Prior to the Saint Louis game, ESPN had Xavier as a team that had work left to do. According to the gurus in Bristol "Xavier's profile looks better than many of the teams on the bubble. But the differences aren't overwhelming. X still needs wins." Well, Xavier didn't get that particular win and now they are in some serious trouble,
For starters, Xavier faces a bit of a challenge just to get a first round bye. To lock in the bye, Xavier must beat Charlotte on Senior Day. If St. Bonaventure loses, Xavier gets the three seed, if SBU wins, the Musketeers get the four seed. If Xavier loses, it's a big a mess. Thanks to Xavier's excellent SID,Tom Eiser, we'll be courtside to keep you right up to date.
Should XU not win through the A10 tournament, it will all come down to the bubble. Here, then, is what the news is there.ESPN: Joe Lunardi has Xavier as the first in his first four out column. That's a terrible place for Xavier to be though, because there are no resume building wins left out there on the schedule. Behind the pay wall of Insider, Joe Kaiser says that Xavier will need help from other teams dropping off the bubble or stealing auto bids to sneak in. Lunardi adds "The only good news is that the Musketeers' two best wins (at Vanderbilt and against Purdue) are looking better as the season winds down." When your best wins came before this pathetic excuse for a winter, you are hurt. Simply put, no one at ESPN sees Xavier in the tournament right now.
CBS: God bless Jerry Palm, who is either out of touch with reality, or a genius. Palm has Xavier in as a 12 and playing Louisville. According to Jerry, the entire resume matters, not just the last month. Outside Palm, CBS doesn't do much reporting on the bubble.
MISC: Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated now sees Xavier as having to do serious damage in the conference tournament to grab an at large. Losing at Saint Louis served to dump the Musketeers out in the minds of most people at SI. Over at USA Today, a glimmer of hope. Nicole Auerbach thinks the overall strength of the Musketeers scheduling will carry them through the malaise of the last two months. Even she says though, "Xavier really could have used a win vs. Saint Louis on Tuesday, but in this weak bubble world, it gets in without it -- for now." Midwest Sports Fans show X needing two wins in the tournament, and our very own SB Nation has XU still in as a 13.
RPI: Still holding at 54. The game against Charlotte, mired in the 190s, won't help. Xavier needs a bye and then an upset of either Temple or Saint Louis to start feeling good about this number again.
So that is the skinny as of start of games on Thursday, March 1st. Xavier is in serious trouble regarding the at large bid. The ten point lead that evaporated against SLU may very well have taken the Musketeers bubble chances with it.
Prognosis: Charlotte simply has to be a win. After that, Xavier must make the semifinals of the A10 tournament to even have a reasonable chance at an at large bid. Right now, the Musketeers really need some help.