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The Case for Hope: Does it even matter?

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Xavier is in a bad place for an NCAA tournament that may not even happen.

NCAA Basketball: Big East Tournament-Xavier vs DePaul
Cough with your mouth closed, Bryce!
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA tournament is likely going to be cancelled. Brace yourselves for that. As a lifelong college basketball fan, that is a tough pill to swallow. It’s undoubtedly the right thing to do for public health and to prevent the spread of a currently untreatable virus, but it sucks. The Big 10, Pac-12, American, SEC, MAC, WAC, Conference USA, and Atlantic 10 have canceled their conference tournaments.

If it does go on, what does Xavier’s loss to DePaul last night do to their chances? Well, nothing good. Xavier was in with a win. All they had to do was knock off a Q2 team that finished 3-15 in conference play and sits in the mid 90s in the KenPom rankings. Instead, they spit the bit and lost in the first round of the Big East tournament for the first time ever.

One thing that certainly happened was that Xavier lost any chance of missing Dayton. If this thing happens and Xavier gets in, they’d almost certainly be playing in front of no one in UD Arena. In some sense, that seems like a fitting end to this season. On Bracket Matrix Xavier is still in 149 of 156 brackets as of the last update. The Musketeers stand right on the cut line, though, so one result either way could bump them right out of the (possible) field.

If Bart Torvik and his teamcast tool is more your speed, Xavier is in basically the same position that most bracketologists have them. Torvik would have Xavier in Dayton as the highest seeded of the teams not earning a spot in the actual field.

ESPN’s Bubble Watch says of Xavier’s game, “That goes into the books as a Quad 2 defeat, which, ordinarily need not be disastrous. A projected NCAA tournament No. 11 seed like the Musketeers, however, cannot afford to take these chances.” Over on NBC from Rob Dauster, “The Musketeers lost the game that they couldn’t afford to lose, falling to DePaul in the first round of the Big East tournament, and suddenly this team looks like they are in some real trouble... They are not in a comfortable spot.”

So Xavier’s position is tenuous, in a tournament that is tenuous, in a nation where currently everything is rather tenuous. That’s essentially all we can know.