Today dawned grey, cool, and breezy in NE Ohio. In other words, it was almost perfect. Xavier’s basketball schedule is all but set, and what a day to announce it. If you didn’t get a little tingle looking at that game on November 9th and knowing that every behind it is almost ready to go, I can’t help you.
The reason that everything is nearly set behind that is because the Big East released their schedule today. Xavier has their earliest ever conference opener when they take on Marquette at home exactly a week before Christmas. Games are spaced out for the holidays after that, with a visit to Villanova and UConn at the Cintas wrapping up a brutal stretch to end December.
Xavier’s Big East schedule is tough because it is the Big East, but there is no murderous stretch this year that is apparent from the off. No six game span suggests that getting through at 3-3 would be a great accomplishment. A Villanova-Creighton back to back in early January is bookended by games against Butler and DePaul. (And yes, that means Xavier done with Nova after just six games in conference.) A run of at UConn, at Providence, home to Seton Hall has a St. John’s game on either end.
There are no easy games in the Big East, but at least Xavier has avoided anything that leaps off the page as being potentially season ending. That also means that the pressure is on Coach Travis Steele. Each of Xavier’s last two seasons has come undone when the team stumbled at a vital stretch in the schedule. Last season, that meant dumping five of seven down the stretch. (All Covid caveats still apply.) In the 19-20 season X started the Big East slate with a rugged eight game stretch in which they lost six. That time, there were no Butler or DePaul games to break up the pounding. This year there are, and that just means one more excuse is gone.
The full schedule is below or right here, but has no times or television as yet. Rest assured that most if not all of Xavier’s games will be available for your viewing pleasure. As per recent practice, the Musketeers will be in action around Thanksgiving to make the leftover turkey sandwiches in front of the tele that much better.