There are two basic ways to beat a team and completely demoralize it at the same time, and both are beautiful. One is to jump to a lead from the word go, run up through the gears, and slowly fade into the distance while the opponent spends the second half in a daze, wondering where it all went wrong. The other is to fight them tooth and nail the whole way, have the game sincerely hanging in the balance well after the final media timeout, then rips their guts out right at the end, leaving their cheerleaders and piccolo players in tears on the sidelines. Of course, like every coin with which I'm familiar, this one has a flip side.
Occasionally the other guys come up big (or our guys just come up small), and the play that turns out to be the game's hinge also functions to slam the door in your face. Those moments are significantly less fun, but they are still part of the story of the season. Think of your favorite analogy about threads and tapestries and insert it here.
All these moments happened over the past season. Since we don't have a current season to talk about, we're going to keep talking about the off season and the most recent past season. Over the next few days, we'll look at the top five plays for Xavier in win probability added, as well as the five that most decreased Xavier's chances of winning. All win prob numbers will come from Ken Pomeroy, and all game log info will be courtesy of ESPN.
I'm not sure if this has anything to teach us or not, but we'll figure it out if it does. If nothing else, it will give us a chance relive some of the tightest games from last year and take a deeper dive into the plays that made them pivot one way or the other. It also gets us just a hair closer to the season tipping off for real.