The Xavier Musketeers are squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble after last night's tough loss at home to the Creighton Bluejays. Creighton led for much of the game, using good shooting and rebounding to propel them to victory, which proved to be Xavier's first loss at home this season. Here are three things we learned about last night's game at the Cintas Center:
1. The Big East is a deep league
There aren't many leagues in the country where the last place team can get an away win against a potential NCAA Tournament team and have it not be a fluke. But that's what the Bluejays did Wednesday night. Unfortunately for the conference, that can mean teams eat each other alive and hamper others' chances at an NCAA birth. That was on display this week in the conference as both Creighton and DePaul defeated potential tournament teams in Xavier and Seton Hall. However, the top four in the league appears to be clearer today than it was yesterday.
2. Creighton has heart
After getting drubbed at home by No. 24 Georgetown last weekend, it would have been very easy to lay down against Xavier, a team nobody expected the Jays to beat. Sitting at 1-9 entering last night's contest, Creighton controlled the game against Xavier and even led by 10 points during the first half. Battling injuries and the flu bug, the Bluejays pulled out a close game in overtime. Junior center Geoffrey Groselle had one of his best games as a Bluejay, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Senior guard Devin Brooks showed what he's capable of with a double-double performance (13 points, 12 rebounds) while James Milliken chipped in with 12 points, including two huge triples in overtime. Additionally, Austin Chatman looked more like what Jays fans are used to while senior Rick Kreklow was on fire from deep, hitting five three-pointers. Creighton has seen their fair share of near misses this season, dropping close ones to Seton Hall, Marquette and Butler by a combined five points. There are no easy games in this conference and Creighton proved that against Xavier.
3. Xavier has talent but...
It hasn't come together. Yet. Young talent like Trevon Bluiett, Jalen Reynolds, Myles Davis and J.P. Macura join impressive upper classmen like Remy Abell, Matt Stainbrook, James Farr and Dee Davis. But after an average non-conference slate, Xavier finds themselves just 5-6 in league play and in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. Where has it gone wrong?