Brad: Boys, what a game. I honestly thought we were going to win because I don't rate Wes Miller, but we kind of ran away and hid in that second half. After the 13-2 run in the second half they never got back within a possession.
Joel: There's a lot to talk about from that game, but I think a huge point was how consistently we were able to be there on the catch with their shooters. Whatever they had been doing to get open - aside from playing crap teams at home - wasn't working last night. I think that's a game plan thing, which comes down to having the better Miller. We held them to 5-23, and 2 of those were garbage time heaves after the game was decided from the line (where we all knew we'd be super reliable).
Brad: I think the key is who was shooting the free throws yesterday. McKnight and Olivari have been reliable there, and they got there the most.
Olivari was amazing last night. The three on the break was just dripping swagger. He said we needed a leader, then he stepped and was that guy. To your point, he was excellent defensively.
Bry: I think X gave Wes Miller too many adjustments to try to make at once. Once it became clear that Viktor "Just Big" Lakhin wasn't enough bigger than Ousmane and Ciani to dominate the game through size, it took until halftime for them to make the adjustment to start committing fully to driving the ball with Thomas and Newman. After X's guards were able to stem that tide a little bit, it looked like they were back to just chucking whatever look they could find. Fredrick couldn't shake Quincy on his own, but they never really did much to try to get him a clean look.
Wes Miller doesn't really strike me as a UC lifer and this might have been his best shot to win this one. Instead he watched the biggest dude on the floor chuck 7 threes for reasons known only to him and never found a way to keep the only two players that were playing well for X coming into this one from killing his backcourt.
Joel: I was incredibly impressed with Ousmane as well. I identified him as a key to the game in the preview, and he answered the bell. Intensity hasn't been an issue for him, but control has at times. He was able to be the guy X needed in the middle. From that early jump ball with Bandaogo that he wouldn't let go, he was determined to be the bigger dog, and he managed to do it without fouling out in 8 minutes. He did enough in the middle to allow our guards to be aggressive on the perimeter, and he completely erased Lakhin from the first half of the game. That dude was shook early on.
Brad: This is still a rivalry based on the energy in it, but since the year I was born, X is 27-15 in this game. Anyone not 60 years old only knows a series where Xavier leads the way. It’s still the Shootout, but UC is increasingly irrelevant both nationally and now locally.
Joel: Since announcing at his introductory press conference that UC would "spank Xavier's behinds," Wes Miller is 0-3 in Shootouts with an aggregate scoring margin of -28. He caught Sean Miller in the nadir of a rebuilding season and couldn't figure out a way to turn that into a win. His star freshman point guard couldn't dribble past Xavier's reserve freshman center. Many people are saying that this should have been the year they were going to get one if they were going to. Instead, they spit the bit against the worst Xavier team they're likely to encounter for a while; the future looks bright on Victory Parkway.