Back to earth, sports fans! As awesome as last night was, when the story of this season is written it will be a footnote to a footnote. The Big East Tournament - in which Xavier just clinched no worse than a second seed - is coming down the pike, and beyond that is the NCAA Tournament (perhaps you've heard of it?). Rightly or not, history is written in March in college basketball, and the first step towards that history is filling out the bracket. Here is how KenPom would do it if his numbers made the picks. First the s-curve:
|2||WICHITA ST.||KENTUCKY||North Carolina||Oklahoma|
|4||Iowa St.||Purdue||Miami FL||ARIZONA|
|8||Seton Hall||SAINT JOSEPH'S||VALPARAISO||Wisconsin|
|9||GONZAGA||Texas Tech||ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK||USC|
|13||STONY BROOK||SAN DIEGO ST.||STEPHEN F. AUSTIN||MONMOUTH|
|14||CHATTANOOGA||AKRON||UNC WILMINGTON||SOUTH DAKOTA ST.|
|15||UAB||NEW MEXICO ST.||BELMONT||UNC ASHEVILLE|
|16||BUCKNELL||WAGNER||NORTH FLORIDA||WEBER ST.|
|First 4 out||Creighton||Clemson||Princeton||Florida St.|
|Next 4 out||Providence||BYU||Georgia Tech||Houston|
And the complete bracket:
How about the work Greg Gard is getting done at Wisconsin? The Badgers were well off the bottom of the radar a month and a half ago; now they've won 9 of 10 and are off the other side of the KenPom bubble. With wins at home against Michigan State and Indiana and on the road against Maryland and Iowa, Wisconsin has put together an impressive resume. If they hold it together down the stretch, they'll hear their names called on CBS during the selection show.
Xavier's slow climb continues, but the surprise loss of Creighton against Marquette and Georgetown's miserable slog to the finish line of an incredibly disappointing season are dragging down the value of Xavier's two worst losses. When you're where Xavier is now, one ugly loss loses you a lot more ground in the KenPom than a handful of wins can bring you back. In the meantime, Xavier is down to its last two regular season games of the year, the Big East is still not decided, and there's still a one seed in real life to be played for.