Xavier allowed 65 second half points last night and 90 overall. That is, by pretty much any measure, horrible. Xavier also won that game by 12 points and was only briefly in danger before killing off a Seton Hall rally with a dagger of a three pointer from JP Macura. To comfortably win a game in which you allow 1.17 points per possession and surrender 29 three point attempts is basically unheard of. It’s possible because Xavier’s offense is the best it has ever been.**
The data on hand stretches back to Thad Matta’s years in charge and, therefore, contains all of Xavier’s Elite Eight teams. Currently Xavier sports an offensive efficiency of 121.5. That’s solidly four points higher than they have ever managed before and stands sixth in the nation, the highest mark the team has ever held. (Don’t scan over to look at the defense). At no point has Xavier even come close to approaching this level of offensive excellence.
The previous best offensive teams came under Sean Miller nearly a decade ago. The first of those teams
got cheated out of the lost in the second round to Ohio State, the second, in his penultimate year lost to UCLA in the Elite Eight. Both of those squads tied for the previous best ever in X history, at 117.3 in offensive efficiency. One was 12th, one was 8th. That 117.3 would be 19th this year, and Xavier’s 121.5 this season would have led either of those.
It’s not just the advanced metrics that tell the story, either. No Xavier team in history has ever shot better than the 56.9% the Musketeers are posting inside the arc this season. That includes teams that featured David West, Matt Stainbrook, Anthony Myles, Jalen Reynolds, and James Farr. None of those teams were as simply proficient at putting the ball in the basket. No team from Xavier has shot better than the 77.3% the Musketeers are shooting from the line. If EFG% is your thing, this iteration of the Musketeers is the best ever at that as well.
All of that adds up to a team that can just flat out gun its way out of serious defensive lapses. Allowing 65 in a half is never, ever, a good thing. Having the firepower to still win that game, and win it going away, is a very nice tool in the tool box.
** This with the caveat that I cannot find the efficiency data from the Gary Lumpkin/Lenny Brown/Darnell Williams teams.