After missing postseason basketball as a whole last season, Xavier goes into the final month of this season with aspirations of making a return trip to the NCAA Tournament, where the program had been a fixture for the previous decade. While there is still basketball to be played between now and Selection Sunday, the predictions made this late in the year are typically fairly accurate as to a team's actual hopes of punching their ticket come March. Current projections have X on the bubble but still in the tournament itself.
- ESPN's Joe Lunardi has them as the #10 seed in the East, travelling to Milwaukee to face the Pitt Panthers, with the winner (most likely) squaring off against Michigan State, a tall task come March, given Tom Izzo's history of success in the tournament. Also appearing in the East for Lunardi would be #3 seed Villanova and #11 seed Tennessee, two teams X will have played twice by that point.
- Jerry Palm of CBS sports is slightly more bullish on the Muskies, ranking them as the #9 seed in the East and sending them to Buffalo to face an Arizona State team that is passing Xavier heading in the opposite direction in most projections. The winner of that would face the ever punchable Jim Boeheim's top ranked Syracuse squad in the second round and, speaking of things that X fans hate, would have a shot at #5 seed Ohio State and #2 seed Cincinnati in the following two rounds. The only way that Final Four run could be more cathartic would be if X could somehow beat Kanye West in there somewhere.
- Finally Bracketmatrix.com has X as a #10 seed in South, heading to St. Louis to face former A-10 rival Massachusetts, the winner getting a date with former perennial tournament disappointments Kansas. Bracketmatrix also puts Xavier in the same region as UC, with the Bearcats being the #3 seed, and Creighton, the #4 seed.
While the Musketeers cling to life in their tournament hopes, it should be noted that all three of these publications have them in danger of falling out of the bracket all together and, given recent results, it should be inferred that X needs to right the ship to keep tournament hopes alive. A win against DePaul will be virtually meaningless, given their lowly standing, but wins over St. John's or Georgetown, both bubble teams themselves, would do wonders to boost X's resume. With only a month left to play, X is in a position they should perhaps have avoided, but still a very easily manageable one with a bit of good play down the stretch.
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