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Things I know, think I know and don't know

Sports Editor Sabrina Brown gives her take on Xavier men’s basketball — Dana O’Neil style

By Sabrina Brown
On February 1, 2012

Things I know

1. The Atlantic 10 is a mess

  • Every year, one thing has been pretty reliable in college basketball: it's Xavier and everyone else in the A-10. This year that is far from true. Sitting atop the A-10 Standings are Massachusetts, La Salle and St. Bonaventure. Crazy, right? Temple and Xavier are both half a game back for second, and Saint Louis and Dayton fall in next at third. For the first time in many years, the A-10 title is anybody's game.

2. Dez Wells is not your ordinary freshman

  • Freshman Dezmine Wells of North Carolina was selected to the preseason A-10 All Rookie team, and there was a reason. This freshman stands at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds and is arguably one of the most athletic players on the Xavier roster. Wells averages 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. This puts him at third on the team in scoring, behind Mark Lyons and Tu Holloway. The freshman also stands at third in rebounding behind Andre Walker and Kenny Frease.

3. Free throws, free throws, free throws

  • So far this season, the Xavier men's basketball team has gone 67.4 percent from the line. Senior center Kenny Frease is currently 26-55 from the charity stripe, one of many of Xavier's frontcourt to struggle from the line. Against Dayton, Xavier's big men went 4-13 in free throw shooting. The team as a whole went 50 percent from the line but has followed with some of its best free throw shooting of the year against Saint Louis with 90.6 percent.

Things I think I know

1. What it means to be a fan

  • It seems that the general consensus on campus these past few weeks has been that Xavier is now a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad team and fans are "wasting their time." I'm calling your bluff Xavier fans. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to be angry after a game. Yell, curse and drink your sorrows away, please, but turning your back on a team is never the answer. There is no excuse for hearing a crowd boo their own team on their homecourt. Remember that these are your peers, and a team that's trying for a comeback needs its fans more than a team that's No. 8 in the country.

2. Andre Walker can be the glue for this team

  • Throughout my life, my favorite player to watch has always been the player that's seemingly overlooked. The player that gets the rebound, plays defense, makes the pass and goes for a simple lay-up, not a dunk. Xavier needed a leader, not a point guard, but someone who plays more for the name on the front of the jersey than the back. Walker is that player for Xavier this year. He's the passer, the rebounder, the defender, the player that can hold a flailing Musketeer team together simply through being the player that he is.

3. Xavier's season isn't over

  • While Xavier's hit a few rough patches this season, to count the Musketeers out would be a mistake of huge proportions. College basketball is founded on the notion that any team can do anything at anytime. Xavier fans are used to being the best in our conference. Our record isn't that much worse than it was last year. In 2003-04 season, Xavier ended the season in the Elite Eight after a three point loss to Duke, finishing with a record of 26-11 (10-6 in conference play).

Things I don't know

1. Where Xavier's going

  • While I don't believe that Xavier's season is over, I'm not entirely sure where it's going either. We all know what this team is capable of doing. I feel that this season is one full of "ifs." If Xavier gets its act together, New Orleans isn't a dream that's entirely dead. If the Musketeers play like they did against Dayton… Well, let's not dwell on that.

2. The starting line-up

  • For Xavier's past two games, head coach Chris Mack has been playing with the starting line-up. For most of the season, it's been standard: Holloway, Lyons, Wells, Walker and Frease. Against SLU, Mack started freshman Dee Davis and junior Jeff Robinson in place of Lyons and Frease due to effort in practice. Against Charlotte, Mack started Robinson for Walker. On Wednesday, it's anybody's guess to see who shows up dressed for tip-off.

3. Why Coach Mack refuses to use his crutches

  • Mack tore his patella tendon a few weeks back in practice proving a point to his team. Since then, Xavier's head coach has been sentenced to use crutches following surgery. Not only has he been seen jumping on and off of the media room stage, he is now leaving his crutches at home, according to a tweet from his wife, Christi Mack.

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