The season, Xavier fans have been quick and persistent in informing me on Twitter - isn't going to plan. The offensive genius the team hired to replace Chris Mack has been hanging the team's success on defensive production. Our pass-first point guard has the temerity to shoot. Our other guard doesn't take over like he should. Our star wing isn't able to dribble drive. The post guys don't get enough touches or do enough with them. The last time this much depression was associated with the freshmen, Verve Pipe was involved.
These are not my editorial positions, these are just the facts that my fellow fans have explained to me.
Weirldy, instead of folding the program, the team has decided to continue playing. What's a fan to do?
Well, keep watching, for one. From sometime very early in the spring to sometime in the middle of the fall, college basketball is not an option for the Xavier fan, so get it while the getting is good.
Beyond that, dig in. The team isn't going to give up on the year because of a 1-3 start in conference play. Xavier has 12 wins right now; last year, they picked up their 12th win on February 13th, and that was a game they trailed by 5 with a minute to go. Somehow, they found a way to make the tail end of the year entertaining.
The games will keep coming and Xavier will continue to battle for every advantage. As disappointing as losing the last two home games on late 8-0 and 14-5 runs has been, the margins between being 1-3 and 4-0 have been fairly fine at points. Six possessions before it was clear Xavier was going to lose to Creighton by double digits, the Muskies had a 50-50 shot at winning the game. I still have faith they'll fix the execution errors that have plagued them and find a way to finish games.
A word of support - or, alternatively, complete silence - on social media wouldn't be unwarranted. These are 18-22 year old dudes trying their best. They don't mean to miss those threes, have those defensive lapses, underperform your expectations. They have instructions from the coaching staff based on scouting reports and other information we aren't privy to. Should a guy pull when you don't think he should, consider that maybe he was told to. Should a guy spend the last 14 minutes of the game on the bench, maybe consider him sufficiently reprimanded.
Being a fan doesn't mean blindly endorsing everything a team does. There are valid frustrations with how Xavier is playing right now. There's also the potential that the turnaround most of us are hoping for never comes. The season isn't dead and buried just yet, though, and the team is going to keep playing games with an eye toward winning them. The beauty of the Big East is that X has at least 15 big opportunities left on the schedule. There's no reason not to rage against the dying of the light and see where we are come Selection Sunday.