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Xavier has arrived as a national power

This is fairly stream of consciousness, for whatever that's worth.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As I was trying to put my exuberantly uncooperative two-year-old to bed last night, I let my mind carry me to somewhere far, far away from the frustrations of the moment. Particularly, I let it carry me to the time between the final horn of the NCAA championship game and the annual One Shining Moment montage. In my imagination, the camera panned down to a gleeful Jalen Reynolds, a satisfied Coach Mack, and the entire rest of the Xavier roster, staff, and assorted support.

That's when it hit me: Xavier has made it as a national power.

If you recall a few years back, Butler carried the underdog's mantle to within inches of a national title. They were tracked the whole way by a narrative-hungry media that delightedly lapped up every story of the Horizon League and the Butler Way and everything that surrounds a mid-major making a run to the third weekend of the tournament.

The storyline just isn't there with Xavier anymore. Nobody is saying the phrase "the scrappy underdog from the Big East." Xavier plays 18 conference games a year, and they're all going to be on TV. Teams from the Big East are supposed to win championships; it's more of a story when nobody from the league makes a deep run than when multiple teams do. There's no sense in which Xavier will be coming out of nowhere; almost no other program gets to the Sweet 16 as regularly as Xavier has under Coach Mack.

It's not like Xavier is an unheralded group of players who came together through the use of a montage. Coach Mack isn't pulling in two-star recruits and forging them into effective pieces as juniors and seniors. If you're watching recruiting at all, you've noticed that X is bringing in players that 99% of other programs would love to have. Guys are showing up on campus ready to contribute and expected to be able to compete at a high level early in their careers. Three-star players are becoming more of a rare breed as the best recruits in the Midwest drop in on campus to check things out.

When Xavier eventually breaks through to the Final Four and then the national championship, it won't be on the back of a miracle run or surrounded by the media whose hopes for a great story the Muskies crushed by beating Georgia State last season. It will just be as a very good team that has won four games in a row and is looking to make it six.