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Xavier holds Providence at bay to clinch the Big East championship at Cintas

The Musketeers made it like work sometimes, but a Senior Day win gives them the league.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

With Cintas overflowing with Senior Night emotion and (a share of) the Big East championship within reach, the Musketeers took care of business against Providence. The recap will come shortly, but here are some quick takeaways with March just a couple of hours away.

This offense is ready for the big dance

Even with a combined 12 points from JP and Naji and an off night from Paul Scruggs, Xavier poured home 84 points in 67 possessions. X only hit 5 threes, but they were 23-42 from inside the arc and merciless on the offensive boards, grabbing a staggering 53% of their own misses. We’ve said often that this team can beat you in a lot of ways and from a lot of spots, but tonight showed that it bears repeating.

The defense makes reasonable people nervous

Providence shot over 70% from inside the arc. Only a 3-18 performance from deep and a TO% of 25.4% kept the Friars from ruining the evening for Xavier. That Providence offense wasn’t in the top 100 in the nation coming into the night and it put up a lot of points against the Muskies’ defense. You’d hope Coach Mack can pull some strings in the tournament; he’s going to need to for this group to see the third weekend.

It’s good to be the kings

Haters and pedants will tell you that this clinched a share of the title and that the Muskies aren’t champs until and unless they win on Saturday. I’m with the guys who were climbing the ladder with scissors tonight.