I am, in no way, one to belittle the job referees do. I realize they have other jobs in life and the job itself is not easy. However, what we saw Monday night from the Zebras was nothing short of comical. When you let the players play, keep it that way all throughout the 40 minutes. In the first half only three fouls were called. Yes only three. In fact, the first foul was not called until nearly 12 minutes into the game. Something you do not see everyday, that is for sure. Another thing you don't see everyday is the disparity in the foul calls between the halves.
The Zebras blew their whistles 27 times in the second half, and missed foul number 28. An obvious foul when Remy Abell got hit on the arm with under 10 seconds left going to the hoop with Sir'Dominic Pointer defending. A Martian on Mars would have made that call, because we all know a foul when we see one, and that was a foul. Here is to hoping the Big East Conference examines not only the Zebras for this game, but for all the games in the conference as a whole.
2) Xavier has no one to blame but themselves
Xavier can pout and shout all they want about that no-call at the end of the game, but they lost this game. To commit 13 turnovers, get your shots blocked six times, and miss shots near the basket because you decide to double-pump, is the reason they lost. That was all in the first half too, after gaining an 11-0 lead in the first four minutes. They obviously bounced back in the second half, but still committed seven more turnovers (20 for the game), and missed crucial free throws when they needed the points.
This is another tough loss for Xavier to swallow and another missed opportunity. They had the chance to win three straight games for the first time since mid-December. Instead they continue to look like an inconsistent team who does not know how to win close games. Nine of Xavier's 11 losses have been within eight points. Xavier' record in games decided by 8 or less points? 2-9.
3) St. John's better make the Tournament
Villanova will win the Big East, but the best starting five in this conference belongs to St. John's. D'Angelo Harrison, Rysheed Jordan, Phil Greene IV, Sir'Dominic Pointer, and Chris Obekpa play great with one another. The talent level in that lineup, plus the ability for them to create havoc on the defensive end is unparalleled to that of only Kentucky. It would be an absolute shame if this team does not make the Tournament, because they can easily make a Sweet 16 run. They should get in with 20 wins. I would really hope so, because they have been playing great as of late, winning 5 of their past 6.
Don't even get me started with the question of if they had a bench. If this team had a bench, they would be a top-10 team no doubt. They would also own wins over Duke and Gonzaga. Those games were lost because fatigue began to set in half way through the second half. I don't like to play games with who has beaten who, but the Johnnies beat Syracuse 69-57 at the Carrier Dome earlier in the year. I know Syracuse is not themselves this season, but they are still ranked 6th in the ACC standings, with a win over ranked Louisville. St. John's is a good team, and after watching them win another game tonight, they deserve to be dancing in three weeks.