Comeback Shootout Win Signifies Birth of a Legit Contender in UC
By: Tyler Dugan
Unbelievable game, had everything you ever could have wanted in a rivalry game. From Blueitt being unconscious from 3, to Cumberland making massive plays down the stretch, this game was truly back and forth. One of the best atmospheres I have ever been in. This game is so unique. Both teams have genuine hate for each other. Like actually fucking hate each other, which is why this game will always be so great.
I’m going to give it my best shot to try to be unbiased. I’ll start with Xavier.
I know I said I was going to be unbiased, but here comes a very biased take. I hate J.P. Macura. There is that one player every year for Xavier, and J.P. took over Jalen Reynolds spot. He’s a whiny little brat. He’s a poor man’s Grayson Allen, and more importantly for X fans, he is a complete liability on defense.
Now onto the game. What more can you say? Trevon Blueitt lit the place up. It was unbelievable to watch. It was like throwing a grape into the ocean. He truly could not miss, it was the best performance I have seen in person by a college basketball player. Unbelievable. I actually don’t hate him. He is dripping wet, or at least was for that night.
I still don’t see why Edmond Sumner is that great. I want to be very clear, I don’t watch enough Xavier games to see what he really is, but I have seen a few, and in the few that I have seen he hasn’t been unbelievable. I heard that he was hurt, maybe that’s why, either way he didn’t strike me as first round talent. He’s athletic and lengthy, he gets into the lane easily and he was the one who set up Blueitt all night, but he can’t really shoot all that well. They are projecting him to go in the first round, I’m not really sure why. I just think if you want to play in the NBA today, you have to be able to consistently shoot the ball. But, the NBA guys know way more than I do, so if he does decide to go I wish him the best.
Xavier has no inside presence. It really killed them that Jaylen left a year early to go play in Italy. I will never understand why he left as a junior, but he did, and X desperately missed him last night. Gary Clark pretty much had his way all night long, and UC murdered them on second chance points all night. That has pretty much been the core of their struggles all year. They have no big man. No security blanket down low.
I still think XU is very dangerous come March. It’s looking like they are going to get somewhere between a 6-10 seed, depending how they round out the rest of the year. I would hate to be the 2 or 3 seed that has to play them. At anytime Macura, Blueitt and Sumner could all go off. I wouldn’t sleep on them to figure something out and turn this thing around.
Now onto UC. Wild ride. Gary opened up the game being a freak. They fed him and he ate. The Muskies had no answer for him really all night long. Jarron Cumberland had his coming out party. He’s played pretty well all year long, but last night he played niiiiice. He is so aggressive, and he has no fear.
He thrives on looking for the big shot, and he will never be afraid to shoot. He abused JP Macura for the entire second half. He changed this game. Jacob Evans is really, really good. I think he is a true NBA talent. He will be back next year, but after that I’m not sure. He can do it all. He is so good in transition. He can hit the three, and he like Cumberland, wants the big shot.
Not many UC teams from the past win that game. Last year’s team loses that game. Every other Mick team I can think of loses that game last night. Blueitt was unconscious. They got down nine. They missed 19 free throws. Evans got a tech. They overcame all of those things last night, and to be honest I didn’t think it was going to happen. This team can take punches. They keep coming back. They have guts. They have a bench. They have 4 guys who can go for 20 on any given night. I love this team. Which brings me to my next point.
I am so scared over this team. It seems like every time a UC team starts to pull you in, and really start to trust them, they break your heart. We are about to find out what this team is really made of. They play in a brutally bad conference. The American is terrible. The only other tournament team is SMU, and they are on the fringe. So Tyler why are we about to see what this team is really made of? Well let me answer that for you.
This is the most success this group has seen. Will they let it get to their head? I hope not. They are about to get everyone’s best shot. We just saw Florida State lose to Georgia Tech, we just saw UK lose to Tennessee, you gotta keep your head on a swivel. Those games can happen on any given night. Everyone in the conference is going to pack their tiny little gym to see UC. That win officially put this team as a real contender. They can win in multiple ways, they want to win 54-52, but they can beat you scoring 80. That is new. We are about to find out how this team handles success.
Lastly, how good is this game going to be in the future. Evans is a sophomore. Cumberland is a Freshman. Clark and Washington are coming back. Cane Broome will be a sophomore next year. Xavier has a top 25 recruiting class coming. I think it may even be like top 10 right now, but can’t confirm. Blueitt is a junior. Macura is a junior. Sumner is a sophomore (if he stays). This rivalry is in a very good place for the upcoming years. Go Cats.