Before any discussion of what has to happen, how Xavier helped themselves, or what this win means: Tyrique Jones.
Tyrique was inhuman Saturday morning (what a stupid time for a game). He grabbed 24.6% of all misses in the game. If someone missed, Tyrique was there a quarter of the time. That is absolutely ludicrous. He did that despite playing only three quarters of the minutes. Assuming the miss rate stayed the same while he was on the court, he grabbed one of every three misses while he was out there. Toss in a handy 9-10 from the floor and four blocks and it was unquestionably Tyrique Jones that hauled Xavier to the win the desperately needed.
About that. This week NBC's Rob Dauster said that Xavier needed to win one, possibly two, of the Seton Hall, Butler (x2), and Villanova games. At the first time of asking, the first hurdle is cleared. Per NET there are only 13 better roads wins available in college ball than picking one up at Seton Hall. The importance of this win cannot be overstated.
Earlier this week we had an article and podcast dedicated to what Xavier could do based on the reasonable assumption they won every game Ken Pomeroy gave them a better than 40% chance in. Ken gave them a 14% chance against Seton Hall by the numbers, so we counted that as a loss. That projection ended with Xavier one spot out of the field after a first round BET win.*
Well now that changes, and drastically. Assuming that no other results change, not even a projected loss to DePaul, Xavier now sits in a much improved position. From outside the field even after grabbing a 21st (that BET game) win, Xavier is now in.
It's not in by a lot, but it is in. In the up to date projection Xavier is the last team in even before any BET results. Add in a Big East win and... Xavier becomes the penultimate in. What does that mean? Essentially that Xavier is clinging to the bubble right now, but at least it is the right side of the bubble. Mix things up a bit by having the Musketeers beat DePaul and SJU on the road and they could land a bye. Keep the sim the same but add a vital second BET win and X could skate to relative safety.
The Musketeers are still in a precarious spot. One win will not save them from the damage already done. If you have imagined this season like a hole, though, the Musketeers now have a ladder out. All they have to do is climb.
*All projections thanks to Bart Torvik and his Teamcast tool.