Last year Xavier allowed CBS cameras into the Cintas Center, team bus, locker room, and pretty much everywhere else as part of CBS' special behind the scenes look at teams in the NCAA tournament. Brad Redford followed suit with his take on Redford's Rundown. Now, though, Xavier itself has taken over the production with a new series called Game Night: A Look Inside.
The premise of Game Night is six episode countdown of the four hours from shootaround to tip off. Each episode is around five minutes long and features a different part of the lead up to the first toss of the ball.
When CBS followed Xavier last year during the tournament, a good many short-sighted and unperceptive fans blamed the lack of focus inspired by video cameras for the loss. The first thing that Game Night makes evident is that Xavier players are more than used to being captured by all types of media. The video camera has become a ubiquitous part of any basketball players life in the last two decades. Games of all sorts, from HS, to NAIA, to the Final Four are capture by multiple cameras, from multiple angles and places. Most college teams are now even recording practice in an attempt to get every possible facet on film.
More importantly, the production of such a series shows how far Xavier has come in their quest to be accessible to to their fans. As Director of Basketball Administration Mario Mercurio said "The more connections with people that love Xavier basketball, the better." Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing Brian Hicks says "That's a goal we have, making sure we're engaging our fans." With a series like Game Night, Xavier brings in every fan who has an extra five minutes at work and a chance to get on YouTube.
Particularly interesting, especially to someone who used to play, is the sheer amount of work that goes into making a basketball game happen. The Look Inside shows that amount of work. Every tiny detail, even down to who writes on the giant novelty check, is planned out and executed ahead of time. While players focus on getting ankles taped, practicing footwork, and, in Mark Lyons case, dancing, security details meet, uniforms get hung up, and SID packets are distributed.
Game Night: A Look Inside is just another example of what sets Xavier apart as a program. The access to the team and the support staff is immense. When you add in the activity on Twitter and Facebook, it's clear that Xavier is making a concerted effort to expand the brand.