NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 28: Xavier Musketeers head coach Chris Mack looks on against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Memorial Gymnasium on November 28, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Xavier defeated Vanderbilt 82-70 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Living in a lull of college basketball activity, Xavier University changed all that Tuesday afternoon with the formal announcement that sophomore combo guard Dez Wells has been expelled from school.
As a result, a program that has appeared in the last seven NCAA Tournaments may have officially entered into a rebuilding mode for the 2012-2013 season now that their top returning player is no longer returning.
Wells, who was officially expelled for violating the school's code of conduct, reportedly for a sexual incident, was the only proven playmaker returning to a talented but inexperienced roster.
He was supposed to be the de facto leader both on and off the court and continue to develop in to an NBA caliber player.
Instead, the Musketeers have now lost their top four scorers, the top five minute players from last season, and perhaps all confidence from fans that this Chris Mack-led program is one that only knows how to do it right.
Not only will Mack have to coach a team that will probably fail to meet even the lowest of expectations, he'll have to deal with constant questioning about the current state of the Musketeer basketball program.
If proverbially unscrewing the squeaky-clean plaque from the wall Xavier had earned over the years was the easy story angle following last winter's Crosstown Brawl, it may now be mandatory to take down until further notice.
From the Brawl, to Mark Lyons and all the rumors that surfaced following his transfer to Arizona, to now the expulsion of Wells, this string of incidents that have occurred on Mack's watch in just the last nine months will surely spark message board threads and local radio chatter that cast Mack in a negative light.
Expect to hear and read things that question Mack's ability to manage and lead young men with eccentric personalities, and a prevailing feeling that this is not an abberation but a growing trend that could be a sign that Xavier basketball is headed in the wrong direction.
Perception is not always reality, and it's still unfair to draw conclusions even at this point, but there's surely going to be a growing faction of Mack skeptics until the program returns to a sense of normalcy.