clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What you should, and shouldn't, be freaking out about

Xavier has sent alarm bells clanging everywhere, which are actually worth answering?

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Marquette
Poor shot selection
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This season is collapsing in on itself. That's not really debatable at this point. Xavier is 1-4 in the Big East, 56th in KenPom, 63rd in Bart Torvik, 69th (not nice) in NET, and riding 1.5% chance of making the tournament. There are problems, and plenty of them, but there are also things being talked about that aren't really issues.

Problem: KyKy Tandy and point guard

Quentin Goodin is not doing well. His ORtg for the year is 85.1, he's shooting 25% behind the arc, 39% inside it, and 62% from the line. He's 2-29 from the floor since Villanova and zero for his last 20 behind the arc. This is bad. Even his 23.9% assist rate no longer makes up for the volume of shots he is taking and missing.

You know who is playing offense worse? KyKy Tandy. Tandy's ORtg is 83.1 for the season. He's shooting much better than Q behind the arc, but 17.6% inside it. He's shot three free throws on the season. His true shooting is 41.6%, essentially the same as Q's 41.7%. Tandy, however, brings only a 6.5% assist rate to the game. Xavier's point guard position is problem, but it's because of both them, not just one.

Not a problem: Dante does radio

This is nothing. It's actually less than nothing. Coach Steele has no obligation to do radio, and he's not even the first Xavier coach to hand it off. Mack often sent Steele, Steele now sent Dante. John Calipari doesn't always do his, Thad Matta didn't always do his, no head coach always does every media appearance. Steele still went to the presser. This is a less than nothing story.

Problem: Rebounding.

Tyrique Jones is an elite rebounder. He's seventh in the nation in offensive rebounding rate, 64th in defensive rebounding rate. Following is a full list of other Xavier players in the top 500 in either:

Ok, that's out of the way. Marquette crushed Xavier on the glass last night. The Musketeers are now 202nd nationally in defensive rebounding and 80th in offensive rebounding. That offensive rebounding number comes mostly from Tyrique, who can’t carry all the weight on the defensive end. Xavier is a bad rebounding team and the last three games have seen that exposed.

Problem: Offense in general

The last time Xavier scored 1.1 points per possession was against Green Bay on December 4th. The last time they were over a point per possession at all was the Western Carolina game on December 18th. Since then the offense has sputtered down to 91st in the nation. Last season the Musketeers finished 56th in the nation with an offense that was frequently frustrating. This group is far worse than that. If Coach Steele is the offensive mind he was said to be it isn’t readily evident.

Not a problem: Paul Scruggs

No matter what is happening around him, Scruggs is getting after it. He’s Xavier’s best three point shooter and best two point shooter and is nearing the top 100 in the nation in effective field goal percentage. Scruggs gets to the line and finishes well there. Paul isn’t a point guard, but he does everything else from a guard that you could possibly want. The season is slipping away, but it isn’t because Paul Scruggs isn’t fighting for every second he is out there.

Not a problem: Team effort

With 30 seconds left and the Musketeers down 20 last night, they were still pressing hard. KyKy Tandy and Paul Scruggs executed a half court trap and forced a bad pass. Did it matter in the game? Of course not, but it showed that the team hadn’t packed it in. There was a lapse in effort at the start of the second half during the 15-0 run, but Coach Steele corrected that quickly. Contrary to what your Little League coach told you, effort and wanting it more don’t actually win games, talent does that. Xavier demonstrated that last night by getting destroyed despite trying their level best right to the end.

We aren’t hear to gatekeep frustration. If you want to be upset about everything, that’s perfectly fine. If you only have limited energy to dedicate to being mad, though, focus on the things Xavier is doing poorly that actually matter.