Basketball is a game meant to enjoyed passionately. Unlike the summer-long 162 grind of baseball, basketball is taken 40 minutes at a time in roughly 35-40 chunks a year. You get no more than that, so each game can feel like it's very own beginning or end to something. Frequently, the narrative changes inside the 40 minutes allotted for play. This leads to heightened emotions, and that means the tow most extreme emotions, love and hate. In this series we'll have a look at things that Xavier fans spend their winters loving or hating.
There are not a lot of things I look forward to more than the start of college basketball season. November brings 12 man rotations, the first threes snapping through the nets, and guys who will be heroes in March dunking on guys who play for directional schools, agricultural schools, or possibly both. Xavier is usually rolling that early in the season. Recent years have seen wins over Northern Arizona by 33, Abilene Christian by 28, and Fairleigh Dickinson by an absurd 42.
Plus, it's easy to see to March from November. It's like standing on one side of a deep valley and looking to the other. There's a lot in between, sure, but the end is out there already, and you know you'll make it. November carries with it the promise of brackets waiting to be filled out and the first tickets being punched by jubilant 16 seeds. Xavier looks like a good bet to go dancing and, Selection Sunday heart attacks aside, they usually deliver on the November promise come March. The days may get shorter, but every night is brightened by the knowledge that college ball is on.
Even better than just the usual night games, though, are those WCC matchups that tip off after midnight. Fighting sleep with a cup of coffee while San Diego squares off against Pepperdine is one of the hallmarks of being a true basketball junkie. Firing up Twitter during the game just reveals that you aren't alone. Names like Kyle Collinsworth and Tyler Haws work themselves into your mind long before the rest of the world starts poring over roster in an attempt to make picks about teams you've propped your eyes open to watch.
Yeah, it starts to get cold and, at least up here in NE Ohio, the snowfall is already measurable, but that doesn't matter. College basketball is back, and that's an awesome reason to love November.