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A Saturday without Xavier

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Maybe a break is good for everyone

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

There are precious few college basketball games on the calendar. Unlike the drudging march of the NBA, college basketball doesn't span eight months. You get from November into March, and that's it. If this is your favorite sport, your dosage of it is low. Cold days, colder nights, and ice everywhere is mitigated in those months by the almost forced excitement a fleeting season brings.

And I'm glad Xavier isn't participating today. The Musketeers are in a bad slide right now. They are playing bad offense, bad defense, and would probably be playing bad special teams if they could. The coaching is poor, execution is poor, and the season expectations have drastically and suddenly changed. Because of that, watching the team is an exercise in frustration, not joy, right now. Even you enjoyed watch Xavier on Wednesday may I suggest that the services of a dominatrix may not be far from your purvey.

But the season isn't over. The team is taking a deep breath and recalibrating. If you believe Travis Steele and don't think he lapsed into regrettable coach speak, everything is up for change. One can hardly see Paul Scruggs or Tyrique Jones losing their spot, but it’s entirely plausible the rest of the lineup could change in a week of intensive practice. Steele himself has some changes to make. His team came out flat and surrendered the game early in the second half against Marquette and has been routinely getting scorched by big runs. The defense, once so solid, has collapsed in on itself completely. Both of those are things that could be addressed with coaching.

Finally, Xavier not playing doesn’t mean there isn’t college basketball to watch. The Big East is in action today and an intriguing, albeit completely Xavier-less, race is developing. Our Big East Breakdown podcast has a look at a conference bereft of one of its big guns but still easily ranked third in the nation.