Xavier is 1-0, an undefeated juggernaut in the Steele Era. There is no outcome more favorable than the one they’ve garnered in every contest this year, but there are still some members of the fan base that aren’t buying tickets to the Final Four just yet. There are some problems in the young season, and Quentin Goodin is the solution to all of them.
The offense was steamed garbage against a zone
When IUPUI went into the zone, Xavier promptly stopped scoring the basketball. Because there were no other types of ball in play, Xavier stopped scoring entirely. Without a barrage of bombs from Ryan Welage (#WellyBombs), the Muskies might have ended up on the wrong end of this one.
There were a lot of things that went into Xavier’s stagnation, but the most glaring problem was the lack of a point guard. Without anyone directing traffic, the ball rarely entered the high post and was basically never dangerous. Q can get the ball up the floor before the defense reacts or get the team in position if the opponent is already set. Problem solved.
People other than Ryan Welage shot miserably
Take out the Jesuit Jimmy Chitwood and Xavier is 3-16 from beyond the arc and 3-11 on two-point jumpers. My analysts inform me that both of those numbers are miserable. You’re not going to win a ton of games with a 6-27 mark on things that aren’t layups or dunks, and at some point someone is going to guard Welage harded than the Jags did.
Q solves this in a couple of ways. First off, the man himself shot 39.5% from long range in conference play last year. He might not be a touch and shoot sniper, but he can’t be left alone at the arc, either. Further, he’s a solid ball distributor who collapses defenses and gets people shots where they prefer them. Concomitant to that, he pushes everyone down a slot. Naj and Scruggernuts spend less time on the ball and more time finding space on the floor, and teams have to shuffle a bigger man towards the business end of Welage’s formidable offensive arsenal. Problem solved.
Ball security was questionable
Naji Marshall acquitted okay well here, dishing out 7 assists and posting a modest 16.9% TO rate, but he still passed to the wrong team 3 times (and ended another 9 possessions on missed shots). Our friend Paul Scruggs served up 4 turnovers for a TO rate somewhere north of 50%. Those are not great numbers from the two guys you have handling the ball for most of the game.
Quentin Goodin is a fire-tested point guard. He was good last year and should be even better this season. The smart money has his assist and turnover numbers continuing to improve, and his presence will let guys who aren’t pure point guards move to more natural positions. Problem solved.
Q gave it a run in practice today. If he’s healthy Saturday, expect the Muskies to look a good deal sharper against Evansville.