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Sunday Conversation loved a two win week

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Xavier has found something of a stride after a six game losing streak.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Brad: Wow. That was just a ton of fun. Tyrique Jones dominated that game inside to the point that Friars were ducking when he caught the ball. Someone tweeted about hating to still care so much, but those two hours made it worth it.

Bryan: What a beat down. I gotta shout out our most faithful reader for the second half he had. He was knocking down shots and getting into the lane and making great decisions in the half court, which is what we were missing in the first half. After that TO to start the half, he hardly put a foot wrong.

Joel: That was the hit that will keep me chasing the high for another six weeks. There’s no Narcan for what’s wrong with me. Now I’m thinking we can go into Seton Hall and get them and eyeing a statement win against Nova at home. I need help, but I don’t want it.

Here’s another thing: their defense for the second half was apparently to allow as many dunks as possible, and they never made an effective adjustment. They’re one of the best defensive teams in the league, and Steele took them apart. In the mid-week fixture, he put the entirety of Creighton - one of the best offensive teams in the league - on Revis Island while the offense demonstrated the very definition of doing just enough. Is he growing up before our eyes?

Brad: What amazed me was how butter soft Providence is. Once they got hit, they quit. Cooley looked clueless, Alpha Diallo may have been abducted, and only two Friars made more than two shots. They completely capitulated at home.

Steele has been excellent this week. When Cooley tried that shell pressure, he ran Tyrique to the middle of the floor and Naji weakside and pulled it apart. It’s a simple adjustment, but how many times do you see coaches miss it? Until that last two minute free for all when someone turned down the fouls slider, Providence was helpless. This is a 20-25 point game if it is officiated well.

Bryan: I think that is very well part of it, especially the progress we saw on the defensive end this week. The Creighton performance had a lot to do with that, but I think today Cooley made it pretty easy on him.

We scored 6 points out of the half and he responded by taking out his best 5 and replacing them with a group that had no scorers or anyone who could stem the tide in the post. Kudos to Coach Steele for lighting a fire and getting the team to start executing, but Cooley never made a move to actually stop what we were doing until we had done it for about 15 minutes.

Joel: Rum Tum Scruggernuts dropped 50 in the last three games of January. He has gone for 27 in four games in February and has thrown in 16 turnovers to go with it. Are we concerned? Concomitant to that, I think Eli Harden has a place on this team, and I think Coach Steele is getting closer to figuring out exactly what it is. He’s a high energy dude.

Bryan: I think with Scruggs, it is just a bit of a dip. The turnovers are the bigger concern for me. Naji has been carrying the scoring load the last few things, but ball security is something that has been our Achilles heel late in games.

Brad: I think Scruggs is getting tired. For long stretches of the season he was carrying the team. Thats going to show eventually. By the same token, I think he was the right call over Eli Harden in the second half today. We needed our big body guards more, and Eli is slight. I’m hopeful he’s coming back into rotation now. The three he hit was right straight in some dude’s face, too.

Joel: Well, we need Scruggs to find his legs again in a hurry. This team has shown it can punch with anyone, but it has also shown that its margin for error is incredibly small. If we don’t have all hands on deck, we can get run off the floor in a hurry or cough up a good lead. We have to hit our best stride every time out. Providence was a good start; Seton Hall would be a thing.