As I may have previously mentioned, summer seems interminable to me. Like a stranded mariner on a long forgotten shore, I wait for the sails of basketball season to appear over the horizon, hull down at first, but eventually materializing into rescue from the doldrums of heat and humidity. (I also, apparently, compose overwrought opening paragraphs).
With less than 14 weeks separating us from tip off, it seems as good a time as any to start getting into the oncoming season, getting to know our players, old and new, and familiarizing ourselves with how basketball has changed since Xavier last trudged off the court. Here’s how Banners on the Parkway is going to take on the new season.
Know Your Non-Conference Opponent
We’ll start with a look at who Xavier plays before Big East play gets rolling. This year that means teams running the competition gamut from Jacksonville to UC and TCU, with possible games against Florida, Miami, and UConn scattered along the way. Perennial foe Missouri makes another appearance, fresh from being the nadir of last season, and Western Carolina is there to be the last cupcake before things get serious. We’ll dedicate time to each team.
You may know what to expect from Naji Marshall, but what of Dieonte Miles and Bryce Moore? We’ll try to give you a best and worst case scenario for each player, familiarize you with what the incoming players will try to do, and figure out how Xavier turned into a team loaded with height.
Big East Breakdown
Perhaps even more important than non-conference play to Xavier is how they fare in the Big East. Gone are the days where the hay was made before January and all that was left form then until March was holding on and beating Dayton. Villanova is the boss until someone beats them, and Providence nearly shook free of their questionable coaching situation, but that’s hardly all that has happened in the Big East since the last time Naji Marshall got called for a charge that wasn’t.
By this point our proverbial ship of the season will be casting off the ropes. Each member of the staff (and if you’d like that to be you, drop us a line on Twitter or email), will make predictions for each game and for the season. After that, we’ll finally be playing in earnest.