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Sunday Conversation takes on the pause

Xavier had piled on the momentum, can they hold it through the break?

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Brad: So we’ve probably all been expecting this to happen. Now that Xavier has confirmed that it was a player who tested positive, what is your biggest concern, besides health, for the team going forward? Surely losing the momentum that came from thrashing Oklahoma fresh off the Shootout is worrying.

Braydan: I am concerned for the loss of momentum. I think we’re gonna see a little sloppiness in the first couple games back just from the team not being able to do anything for a couple weeks. I’m very glad that we shut everything down after a positive test and didn’t just carry on like nothing happened. My main concern is that we make too many dumb mistakes and lose a few games that we could have won had we been practicing. Most of all, I just hope all the guys stay healthy and this is nothing more than an inconvenience. Do we know how long the shutdown will actually last? The last news I saw was that it was at least the next two games were postponed.

Bryan: I am honestly not that concerned about what happens after coming back in light of the fact that someone has the virus. I know what all the stats say about the demographic these players fall into, but one need look no further than what happened with Keyonte Johnson yesterday to see that these dudes aren’t invincible and could be susceptible to the virus, which we don’t know had anything to do with Johnson’s case to be clear, or the various complications it can cause.

With how the coaches have handled everything this year has thrown at them from the virus, to roster uncertainty leading into and in fact existing during the beginning of the season, to several of them being locked in a room while a game was starting, I am confident that they will find a way to get the team prepared once they are cleared to play.

Joel: I think we can look at the guys who were out earlier in the season to get some idea of how the team will come out of the break. Adam Kunkel has been okay, CJ Wilcher has struggled to get a little bit of momentum going, and you’d have to say that Colby Jones has hit the ground running. It’s hard to draw too much information from that, though, as we don’t have any data on how those guys perform in high-major ball prior to this year. Judging from what was coming out of the preseason, I’m hopeful that they’ll be able to pick up where they left off.

The timing of the return is going to be important. If Xavier can get back after just missing two games, that would be optimal. That gives X a road trip to DePaul - for Depaul’s season opener! - and a home game with Marquette. There’s the potential that the DePaul game functions as a warmup for a potentially important matchup against the Golden Eagles. The middle of the Big East is going to be a mess this year, and I don’t relish Xavier coming out of the enforced break with a big game against a fellow mid-table team.

Brad: Yeah, facing a DePaul team that hasn’t played a game would be a great way to stretch the legs back out. I find myself hoping the Big East goes bubble. If they don’t, these won’t be the only games X misses.