Thirteen days ago, Xavier was just wrapping up a dramatic victory over Providence. The Muskies were dead and buried with just over a minute left in the game, but a clutch effort from the whole team culminated in a game-wimning three from Colby Jones to give the Muskies the win that took them over .500 in league play.
At that point, the team was on its way to answering a lot of questions. Ben Stanley had just been lost for the year through injury, but Colby Jones has led the team in scoring against St. John's before being the hero against Ed Cooley's boys. Nate Johnson's eye was back in, as he had gone 4-6 from deep. Zach Freemantle had struggled with turnovers but shot 7-13 from inside the arc and 3-4 from the line. We could go down the whole roster like this (4 OReb for Jason Carter! 167 ORtg for Bryan Griffin! 3 assists and 0 TO for Dwon Odom! Adam Kunkel changed the momentum of the game! Et cetera!), but I won't.
(I kind of did.)
Then the curtains came down. Xavier should have been gearing up for a vital stretch of games. Home to Nova would have been a chance at a signature win; Travis Steele doesn't functionally concede this game the way Chris Mack often seemed to. Road trips to Seton Hall and UConm would have been less flashy but arguably more valuable, as they would have both been top Quad 1 games. Georgetown, Butler, and DePaul were all running in wet sand, and Xavier fans would have seen all of these as chances to stockpile wins.
Instead, Xavier is the same 10-2 (3-2) that they were almost two weeks ago.
The worst part of the summer as a Xavier fan is that Xavier isn't playing. I never even thought to take solace in the fact that nobody else was playing either. Now Xavier is in this weird stasis of stops and false starts while the rest of the league battles the same obstacles.
Since dawn on January 11th, 9 of the 11 Big East teams have played at least once, with Georgetown joining Xavier in abstaining. Marquette is 2-0, Butler and St. John's are 2-1. Nobody else has won more than once. Struggling Butler has hit a stride; striding Creighton has started to struggle.
Xavier's next four scheduled games include a trip to the barn at Hinkle and a home-and-home against DePaul sandwiched around a trip to Nova. I have no idea how many of those games will be played or what Xavier will look like after almost three weeks off.
All I know is that we should have been hooping and we haven't been. This is worse than summer.