Xavier came into this game with a 2-0 mark and a plethora of questions about their ability to contend with the better teams on their schedule. In a way, the questions were answered tonight, although not in a way that will likely be pleasing to X fans.
# This team has to improve on defense
Xavier made a tremendous effort to get themselves back into the game before halftime, but undid much of their own good work by surrendering 28 points in the first 15 possesions of the second frame to put the game firmly in Wisconsin's control. As X battled late into the game, the defense tightened up a bit, but could not get stops consistently enough to ever truly get back into the contest.
# Hankins is an asset even without blocking shots
Zach Hankins came into this game having blocked shots at a prodigious rate in the first two contests. In the first half tonight, he kept Wisconsin's All-American Ethan Happ well in check by using his 6'11" frame and walling up every time the big man posted on him. It worked a treat in the first 20 minutes, but by the time Hankins saw the floor in the second half, the game was well and truly gone, with Happ having done his damage in the early going.
# There is no quit in this squad
At one point Xavier trailed by 18 points and looked for all the world like a beaten force. At that point the players dug deep, ground out some better possessions, and got the game back to being at least respectable. In the end, losing a game still counts, but losing in a manner where you at least continue to fight leaves a better taste in the mouth,