Saturday’s revival has become Tuesday’s dead cat bounce. For 48 glorious hours Xavier fans could revel in the though that their team had done enough to get into the tournament with only two relatively simple games left. As Wednesday morning dawned, that optimism had been snuffed.
Xavier just needed to beat a Georgetown team that is decent but unspectacular to essentially punch their ticket. For ten minutes of basketball they looked very capable of doing exactly that, outplaying the Hoyas on both ends of the floor and easily outscoring them. Unfortunately, X didn’t choose to do this until first spending 30 minutes digging themselves a 19 point hole. While the coaching has been criticized recently, this one was all down to execution. Even after Xavier’s late run they shot a dreadful 38.2% inside the arc for the game.
In a game where Jason Carter doesn’t score, Paul Scruggs gets five before fouling out, and Dwon Odom has three turnovers to go with no assists it’s going to be hard to win regardless of what the coach has set out to do. Travis Steele seemed appropriately livid at the final whistle. It’s worth noting that ESPN’s coaching hot seat watch was nearly 5000 words long and didn’t mention the Xavier job even once.
ESPN’s bubble watch was not nearly so kind to the Musketeers. “Travis Steele’s team was envisioned as a No. 11 seed prior to the loss at Georgetown. Now the Musketeers are hanging by a thread, and the season finale at Marquette takes on added importance.” Added importance is one way of saying that if Xavier loses to Marquette they will need to win the Big East Tournament to get in. A win at Marquette isn’t season defining, but does add another positive mark in the Q2 column.
Jerry Palm at CBS now has Xavier down on the 10 seed line, the lowest he has had them since bubble action began. Most other major services have yet to update this morning, but it’s fair to assume that Xavier will be hanging right on the cut line. Graham Doeren has X as a 10, 1-3-1 has them as an 11, Shelby’s Bracket has Xavier as a 10, but on the cut line. These three are notable because they both come out early, and are listed on the Bracket Matrix as having exceptionally high accuracy.
Finally, we come to the mathematical stylings of Bart Torvik. Per Torvik’s calculations the committee will currently have Xavier as a 12 seed and the penultimate team in the tournament. That means a play in game before getting into the real thing on Friday and Saturday. Beat Marquette and Xavier... stays in the play in games. The damage done by the loss to Georgetown has been significant. Do a bit of projection and a win over Marquette could see Xavier playing Seton Hall in the second round of the BET. That game could be the decider of Xavier’s season.