Xavier’s offense this year is the only thing really holding it back. The Musketeers have the 20th most efficient defense in the nation and are 18th in opponent’s effective field goal percentage. (Somewhat shockingly, that’s only good enough for the third best defense in the conference). Offensively, though, the Musketeers are rather poor for a high major contender. As it stands the Musketeers are possessed of the 67th most efficient offense and come 173rd in effective field goal percentage. The solution to that may come from an unexpected place.
Quentin Goodin is shooting 30.2% behind the arc this year. That’s fourth on the team for anyone with appreciable numbers (sorry, Zach Freemantle) and it’s not exactly a glittering number. Despite that, Q needs to keep shooting the ball. Xavier’s offense is predicated on spacing the floor to leave room for the post and for ballhandlers to do their work. Fans have noted this year that it seems like the offense stagnates as guards work the dribble. That’s happening because the defense has sagged in, taking away the post entry and lanes to attack off the dribble.
There are two ways to solve that problem. The first is quick perimeter ball rotation. KyKy Tandy was the benficiary of this against St. John’s. The second is quick release shots off a single pass. Both of these require willing shooters. If the ball lands in the hands of someone who isn’t a threat from deep, the defense has no reason to contest the shot and therefore no reason to open up passing and driving lanes. Villanova did this to great affect against Creighton last night, hugging tight to threats and watching as Denzel Mahoney and Shereef Mitchell held the ball on the perimeter.
So Quentin Goodin has to keep shooting. Xavier has only lost once this year when Q has made two or more three pointers. His being a threat on the perimeter opens up the entire offense and gives Naji Marshall, Tyrique Jones, and Paul Scruggs room to work. For the actions the Musketeers run to work, Q has to shoot. So when Q lifts tonight, regardless of the outcome, remember Xavier needs that to happen for their offense to work.