That was bad. Really, bad. Xavier opened the game well, jumping out to an early 10-point lead before the wheels fell all the way off. For the remainder of the first half, the Muskies floundered away the lead and began the slide towards one of the worst losses imaginable. Delaware came out firing to start the second half, and Xavier had no answers. Jalun (odd way to spell that) Trent got everything he wanted and took the game over through the second half. When it came winning time, it was Trent with the ball in his hands as Delaware ran the same ball screen to him late in the shot clock, and Xavier’s defense couldn’t stop it.
Quincy Olivari is finding his footing
There were a few bright spots in Xavier’s performance tonight. Actually, there was just one, it was Quincy. His 34 points on 10-16 were immense as he tried to will Xavier into a game they should have won easily. After struggling in his opening games with X, Olivari has come on strong recently, leading the team in scoring in 3 of the last 4 games. It’s a small silver lining to be sure, but Xavier wants to get the season back on the rails and needs Olivari to stay hot.
The rest of it was bad
Delaware doesn’t force turnovers. Xavier turned the ball over 17 times. Jalun Trent dropped a career-high with little resistance against a Xavier defense that is supposed to be the team’s strong point. On a night where Xavier shot 51% inside the arc, 50% from beyond it, and got 36 of the best minutes of Quincy Olivari’s career, Xavier still couldn’t stay out of its way enough to get a win against the *checks notes* 127th best team in the nation. A team that lost to George Washington by 10 on a neutral court two weeks ago. The situation is dire.
Is there hope?
Xavier’s projected record according to KenPom is 15-16, with a 10-10 conference record. KenPom is not a prophet, but this doesn’t look good. If Xavier now is the team they will be all season, the season will be long, frustrating, and one to forget. Can Xavier put it together though? Xavier showed their defense is capable of holding Houston under a point per possession, and showed that they could play like a tough, hard-nosed team. They put up a valiant fight against Purdue on the road and had chances to take control of the game. Unfortunately, they have also dropped games to Washington, and, more worryingly, Oakland and Delaware at home. The mood is low after a three-game loser at home and the Shootout around the corner, but, if there is a crumb of comfort, it is that the coach will continue to have more time with a young team that has shown glimpses of high-level output