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Sunday Conversation is ready to #RunTheTable

From dead and buried to joint third in the league table, Xavier has done everything they needed to in the past three weeks. Now it’s time to close it out.

Villanova v Xavier Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Joel

Another week, another big win. This team is a ton of fun to watch right now. Naji is scalding hot, the bigs are doing work... everything is clicking. I don’t want to look too far ahead, but Butler is in a nose dive and we just beat St. John’s at their place without Elias Harden. How are we feeling about closing this thing out?

Bryan

I am nervous but excited. If I am feeling nerves at this point, I can only imagine how the players are feeling, but if they keep doing the things they are good at, these next two are winnable. I still think that leaves work to be done at MSG, but that is a discussion for next week.

Joel

There hasn’t been too much pucker time during this hot stretch. Creighton was obviously nervy. Seton Hall had the ball down one with a chance to win after we somehow let them back in. Other than that, we handled Providence, slapped 17-0 on Nova, and walked away from St. John’s. It’s like watching an entirely different team.

Brad

If we win the next two, I’ll entertain at large talk. Given that I would have completely discounted that three weeks ago, I think that’s huge progress. That said, I genuinely still think we need the auto bid. Getting caught up in these last two weeks is making some people overlook how bad the overall resume still is.

Joel

DePaul just ran St. Johnathan’s off the floor late behind a 40 piece from Max “Is Your Sister Single?” Strus. Xavier is now tied with Georgetown for third in the league, and Georgetown closes with road trips to DePaul and Marquette. X has a roadie with Butler (1-4 in their last 5) and home to St. John’s (all the way in reverse). This is an opportunity beyond what I thought was possible three weeks ago. It’s right there.

Brad

It’s incredible how this has set up for us. X has done the heavy lifting, but the rest of the pack has come racing back. About 10 days ago you used the image of Xavier being the hand reaching up out of a swirl of bodies. Suddenly, it’s a lot better than that. Lunardi has us next four out, some other dude has us first four out. It’s madness.

Joel

Madness? Holy cow, I just got a great marketing idea for NCAA basketball this month!

Brad

Make sure you run it by Rothstein.

Seriously though, this is crazy. By all rights Xavier should be dead and buried right now.

Joel

In a sense yes, because they were 11-13. On the other hand, how many times were we in the A10 sweating out some high-major with exactly 20 wins possibly ruining everything for us? This isn’t unprecedented for the bubble, it’s just unprecedented for us. If we get to 20 wins, I think our resume merits inclusion.

Brad

That would be a white knuckle Selection Sunday. I still think we need the auto bid, but if I’m opening my mind to the bubble idea, we need the Big East final. Any loss between now and then does for us in my opinion.

Joel

We’re basically saying the same thing. At least 20 wins on Selection Sunday means we either took the auto bid or lost in the final. Making the final and losing really puts us at the mercy of bid pirates and the whim of the committee. The auto bid is the only safe path.

But danged if we aren’t making a thing of it.

Brad

I think it will also depend on who we see between now and the final. Getting there without beating Marquette or Nova probably still leaves us needing the auto, but either of them will likely add another Q1 win to the resume.

Bryan

Bid thievery is another issue as well. As far as I know, the WCC, WAC, and SOCON are the main mid majors to keep an eye on. Who else do we look out for? The AAC? The MAC?

Joel

Toledo is an interesting case in the MAC. They probably need the auto bid, but they might be able to sneak in if they make the final and lose to Buffalo. Anyone other than those two winning it is a definite bid pirate. Pull for Toledo to lose early and Buffalo to roll.

In the AAC, UC and Houston are definitely in. UCF could fall out, and Temple is lingering on the periphery. That’s one to pull for chalk in. As the conference tournaments get rolling, the bubble cheering guide will be some complicated reading.

I love this time of year, and I love this team as a whole and each individual personally for having us - somehow - back in the mix.