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.
First off, I'm not hating on a national holiday here. Thanksgiving is actually, basketball aside, the preferred holiday of Banners staff. The whole family is together for a few days, there's plenty of really good food, and there are fun family traditions as opposed to the traditions that everyone hates. No, Thanksgiving is a great holiday.
Until Xavier tips off. The Musketeers have taken to playing a tournament over the holiday in recent years and, well, it hasn't gone well. It doesn't seem to matter how talented the team, how well they are playing coming in, or where they end up in March, Xavier is dreadful over the Thanksgiving break. In 2013 the team went 2-1 but lost to Pacific and barely beat powerhouses from Drexel and Drake. In 2014 it was an 0-3 complete capitulation capped by a loss to a terrible USC team. Last year it was 1-2, a win over San Diego overshadowed by losses to UTEP and a Long Beach State team that Xavier had beaten by 23 two weeks prior.
So that's a glittering 3-6 record over the last three years in Thanksgiving tournaments. The best win in there was over the 114th best team in the KenPom rankings (Drake in '13, San Diego last year). The worst loss came to that dreadful 163rd ranked USC team in 2014. Go back to 2010 and you find another 1-2 showing. Xavier tried a Christmas tournament in 2012 and went 1-2 in that as well.
So, sit back and enjoy your food on Thanksgiving. Go pick a Christmas tree, take pictures with people you only see a couple of times a year, and hope for another ButtFumble or something of that ilk. When Xavier comes on though, brace for the worst. The Musketeers struggle over the holiday and that's why, at least in terms of basketball, we hate Thanksgiving.