So... someone make the case that we beat Villanova on Wednesday.
Well after our game today, Kenpom is now predicting that we win. After what happened last time we played and this now being a top 5 matchup, this team is going to come out as fired up as they've ever been. I think win the hustle stats and win the game.
The sheer volume of threes they throw up there scares me; they've got plenty of guys who could get hot and Tre Campbell us without a second thought. They also lead the conference in two-point and free throw shooting. They're the most efficient offense in the Big East.
Butler is the other top offense in the Big East, and we just came out of zipping them up at their place. If we can put together a performance like that, I'd reckon we have a shot at Nova. If we knock them off and then win at a suddenly formidable Seton Hall, is there a case for Xavier as #1?
If we do that, it is hard to make a better case for a #1 seed than us. Butler gave Nova a scare today, I think the key will be the defensive focus X showed today. Everyone was aware of shooters and mismatches and made things very difficult for an offense that did a number on the 1-3-1 last time. If X commits on the defensive end like that again, it will be a good game. If not, Nova will walk away with it again.
Nova's inside my head. Let's change the subject.
Grayson Allen took an elbow to the face today, and you didn't have to stray very far into the internet to find a lot of people who were pretty happy about it. It was in the moment that I started to be happy along with them that I realized the rest of the Big East feels about JP the way most of the college basketball world feels about Grayson Allen. Teams with multiple national championships have fanbases that legitimately hate one of our guys! If that doesn't mean we've arrived, I don't know what else could.
I was in my car all day yesterday, part of that with a new guy who is not aware of my affinity for Xavier. I had the iHeartRadio going when he got in and as soon as he heard the name Myles Davis he said "oh, is Xavier on up here?" Given that the dude is a sports fan but not a diehard college ball fan, I thought that instant name recognition was pretty cool. So, along with fanbases that hate JP, Xavier is showing other signs of being a team that people genuinely know.
Did you know Miles Davis is actually also the name of a famous musician? Because every color man we get is fascinated by that fact. Speaking in terms of national recognition, I think it says a lot that we are hosting the #1 team in a game the it would not be shocking if we won. We have beat #1 before, but this time it seems like it would not be that major of an upset, which says a lot about where we are now.
Coach Mack is gaining some steam as a national Coach of the Year candidate, which also speaks to how far we've come. I was talking on Twitter with one of out followers about making the Final Four; at this point, it seems like it's just a matter of time until we break through. Thirty years have seen us rise from nobody to plucky mid-major to perennial tournament team to where we are now, a nascent powerhouse.
Just for some perspective, last year's 2/22 Sunday Conversation centered around our first 2-0 week in conference play and if 2-1 plus a win in the conference tournament would get us into the NCAA tournament. We're distinctly a different team this year. This might not end being our best tournament, but there's little doubt this has been our best regular season to this point.
So running with that, what seed do we get if we go 2-1 the rest of the way and go to the BE championship game again. First if we lose to Nova Wednesday but beat them at MSG, and secondly if we lose to Nova twice? Does it make a difference for you? Obviously if we run the table we have to be a 1 seed, but does splitting with Nova get us there?
My scenarios are as follows:
- Need to beat Nova twice to get a 1 seed, which would include winning the BE tournament.
- Any scenario where we beat Nova once puts XU pretty firmly as a 2 seed, so long as we don't find a way to lose against both Creighton and Seton Hall.
- Losing to Nova on Wednesday probably drops XU to a borderline 3 seed with the opportunity to get back to a 2 if they can win 4-5 straight afterwards, including a run and some decent wins in the BE tournament.
I think we could enter Selection Sunday without winning again and have a 4 at worst. This is an amazing feeling.
I think two wins over Nova gets us a 1 even if we lose to Seton Hall. If we win the BET without beating Nova in it, that probably gets us there as well.
I think a more likely scenario is a two seed and a split with Nova as long as we win the games we should. If we drop both to Nova, I think we're on that 2/3 line depending on what happens around us.