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Old 11-14-2012, 08:12 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

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Originally Posted by xavierhoops View Post
If this WH guy continually underestimates Xavier year after year after year particularly given Xavier's success year after year after year....
I seldom bother with the usual chatboard insults and such (see: Z28). Yet this is a hoary chestnut that someone pulls out of the fire every Thanksgiving.

Xavier has been the flagship of the A-10 for the past decade. Iíve usually forecast a first or second place finish for the Musketeers in most years.

You are a little wet behind the ears on this board, so I suggest you not believe everything you read. We have some serial exaggerators here!

It is true that I forecast a 13th place finish for Xavier this season. Based on what I saw last night, the X-men should finish several spots higher than that.

But itís a long season and I never make judgments based on a game or two. FDU fielded a non-Division 1 team and Butler did not play well. Xavier has very little depth and thatís a big factor in my thinking. I expect a long season will take its toll.

I hope I am wrong. Xavier having a bad year is about as good for the A-10 as Syracuse having a bad year for the Big East.

Weíll see. I expect we will get a better idea after the first road game.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:14 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

In my noncon forecast, I said Xavier would do better than I expected if ďSemaj Christon plays like the rookie of the year; Travis Taylor plays like an all-conference player , Dee Davis makes a huge sophomore leap; and Brad Redford become more than just an situational outside threat. Oh, and the Muskies cannot afford any injuries!Ē

Well, Davis has played great so far. Taylor looks like the player Xavier thought it was getting when he transferred in. And Redford looks sharp.

Criston? A little rocky, but he made a few outstanding plays. Kid is definitely a stud.

The big surprise so far has been Jeff Robinson. Jonathan Watters asked on another thread if Robinson is really that good.

No, he hasnít been that good, but that doesnít mean he canít be. He is a fifth-year senior. Heís got size and athleticism. Heís got a pretty good set of skills.

My take on Robinson is that he is a confidence man. When he has confidence in himself and thinks the coach does too, he plays well. If not, he doesnít.

Well, Robinson has been inconsistent most of his career, so heís often found himself on the bench for long stretches. That wonít be the case this season. He needs to be on the floor and the coach needs him, too. Thatís given him the confidence to try to play his game.

What is his game? Robinson is a good faceup shooter out to 18 feet. He can score some inside with his length and athleticism. He can block some shots. And heíll be even more effective when Taylor is playing his game. That allows Robinson to roam around.

There is a reason Purdue (and Xavier) recruited Robinson. The kid has always had the raw athleticism and potential skills to be a high-level player.

Still ... the biggest surprise to me in the Butler game was actually the walkon Stenger. He outhustled the entire Bulldogs squad!
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:17 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

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Originally Posted by WH View Post
I hope I am wrong. Xavier having a bad year is about as good for the A-10 as Syracuse having a bad year for the Big East.
Since this time next year Syracuse won't be in the BE, and that probably qualifies as a bad year for the BE...I hope you are not indicating something similar about my team.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:20 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

I think the biggest thing you can take away from this game is that Xavier is very athletic, which just about everyone knew, and Butler is not. The game started way too fast for Butler, and once it slowed down they were too far behind, and a step too slow, to make up ground.

Of course it was just one game, but a sheer lack of athleticism is not subject to the sample size caveat. That's something that's going to hinder Butler all season long. They did well guarding Xavier's base offense, but absolutely could not handle them in transition or in late possession ad-libs.

Rotnei Clarke is a great shooter and it looks like Dunham can be as well, but that means very little if they have to work for every jump shot. And defensively they got rocked. They'll have nights where one or both light it up, but all in all that's a below average A10 backcourt. Smith and Fromm are going to get abused by A10 bigs. The athletes (Jones and Marshall) don't have the skill to consistently burn athletic defenses.

Coaching and a great home court will get Butler 6 or 7 A10 wins. I'm not sure I see more than 8-8 for them. I think Butler is a couple of years from being a true contender for a league title. They need athletes, and they need them to be experienced. It will take some time.

