Thursday, March 26, 2009

Xavier Fails To Advance

It is always disappointing to lose. It is even more disappointing when the prize is great. Xavier played exceedingly tough and inspired basketball for 59:00 tonight. Pittsburgh played tremendous defense in the second half and won the game 60-55. At one point X was 5-25 from the field; they started the game 3-16. Pitt is a great defensive team and Blair was as good as advertised in the second half. They are not 'sexy' but this team knows how to finish games. When Dante' Jackson hit his drive in the lane to go up 54-52 I felt my team was going back to back to the Elite Eight. It just wasn't to be. Levance Fields was the dagger in the heart scoring 5 straight late in the game. Sam Young did not let the Muskies pull away and seemed to have a timely basket for them all night. Obviously they are as good as expected and I wish them well the rest of the way.

Here are my quick thoughts on all our guys tonight, whom I absolutely enjoyed watching and writing stupidly about all season long:

Jackson: He looked like a point guard to me tonight. I think he has grown tremendously as a team leader this March. He got into some foul trouble but scored some timely buckets for the Musketeers.

Raymond: I am going to miss you. I think you did everything you could tonight. You go out as the winningest player of all time in Xavier's history. Thank you for a glorious four years and memories I will cherish for a life time.

Brown: Man you showed a little bit of everything tonight. My feelings right now are you will be coming back next season and I hope that doesn't change. Fourteen points and nine boards on a big stage showed what you are capable of.

Anderson: Pure winner. It was great to see you mature here in your time at X and I think replacing your grit and toughness next year should not be overlooked. You shared the ball and battled on the boards all night long.

Love: You battled and battled on the glass against Blair, and had some nice boards. He will most likely be the best rebounder you will ever play against in your career. 'Big Lovely' will be a big part of our success next season.

Frease: Great first half from 'Ogre', the four blocks had a lot to do with our first half lead. He showed why people get excited about his 'upside'. This experience in the big dance will help his development arc tremendously.

Holloway: I was proud of how he played tonight. Poor play at the point isn't the reason we lost the game. He too will benefit greatly from three games under the big lights.

McLean: Your first half dunk had me thumping my chest. I think next season your ability to play both the 4 and 5 spots will get you even more court time. Your length around the basket helped the team stay in the game tonight.

Redford: I wish he could have hit one early. Does any other guy playing college basketball who averages 5 points a game get as much defensive attention as he does? I wouldn't mind seeing him add 7-10 pounds this offseason.

Another season in the books. There sure were some highs and lows. The Puerto Rican Tournament, being in the top 25 most of the season, beating Miami-OH, the Shootout victory, the LSU win on the road, smoking UD at Cintas Center, winning the A10 regular season title and advancing to our fourth Sweet 16 appearance are my highlights.

The lowlights? Getting our doors blown off by Duke, not recovering in time to beat Butler (ruined my Christmas), the dismantling UD provided on their home floor, and obviously tonight's loss.

Even though the season on the floor for X is over, the 'offseason' always has plenty of interesting developments to watch and speculate on. The annual coaching carousel is already spinning. Spring signing period will be here soon and Deveroes Summer League will be here before you know it.

Thanks Musketeers. You had a terrific season. Once the sting of the loss subsides you will realize how much you accomplished. I appreciate all the entertainment you gave me this season.

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