It’s March. We have survived February. Everyone take a breath, look around at the other survivors, and share a nod for making it through the worst month of the year.
Xavier has also made it through February, but emerges out the other side a leaking, rattling hulk. When X hit this month they were 16-5 (6-4) and on a two game winning streak. They come out the other side 17-11 (7-10) and on a four game losing streak. The change of mood could hardly be more stark.
The Musketeers still appear in 116 of the 119 brackets in the Bracket Matrix. They are 33rd in the Kevin Pagua Index, 35th in the NET, and 48th in strength of record. They have a better than 65% chance of making the tournament if the season ended now. All of that is decent. The Musketeers still are in the same place as they were last week. Win one game, beat Georgetown, breathe a sigh of relief.
The problem is that the chances to win just one more game before Georgetown have gone by the wayside but for one. X had a great chance to pick up a win in Providence and couldn’t thanks to a leaky roof, terrible officials, and needing 55 minutes to make five three pointers. Back home in front of a crowd that alternated between listless and classless, the Musketeers laid an egg against Seton Hall and got booed off their home court.
Now, the Musketeers have to beat St. John’s. The margin of error built in by a wonderful non-conference and an excellent start to Big East play is gone. Lose to the Red Storm and, almost incomprehensibly, Xavier will have to win games in the Big East tournament to make the NCAA tournament. Lose to Georgetown and they might as well just issue a preemptive statement turning down an NIT bid.
And so we enter March. The worst part of the year is in the rear view, emotional damage still looms dead ahead. If Xavier is going to save their season, they have to start soon. Time has run out.