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Takeaways from Xavier’s first loss of the season

Well... That was something

2021 NIT Season Tip-Off - Xavier v Iowa State Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Izaiah Brockington is left handed

I just thought someone associated with Xavier should mention that. Moving on.

Xavier cannot win when Paul Scruggs has a bad night

Scruggs was 1-14 from the floor and turned the ball over five times. That leads to a 31 offensive efficiency and a Xavier loss. Without Scruggs scoring (or doing much else) Xavier’s offense struggled mightily. X got 10 from Dwon Odom, 24 from Jack Nunge, and 11 from Colby Jones. That should be enough to get a win. When Paul Scruggs is doing nothing, it isn’t.

Jerome Hunter needs to stop shooting threes

Hunter was 3-6 inside the arc, grabbed six rebounds, and chipped in a steal. He’s Xavier’s best defender, he’s in the top 400 in the nation in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate. Despite being a 34% three point shooter last season, Hunter is 2-20 this season. He was 0-6 today and killed Xavier’s already struggling offense. At some point all of the other good things, and there are a lot, that Hunter does are lost in the barrage of threes that don’t touch anything.

As bad as Xavier’s offense was, the defense was worse

.99 points per possession won’t win you many games, but it will win some. Allowing 1.15 won’t win you many at all. Iowa State shot over 60% from the floor in the second half and 50% from three for the game. Xavier simply didn’t play defense the way they have all season. Effort was part of that, ISU’s shooting was part of that, and matchups were part of that. That combination of factors led to a defensive showing that was, frankly, awful.

Kyky Tandy is not the answer

Can we please stop with this? Kyky Tandy is recovering from a serious lung infection, he has a career offensive efficiency under 100, he’s a 41% shooter inside the arc, has three more career assists than turnovers, and has been Xavier’s worst defender in each of the two seasons he played. Yes, he can shoot the ball behind the arc, and yes, he has shown flashes of brilliance, but he is not some sort of basketball panacea. Kyky Tandy will get a shot this year, but he’s not the singular answer to Xavier’s problems.