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National Xavier Love

These teams need not apply
Xavier is an emerging national power, I think most of us know that. What we have all been waiting for is the national media to take notice. Yes, the Musketeers are always ranked at the end of the year and yes, they always manage a game or two on an ESPN affiliate. What doesn't seem to happen though, is the constant media hype-stream that follows programs like UK, Duke, UNC, Kansas, and so on. 

That's all beginning to change now though. The first sign of the weather change in coverage is this "must see" non-conference schedule from Jeff Goodman at CBS. (Follow Jeff on Twitter @GoodmanCBS to see his constant back and forth with Coach Mack). Listed amongst games such as Duke at. OSU are no less than four Xavier tilts. This really seems like a step in the right direction. So why am I filled with trepidation?

Anyone who reads the Goodman article carefully will notice one thing right away; only three teams from west of the Mississippi make any appearance at all. Gonzaga, Kansas, and Texas A&M are all good teams, but it seems like the Pac-10 and teams like Arizona and Kansas State may have one or two good games on tap. (Arizona v. Florida or KSU v. OSU come to mind). East Coast bias aside, there are a few more problems that come with increased media scrutiny.

Do you remember this game? Do you remember cheering for Blake Stepp and an underdog squad playing a national power right to the brink? Now think of the last time you wanted Gonzaga to win (I'll give you a hint: it was that game). Think of this as the Gonzaga Corollary: a lovable underdog that suffers from over-saturation becomes despised and reviled. When Adam Morrison cried at mid-court after losing to UCLA I laughed, and America laughed with me. Do you really want that to be X? As a Chelsea fan I can attest that being hated is fun for awhile, but at some point in time, not being despised is a much better feeling. If Xavier gets four games in the top 20, you can bet some people are going to start hating. And not the fun kind.

Finally, the entire premise of a top 20 list of non-conference games at this point is a bit premature. I like Jeff Goodman, I really do, but a list of to non-conference games right now makes no allowance for things like teams playing horribly, like Georgetown last year, or better than expected, UC last year. Look at ESPN's story about this last year, do you think that Butler at Detroit matchup drew much of a national crowd? Georgetown also features in the article, and they disintegrated to the point they were nearly unwatchable at one point. Pre-season lists are dangerous, regardless of their intent.

So that's me raining on your parade. Be excited that your team is getting some publicity, but take it with a grain of salt. The road ahead is lined with potholes. I don't want to be writing for the next Gonzaga in two years, and you don't want to be watching Butler v. Indiana on the 27th of November wondering where Matt Howard went.