As for Xavier, a second strong performance. The defense is real, as I thought it would be. There is no trick to defense, it's having good athletes buy in. That's happening. Offensively, when Robinson and Taylor play like that, Xavier can be as good as anyone. Not sure their early performances are indicative of reality just yet. Obviously, their litmus test will be bigs who can hang with them athletically.

On the flip side, Semaj Christon will play a lot better than he did. You expect early struggles. Even a slower defense like Butler is much better than anything he's ever seen. I thought Davis struggled at times, too. I think Mack found a hell of a role player in Stenger. He won't score much, but he will get after it on defense and the glass, and he'll be first on the floor after loose balls. That is a role every team needs, and to already have it filled this early is an bonus. Defined roles is the biggest reason why Xavier looks so good early. Most teams won't settle into their roles until December. Aside from getting Christon up to game speed, Xavier's roles are set.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:42 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

My thoughts (most of which have probably been covered)

This team is exponentially more fun to watch than the last few years, even without the talent. Between Tu and Mark's dribbling killing offense and Kenny Frease in the middle, the offense was beyond stagnant, something that is not the case at all this year. Also the defensive intensity was nowhere near what it is currently. I watched the game live and also on replay last night, the rotations were near flawless throughout the game. We jumped all the pick and roll situations and Butler was clueless on what to do most of the time.

Most importantly, we did this without Philmore and only about half of Semaj. Philmore is still trying to get back into playing shape from his knee injury and might not be 100% again until late December but I definitely anticipate him having a decent impact for this team. Semaj played a great game picking up 8 assists but also had 5 turnovers (most of which can be attributed to getting used to the game speed). More importantly, Semaj literally could not shoot. His elbow is bothering him a lot. From what I was told, if he had gotten fouled/sent to the free throw line he probably couldn't have even gotten it up to the rim. I also thought he played some great defense on Dunham and Rotnei keeping them from getting open looks. Gotta love that he couldn't even shoot outside of the paint and still had a solid impact on the game.

While I agree with most that Butler is not a top level team that some may have thought, it still is great to see this team playing like this so early in the season and hopefully they can continue to improve and keep it up. They are definitely fun to watch.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:45 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

Seems like we saw much of the same thing last night, A-flyer, though I am a bit more charitable to Butler. I think they will get much better, though not challenge for the league title. We'll see.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:47 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

Good points, Chalmers. I was struck last night by the precision of Xavier's offensive movement and the tight defense. I already thought Mack was a very good coach, but I saw some stuff last night I didn't see quite as much last season.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:30 AM   #53 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

Wait a second, what's with this "Xavier was just more athletic" stuff?

X had something like 70% assists per basket ratio, and looked very crisp on a majority of offensive sets. Teams look more athletic than an opponent when they are simply in better position on rebounds, and that happened a lot yesterday.

I'm not buying this "athleticism" angle people are taking about X. There's a lot more to it than that, the players are running efficient plays and limiting sets from getting begun on the defensive end. (caveat, it's early, and teams will begin to get film on how to work against X the further along we get)
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:41 AM   #54 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

The gap between expectations for this team and its actual performance to-date can be measured in Grand Canyons.

I understand that it's only one game, if it is sensible for argument's sake to throw out the FDU rompfest, but Xavier's basketball team is working cohesively now. To hell with the "it's only one game" logic. That level of execution on both sides of the ball last night normally doesn't show up in November, at least not on Victory Parkway. In other words, it seems more than clear that Xavier has already proven it can be a force in this league this season, in what otherwise was projected by most to be a down year for the program.

Now, from that, what do we keep our eyes on? Injuries, first and foremost. If X gets lucky and avoids them, then they have a shot at sustaining higher expectations. Focus and intensity must be factored in after the injury issue; can they sustain the level of execution they achieved yesterday? That would be Mack's job to navigate. They'll have their moments, but I am confident in his coaching abilities. They'll bring it most of the time, assuming the chemistry isn't mucked up by injuries.

