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Three Up, Three Down: Xavier

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Well that was awesome. Then it sucked. Then it was almost awesome again. Then sadness. Still, there were far more positives than negatives, and my belief that we're on the right track is only further solidified, despite the disappointment.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

That Entire First Half. Seriously, that whole first half was the best basketball I've seen out of a Wake squad in a very long time.  48% shooting by Wake, 41% from deep on 12 attempts, and perhaps best of all, a perfect 12-12 from the line.  We held Xavier to 30% shooting, 20%  It was glorious, the Joel was raucous, and it was just a joyful experience.

John Freakin' Collins. I've started calling him this while celebrating at games, and I think I want to try to make it a thing.  11 points (5-6 from the field, 1-2 from the line), 4 rebounds in 19 minutes.  I love Devin Thomas, and right now Devin is absolutely the alpha dog, but if John progresses at ALL under Danny Manning's watch (which it's insane to think he won't; look at the differences in Devin and yes, even Dinos), not only do I think he'll be the best Wake big in a long long time, he will play in the NBA.  He's just so smooth on the offensive end, and his hands are just crazy good.  He needs to work without fouling on the defensive end, but that will come with time.

CMM's Passing. Codi had 6 assists to 3 turnovers.  2:1 A/T ratio is pretty much ideal for any point guard, so that's nice to see.

The Downs

Devin Only Getting 3 Shots. Seriously, what?  How does that happen?  I have no idea.  I will say this, that factoid has been acknowledged by everyone from Coach Manning to Devin himself to other commenters here, and if Coach Manning is to be believed, it will never happen again.  I certainly hope that's the case, because that should never, ever happen.  It's particularly egregious considering when Devin did get the ball inside, he was frequently able to draw contact and get to the line.  Somehow Devin managed to get 11 points on only 3 shot attempts and only a single made field goal.  That sounds straight up goofy, but it happened somehow.  I don't get it either.

Some Of Bryant Crawford's Decision Making. I'm only mentioning Bryant specifically because I believe he was absolutely brilliant in the first half and I still think he's the best point guard prospect at Wake in a long, long time.  But in the second half, Bryant made some extremely bad decisions.  There was the charge into the technical foul, which cannot happen regardless of what you may or may not think of the officiating.  The fact is that the officials made the calls they did, and it was on Bryant to get himself in that position.  There were also some jacked up threes that were bad shots.  Now, I'm not too mad because for one, ,Bryant is a freshman.  Freshman mistakes are going to happen, and that's okay.  With regards to the threes especially, he was nailing them in the first half, and probably just got a little overexcited, wanting to make the big plays for his team.  If he was doing this as a junior or senior (same goes for the overly flashy passes that lead to turnovers, I would be a lot more upset, ,but he has a lot of time to grow.

Offensive Rebounding. Xavier had 14 second chance points, and I guarantee you several of those buckets were more like third or fourth chances.  We should not be giving up offensive rebounds like that, especially given the size and athleticism we have at nearly every single position.  That just cannot happen.  The other thing about offensive rebounds (and turnovers) is that there's also the potential that we would have scored on the other end,  A turnover is never as simple as a turnover, nor is an offensive rebound.

The Bottom Line

I said much of my basic summary in the other recap in the comments, but I'll reiterate here.  I'm sad that we lost this game, I'm frustrated, I'm even a little angry.  That doesn't change the fact that as much as we saw some really bad basketball, we saw just as much if not more really good basketball.  We're way ahead of schedule, folks, and I still believe the future of this program is extremely bright.

On to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF