Brad: Another week, another gut punch. You’d expect a program like Xavier to win on the road in Missouri, instead we got completely boat raced. We then came home and somehow allowed Detroit Mercy to be within four with ten to play.
Joel: To me, Missouri was the last litmus test. There’s nothing X could have done against Detroit to make me feel good about the team. Missou was at least a chance to get a decent win on the road. Instead we got run out of the gym in basically the span between media timeouts and never recovered. That tells me this could be a long Big East season. I’m just not seeing the foundation for a dramatic shift in performance, which is what we need at this point.
Brad: No, if X beats Detroit by 40 we all kind of just assume that’s what should happen. Instead we get another EKU like stagger to a win that looks more convincing that it was. We accused the team last year of occasionally sleep walking to a win, confident that talent would out. This team doesn’t do that. Even against two genuinely bad teams it has looked like a scrap. That doesn’t augur well for the Marquette’s of the world.
Joel: Marquette worries me. They have about 3 dudes who I could see dropping 40 on X. Also, Nova shoots a ton of threes, Butker shoots 38% as a team, Creighton shoots almost 43% as a team, St. John’s hasn’t played anyone but shoots over 40% as a team, Providence shoots 39%... you have to get down to Seton Hall to get to a team I’m not convinced is going to make it rain on us. Georgetown is okay and DePaul sucks from behind the arc.
What I’m saying is, something needs to change in a hurry, or more than half the Big East is going to have us circled on the calendar twice. You have to be able to defend the arc to win in this league, and we don’t.
Mary: What’s overwhelmingly frustrating to me is that at times, and it’s not very often, we move the ball around, get open looks, and it appears that there might be some semblance of an offense. I looked at my dad the other night at the game and it’s like wow, why don’t we do that more often? Of course, we really don’t have any capable shooters so we miss those open looks more often than not, but still, if that’s what this whole season was, I could live with it - you know, taking good shots but they just don’t fall. However we all know that that is not what usually happens. Our shot selection is so ridiculous. Then you also have to look out how often we turn over the ball. It’s really, really hard to watch. For that Detroit Mercy game to be that close, for that long, is wildly troubling.
Bryan: The shot selection is maddening for sure, and I think it is a symptom of what is really troubling about this team. This team just does not play smart basketball. We do not do the things we are good at very often, and we do the things we suck at all the dang time. For years we have watched Xavier teams outperform their talent level because they could play intelligently, so it is confusing to watch a team so vastly underperform by doing the opposite.
Combine that with the fact that this team seemed to completely give up against UC and Mizzou and you have a couple of trends that are pretty new, although unpleasant, for Xavier fans.
Brad: You guys both hit on why this team is frustrating right now. It’s not just the not having the talent to compete, though I don’t think we do, it’s that we don’t do the things to maximize the talent we do have. This team needs to pound the ball inside and cut off a high post. Instead, we run an offense suited to last year’s team but without the pro level talent at every position.
Mary: We have to do something different, because at this point, there is absolutely nothing to lose. I think playing Jones and Hankins together is a worthy place to start. We need to slow games down, especially since ball security for us is such an issue. Next, and although I don’t love this idea, we need to play more zone. It might be the only way to actually steal some games. If those things don’t work, or even help a little, then this might be more hopeless than I already thought...