In this article CBS sports breaks down the NCAA's list of the top players, teams, and moments in tournament history. There are some great players, teams, and games listed, to be sure. Bo Kimble's left handed shot, which still gives me chills, is on there, as is mention of players like Juan Dixon, Tony Delk, and Corliss Williamson that would have otherwise continued their inexorable fade into history. While teams like UCLA, Duke, Indiana feature prominently, there is attention given to the 96-97 Arizona time that feature Miles Simon and Mike Bibby, and the 89-90 Running Rebs of UNLV.
While a lot of the players and teams listed are inextricable from the lore of the tournament, it seems a bit odd that one very successful program has not made the list at all. Not a player, not a team, not a moment. I'm speaking, of course, of the Xavier Musketeers. Xavier has appeared in 23 tournaments, 22 in the last 29 years. In thos years, it seems a bit odd that nothing Xavier has done caught the eye of the NCAA.
David West averaged 16.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in his tournament career. That didn't keep the NCAA from including lesser lights like Joakim Noah ahead of him. Carmelo Anthony makes the list as a one off player, but Jordan Crawford (who scored more ppg than Anthony and was surrounded with considerably less talent) doesn't. Still, arguing that any specific Xavier player belongs on the list may be a bit of a stretch. What amazes is that some of the better games in NCAA history have included Xavier, but didn't warrant a mention.
I'm certain that right now you think I am being myopic, and maybe I am, but some of the games the NCAA chose to include as best moments are really nothing more than one single highlight. Danny Ainge running the court to score, Tyus Edney doing the same, and John Wallace beating Georgia are all good plays but, Edney possibly excepted, they are hardly anything special. Richard Hamilton scoring in the lane makes the list, as does Gonzaga's 1999 run (somehow "a moment") so it's clear that the rules are pretty malleable.
So how, then, does the Kansas State-Xavier classic not make this list? Two overtimes, Jacob Pullen and Jordan Crawford trading improbable shots, and a shot that still features in CBS lead in somehow lose out to the 2011 Duke-Butler 40 minutes of drudgery that both teams tried to pass off as a final. BJ Raymond and the West Virginia game don't make it despite being another overtime thriller, but UConn blowing a 19 point lead and needing Tate George to win it does.
Those are just a few of the thoughts I have on this list but sadly, time is short. What Xavier teams, players, or moments do you think deserve mention?