan

Well nobody’s out here trying to do X any favors.