It’s Championship Week. Last year, that meant the possibility of facing down Villanova and cutting down some nets. This year, it means a game that will likely extend from Wednesday night into early Thursday. That game must be won just to get to another game that really most likely must be won. Most of the latest bracketology updates have Xavier clinging to one of the final four spots in the tournament.
That means that in games like tonight’s WCC semifinals, Xavier fans are stuck cheering for chalk regardless of how compelling a BYU-Gonzaga final might be. Each bid stolen this year is one less that X can get, and the margin is slim in the utmost. Buckle up, this is going to be a crazy week.
Brad: Well, that's the regular season done for. Rather than competing with Nova to win it, we're playing on the opening day of the conference tournament. Did you see anything today that gave you some hope for the week to come?
Joel: Yeah, I saw Wednesday's opponent. We didn't look like world beaters, but we're playing DePaul again except on a neutral court. The ball stuck, we shot too many threes, we had foul trouble, we only kind of defended... and we beat them by 14 today. We're not great; they're bad.
Thursday, if we get there, will be a different story. Another 13-21 from the line then and we're sweating out Selection Sunday.
Brad: We definitely weren't good. That scoreline really flatters to deceive. The way that we played today does not beat Butler. We need to find something else out there. Focusing on the post would probably be the way to go. We should be tough enough down there to hold off Butler, but we can't keep chucking threes and hoping for the best. That's assuming, of course, that we can beat DePaul again.
Bryan: Watching today's game was almost as frustrating as watching a loss because of how bad we are at half court offense. I think this is far from the least talented X team I have seen, but there are a lot of X teams in the past the would have beaten them because they knew what they did well and they stuck to that.
This team either doesn't know what it does well or it doesn't care because there were way too many bad shots early in the shot clock that were either contested or from a spot where we could have an open shot anytime. DePaul is pretty bad at defense and we made them look competent with the decisions we made. This team could be a lot better on offense if they could just make better decisions, but it seemed like there was a lot of "whatever, I'll chuck it from here" today when they were clearly there for the taking inside.
Brad: n this team's defense, they are having to learn on the fly what it is they do well. After Myles left, Tre and Ed knew it was their team to lead and X, with a bit of a hiccup, got rolling. Then Ed got hurt and Tre just loaded everyone on his back. Then he got hurt. Our last remaining uninjured "big gun" is a guy who barely played 20 mpg a game last year off the bench. That's not to entirely excuse not hammering the ball inside today, but it is to excuse it a little.
Brad: In a slightly different topic, how much attention is anyone paint to the bubble already? I've found myself already watching games and trying to figure out who needs to win and who needs to lose to strengthen our position.
Joel: I'm definitely already cheering for chalk. I know it's not the fun way to live in March, but we can't be having at-large bids stolen on us. Maybe if I knew we'd win two or three BET games I'd feel differently, but I don't know that at all. Even if we sneak in the back door, it's hard to be excited about our tournament prospects.
Brad: It's all matchups, isn't it? If we get a team that's soft inside or doesn't board, we have a punchers chance. If we get a team with athletic guards that can drive, it could be really bad.