WELL JUST GO AHEAD AND CANCEL THE REST OF THE BLOODY SEASON!
Oh sorry, you’ve just caught me coming in from Twitter where I’ve learned that Xavier will likely never win anything ever again, Travis Steele is the worst coach ever, and God’s honest truth, someone thinks Naji Marshall should transfer out right this second. In short, everyone is incredibly riled up and basically no one is interested in talking sense. So let’s just go ahead and cancel the rest of the season and greet the cold, grey embrace of winter with open arms. There’s no point in going on. One loss in one game in December has doomed us all. Hopefully God erases basketball from our collective memories and we can all watching competition canoeing from now on. Because this season is over. Done. Dead. Kaput. Playing out the string, we are. I know this. Twitter told me.
If you spent any time online after Xavier dropped a two point road game to an ACC team ranked in the KenPom top 100 you likely reached the conclusion that Musketeers basketball was at its nadir. In addition to the guy who wants team’s leader in scoring and assists to go away and never come back are those telling all who will listen that this is Xavier’s worst loss in nearly a decade, that Travis Steele was a bad hire, and that this was somehow Quentin Goodin’s fault. Let’s have a look at the big talking points.
The Skip Prosser Classic should be canceled
Wake Forest is not good right now. They are 92nd in the KenPom, a place so deplorable and low that Xavier hasn’t been there since... February 24th of this calendar year. These aren’t Chris Paul’s Demon Deacons anymore, but they also aren’t a pushover. Today’s win made Wake 2-2 in Q2 games, so maybe they aren’t the new Washington Generals. The argument for canceling the series is that beating Wake doesn’t accomplish much and losing to them could be damaging. By that logic, Xavier should only play KenPom top 50 in the non-conference. They won’t, of course, because that isn’t what college basketball teams do. Gonzaga went to Washington, Butler went to Mississippi, Texas Tech went to DePaul. High major schools occasionally travel to take on other decent high majors on the road.
This is a very damaging loss for Xavier
The loss to #136 in the 2015 season kept coming up a rival with the loss to Wake as the worst in Xavier’s recent non-conference schedule. That’s facile. For starters, Xavier had a worse loss that same season to Auburn. You’ll recall crying as the Musketeers bowed out in the CBI that year. No, wait, it says here they nearly beat Arizona in the Sweet 16 despite the resume anchors of losses to #97, #136, #139, and #150 before the first weekend of January. It seems that year, much like this one, the college basketball season didn’t end after Xavier’s first bad loss. The Musketeers also managed the same number of top 60 non-conference wins that year as this. Xavier has also lost road games early in 2017 (Colorado, #72), 2014 (USC, #151), 2012 (Hawaii, #213!), and 2011 (Miami, #188) and still gone on to the tournament.
Travis Steele is in over his head
I don’t know how one measures this, but in his last 22 games Steele is 17-5 and presiding over one of the best defenses in the nation. It’s possible one game referendums are the realm of the categorically uninformed.
Tyrique Jones/Quentin Goodin/[Your punching bag player] cost X the game
Tyrique Jones somehow went 2-10 from the floor. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that is good, it obviously isn’t. He also grabbed seven offensive rebounds, one more than Wake as a team. His 8-12 from the line raised his career average. The rest of the team going 10-15 didn’t help. I’m likewise not going to tell you that 6-15 from Naji is good, but he kept attacking late in the game and finally got going until he fouled out. Once he did, he waved the towel, jumped, and celebrated like a walk on. Everyone’s favorite online whipping boy Quentin Goodin was perfect from the line and went for 9/4/5 with only two turnovers in 34 minutes. Anyone expecting more from him is willfully deluded. Xavier did some things badly today, shoot the ball leaps readily to mind, but no one player doomed the effort. That’s not how basketball works unless you do something crazy like throw the ball in the air with four seconds left in a game you don’t realize is tied, but who would do that?