First, the news:
No Kunkel tonight. Xavier’s going to need KyKy Tandy and Desmond Claude to step up in the backcourt. https://t.co/jUbW8GPptx— Adam Baum (@AdamJBaum) November 27, 2022
Kunkel took a blow to the head while being called for his fourth foul against Duke. He was not able to return to that game, and he's apparently still feeling the effects of it today. He and his 11.5 PPG will be out for the game against Gonzaga tonight.
To be honest, there's not much of a battle for Kunkel's spot. Only Kyky Tandy and Des Claude have been playing off the bench in the backcourt for Xavier, and neither of them have been lighting the world on fire. Tandy is averaging 4.7 PPG and shooting 37.5% from deep and Claude is averaging 4.2 PPG and has been good as an off-ball defender. Claude has a turnover rate of 34.6%. Neither player has Kunkel's dynamism on offense.
Xavier has one of the shortest benches in the nation already, and losing one of the best pure scorers on the team is quite the blow. Anyone who watched them struggle to score down the stretch against Duke knows the challenge in front of them today just got a lot tougher.