And I don't see their collective disposition as being fragile at this point. These guys are mostly accomplished athletes or are otherwise such hard working athletes that they are moving forward, taking it one game at a time. If anything, especially with a "confidence player" like Robinson (I agree with that point, btw) they're already spinning themselves up in the right direction in their heads.

I understand the concept of "it's early; we'll see" but I also understand developed performance when I see it. Xavier is much further along than I thought it would be, two games in. The bookies set their line for that game the way they did for a reason (beyond getting people to bet).

BTW, with that game, Xavier improved its overall record against Butler to 31-16. The Musketeers have won 10 of the last 12 games against the Bulldogs, including the last three.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:51 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

You can't deny the confidence that is building with this group. I know it's only one game but Dee Davis has been outstanding. You basically have two scoring point guards on the floor that will be playing 30 + a game. Depth doesn't seem to be a problem in fact it seems to not be an issue at all. Farr barely saw the floor yesterday (he'll get more time when conference season comes around). With Philmore becoming eligible this team can go 9 deep which is plenty.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:55 AM   #56 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

Jeezus H - get a f'ing hold of yourselves.

Name me one person in the history of history that was 100% right guessing - yes guessing - the outcome of any athletic competition and I will show you the person who controls every single dollar of every single currency in the world AND is the master of time, space and dimension!

In the words of Chris Berman (among others) - "That's why they play the games...".

Xavier is off to a great start and few predicted it - not just one person. I recall a great start last year as well, that led to a lond period of mediocrity before they woke up again in March. In my many years of following this sport, I do not recall 2-0 winning a conference title or automatically qualifying for anything - it doesn't even guarantee a winning overall record... Right?

Congrats to X. But you have not really proven anything just yet.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:09 AM   #57 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

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Congrats to X. But you have not really proven anything just yet.
Knobby, you are dead on that a couple of wins doesn't mean squat in the long run of a season.

But you are wrong about not proving anything. We may not have the horses as in years past, and certainly we will struggle against some of the projected power teams in the conference, and who knows where we'll end up.

But they proved that they have risen above all that crap from last year; it's behind the team and they're focused on this year. And the Butler game proved (what many of us knew all along based on the last 3 years)....Chris Mack can coach.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:33 AM   #58 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

As I stated earlier in the year:
Welcome Butler and VCU.
We will now (the a-10) hand you your ass.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:42 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Knobby, you are dead on that a couple of wins doesn't mean squat in the long run of a season.

But you are wrong about not proving anything. We may not have the horses as in years past, and certainly we will struggle against some of the projected power teams in the conference, and who knows where we'll end up.

But they proved that they have risen above all that crap from last year; it's behind the team and they're focused on this year. And the Butler game proved (what many of us knew all along based on the last 3 years)....Chris Mack can coach.
Valid points....but what if the Butler game also proved how bad Butler really is. You can't tell me that you watched that game and thought, "wow, we're really sticking it to a team that has all the pieces in place to win the A10 this year on our home court".

Some of us didn't buy into the horsecrap that Butler was a 3rd-5th place team in this league. Some of that was X themselves and how well they played but as Adam said, Butler is very near the bottom of this league in horses.

It doesn't surprise me one bit that X is 2-0 and will be 3-0 after three straight home games against FDU, Butler and Robert Morris.

I'd love to get some Butler fans commentary here but it looks like we won't be hearing from them until next off season. Only fan base to disappear quicker then UD fans. We at least stick around until January.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:52 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Re: Xavier v Butler, Butler v Xavier

[QUOTE=AdamtheFlyer;6981211]
On the flip side, Semaj Christon will play a lot better than he did. You expect early struggles. Even a slower defense like Butler is much better than anything he's ever seenQUOTE]

I don't think he'll have much trouble at all with the college game. He was tired and hurt after spending 2 days in the hospital. Mack said he hasn't been able to practice at all and can't shoot yet due to the elbow problem. He wanted to play. So he tried to do the next best thing by getting 8 assists while he was out there. I know you were all expecting a triple double the first game (believe we may see it sometime this year), but he needs to get his health back first. I think it will be an other couple of weeks until he's at full strength.
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