First off, eff Gonzaga. Eff them for not scheduling to play us several seasons ago. Much like Butler, this is a game that needs to be played every year. I still remember a radio interview that featured one Mike Bobinski a couple years ago saying scheduling is the least enjoyable part of his job and cited the example of Gonzaga turning us down even though he had said name the time and date and we’ll come come play. This is the same Gonzaga who said they’ll play anyone, anytime, anywhere. Ever since then, a healthy resentment of the Zags has been buried within me. Plus, their nickname is the Bulldogs: awesome creativity. Also, keep crying bitch.
Secondly, eff the refs. And this is one of those rare moments as a delusional fan where I’ll concede the refs were abysmal for both teams. Within 10 minutes of the first half there had already been 14 fouls called. A whopping 48 were called in total. The cake, for me, was taken when Kenny got called for a foul while clearly standing straight up with both arms raised and the Zag just rammed right into him. Of course Kenny gets called for the foul. His look of bewilderment did nothing to endear him to the refs. Shockingly, he did not foul out.
Clearly, Xavier did not deserve to win last night. As Ledgewood says in the previous post, I still don’t know what to make of this team. We have one really good player and a bunch of role players. Let’s look at each individually.
Tu Holloway: Our best player by far. If he’s not playing well, we have almost no chance of winning. Only thing bad we can say about him is that he sometimes puts too much on his own shoulders. He had a few ill-advised shots last night, but that was only after realizing none of his teammates had come to play.
Mark Lyons: At this point, it may as well be the Much-Maligned Mark Lyons. Clearly, he gives a crap, plays his heart out and is a very good defender. Unfortunately, his “play a hundred miles and hour” style can sometimes translate into playing like a chicken with his head cut off. It is worrisome that he is making many of the same mistakes as last year. Couple that with this being his third year in the program and we may officially have a problem. Also, he’s just not a good shooter. That form is atrocious. His 35% field goal and 68% free throw averages tell me I’m not wrong.
Dante Jackson: Much the same can be said about Dante. Love the passion and the effort, but there needs to be better play to go along with it. He had a couple passes last night that just do not behoove of a three year starter. Also, the three point shooting has got to improve. He is at 28% on the year, including 3-10 last night.
Jamel McLean: Almost averaging a double double. Playing well. Just has to stay out of foul trouble. That was probably impossible last night. Can’t expect much more/less from Mr. McLean.
Kenny Frease: Not sure there is another player from the past 5 years that causes such a range of emotion from the fans as that of Kenny. He goes from a 22 and 14 against Wake to the much sought after but rarely achieved 0 and 0 against Gonzaga. Kind of sums up his career so far in Xavier uniform. To be fair, he barely had the ball in the post last night. This amateur’s eyes could not tell if it was because he couldn’t get position inside or if because the guards did a bad job of getting him the ball.
Jeff Robinson: Here is the real problem with this year’s version of the Musketeers. We have zero depth. None. Robinson plays very hard, but if you’re looking for any kind of point production you are barking up the wrong tree. Jeff should develop into a good player over the next 2 and a half years though.
But back to the no depth issue. It especially rears its ugly head in the backcourt. Take a look at the mpg of Tu (39.7), Mark (37.1) and Dante (36.8). I mean that is worrisome. I definitely underestimated the loss of Brad Redford. Didn’t think it’d be a huge blow, but clearly our lack of a three point threat is starting to rear its ugly head.
Freshmen: Thought CJ summed it up perfectly with this tweet last night. “So far in this seasoon Chris Mack 1st class gets a D-!!! Limited minutes, limited contributions!!!!! Good guys though.” Well said.
Look. Us Xavier fans are a spoiled lot. We’re not used to our team being this limited in its abilities. No offensive possession will be easy. And with such little depth, we can ill afford foul trouble, being out rebounded and taking off any plays. Albany awaits next Tuesday….
Let’s go X!