As we have stated a lot this season, there isn’t a great deal to learn about your team when playing the likes of Southern, Cincinnati, and Fairfield. Xavier won 79-59 in a game where they sort of got into gear but really didn’t and then just cruised to a win. The meat of the season starts soon.
There is a huge gap between Xavier’s starters and the bench
Desmond Claude has an offensive rating of 76.2 and turns the ball over a third of the time he uses it. Kam Craft was good tonight but struggles on defense and has an offensive rating of 93.7. Dieonte Miles is still the best defender on the team but has become mostly hopeless on offense. Kyky Tandy is just never going to happen. That leaves Jerome Hunter as the reliable piece of Xavier’s bench. The gap today was evident, as the bench was outscored by Southern’s bench and chipped in 17 in a buy game blowout.
Turnovers are still a problem
Southern forces turnovers at a top 20 in the nation rate, and they turned the Musketeers over a bunch today. A 24.1% turnover rate does not augur well for a schedule that features St. John’s and UConn. Souley Boum had seven assists and just one turnover, but Adam Kunkel and Des Claude combined to turn it over nine times. That’s a problem.
The three point shooting is great
What an awful night! Xavier only made 33% of their three pointers. What seems like a particularly errant night this season would have been a top 15 effort last year. It is much easier to watch a basketball game when your team shoots and the ball goes in. Nothing to worry about here, as the Musketeers slipped all the way to sixth in the nation in three point shooting.
There is work to do
Xavier’s non-conference body of work leaves them on the bubble. The resume will need burnished with some big wins in the Big East and avoidance of some of those trap games that the conference will toss up this year. Not until UConn on New Year’s Eve will the Musketeers get a chance at a top quad win. The games before that are Q3s (depending on St. John’s) and a Q4.