You don't need to be John Wooden to figure out that Xavier is in a tough spot right now. They're 2-5 in conference, on the wrong side of the bubble, and not looking at a letup in the schedule until November's buy games. The defense that had been their calling card has evaporated over the last month and no offensive surge has surfaced to replace it.
Travis Steele and the staff have to change something, and quick. But what?
Personnel changes are impossible almost on their face. There isn't a trading deadline or anything to make moves on, and - unless you think Dontarius James is the answer - you don't look down the bench and see potential solutions to a myriad of obvious problems. Burning Dieonte Miles's redshirt would be foolish even if he would suddenly provide reliable perimeter scoring. Daniel Ramsey has been healthy enough to play once this year, and he seems more likely to take a medical redshirt than to play in another game.
Like Coach Dale, Coach Steele has his team on the floor.
Rosterbating with the currently available guys doesn't seem like it would be any more productive. Bryce Moore's three threes against Creighton raised his career total in the Big East to three, and it isn't clear that he's entirely healthy right now, either. Inserting Zach Freemantle into the starting lineup has provided a spark - he has played 64 minutes as a starter and gone for 22 and 19 in that time - but he demonstrated in Omaha that his being productive and efficient doesn't paper over the cracks on the roster. Kyky Tandy has been lightning, both in his electrifying performances and that he flickers in and out. So it goes with freshmen.
The only adjustments left are strategic, and those are of questionable value without execution. The team crushed the glass against Creighton but still never had more than a 15% win probability in the last 35 minutes. The early-season ability to force turnovers with a press has gone the way of the dinosaur.
Going big has shored up the glass, but it has come with - whether causitively or coincidentally - much diminished output from Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall. Maybe Q wasn't the problem after all.
Maybe he is the solution though. If Xavier can continue running three bigs and get Q back out there setting the table and getting Paul and Naji performing at their best, you can squint and see a best-of-all-worlds outcome that has Xavier on a tear. It's not a lineup that could run a whole game, and it comes with as many questions as answers, but it is hope.
Beyond that, the solution is simple: Xavier's players need to play better. They need to make their open jumpers, finish around the rim, and stop coughing up huge runs they can't quite come back from. Without improved execution, any strategic roll of the dice is shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.