Doesn't take a genius to realize the Xavier Musketeers played a miserable opening six minutes in the game against Duke on Saturday. The X–Men were totally unprepared to play a basketball game at tip–off.
Xavier was prepared to run down the court as fast as they could, and jump in the air as high as they could, but not participate in a test of skill and nerve. The Musketeers were simply too psyched up when they hit the court.
The Blue Devils outscored the Musketeers 22–3 in the game's first six minutes. In the final 34 minutes Xavier outscored Duke, 61–60. That is probably a more representative score to gauge the difference in these two teams except for one item, Coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Blue Devils.
Considered the greatest coach in the game today, the High Priest of the ACC has put together game plans that have leveled far better outfits than the one Duke faced in the Meadowlands.
By running out to a 31 point halftime lead on national television against the consensus seventh–ranked team in America, Coach K demonstrated his true genius, that of knowing when to hold to them, and when to fold them.
Simply put, Mike Krzyzewski won this game the minute after the loss in Ann Arbor to Michigan earlier in the month. That's when he decided to bench his entire starting unit to start the following game with the Asheville Extension of UNC.
The starters got the message. They came out against Xavier in such a fury that no team in the country could have stemmed their tide. The brilliant Junior Jon Scheyer, nicknamed "Pretty Boy" by envious fans of the other ACC teams because they are without players with such matinee–idol good looks, was as deadly a shooter as his namesake, Pretty Boy Floyd, when he came out firing shots from all over New Jersey.
Scheyer finished with 23 on 9 for 11 gunning. His acrobatic classmate, Gerald Henderson, tossed in 19, and yet another Junior, local hero Brian Zoubek, used his 7'1" frame to block four shots. Another member of that class, Lance Thomas, also of New Jersey, played with an edge that drew cheers from the mostly pro–Duke crowd.
The X Men are tough all right, and the Blue Devils may see them again down the road. The Blue Devil Nation has to hope that the result of that possible rematch is better to them than the second encounter with the Michigan Wolverines earlier this season.
But, just pondering, The Wolverine wasn't an original member of the X–Men anyway.