I first read Catch-22 when I was 14 years old. Heller’s masterpiece is not a good choice for a 14 year old, and it isn’t one my parents were aware I was making. Yossarian was then, and remains, one of my heroes of literature. He hates good people and bad people with equal venom. He both cares deeply and doesn’t care at all. Colonel Korn says of him, “Now you’ve given them hope, and they’re unhappy. So the blame is all yours.” Perhaps I am now your Yossarian. Perhaps the sadness Xavier Nation feels today is because I spent the last month writing there was hope. You are all Snowden and my only option is to nude up and fly once more over the remains of what I once loved.
Xavier lost last night. They couldn’t afford to lose. If you still insist that they could make the tournament, you must recognize that they are hanging on the cut line. There are no teams below them. Xavier’s margin of error is utterly and completely gone, sucked irretrievably into all the errors they have made including that gloriously incomprehensible 53 seconds when the season went up in smoke and missed free throws. If you see a team in bold below, cheer for them to lose. Cheer for the void that overtakes us all.
Indiana v Michigan, Noon, Big Ten tournament, BTN
An immediate issue with the cheer for the teams in bold to lose strategy is that both of these are bubble teams. A win here and Michigan is likely in. Indiana hovers right around Xavier. Pull for the Hoosiers to lose or, if you prefer to be a positive person, cheer for Michigan and Juwan Howard to win.
Also pull for Butler to lose in the noon tips. The Bulldogs are going nowhere, but we need there to be exactly zero bid thieves. Also, cheering against Butler is why God put us on earth.
Texas A&M being in the SEC is stupid. The Gators winning this game could be a big blow to Xavier. Both of these teams are on the bubble; the one that loses is done. The Aggies can do the Musketeers a favor by eliminating a bubble team here.
The Horned Frogs should be in regardless of what happens here, but a loss would at least give the committee a reason to think. There’s not really a lot of bubble drama here, but this is the situation Xavier fans find themselves in.
Saint Louis v La Salle, 2:30, A10 tournament, USA
The Billikens need a deep run to really have a bubble argument. They can’t have that if they just go ahead and do the decent thing here.
Marquette v Creighton, 2:30, Big East tournament, FS1
The Bluejays are probably in, but they are floating on the bubble along with Xavier. Marquette isn’t a bad loss at all and losing to them shouldn’t eliminate a team. but testing the committee this close to Selection Sunday is never a good idea. At least this wouldn’t be a bad loss like a team blowing a six point lead to Butler in the final minute. That would be crazy!
Boston College v Miami, 2:30PM, ACC tournament, ESPN2
The Hurricanes are right in there with Creighton and Xavier. The purpose of these games is to just not give the reason for the committee to keep you out. Winning doesn’t really help so much as losing to garbage team that went 13-18 in the regular season would be stupid and make your own fans hate you.
Wyoming v UNLV, 5:30PM, MWC tournament, CBSSN
A loss here dumps the Cowboys out and frees up a spot. There’s not a lot else to say. I don’t want to cheer against teams like Wyoming, but 13-29 will do that to you.
Oklahoma v Baylor, 7:00PM, Big 12 tournament, ESPN
A win here probably gets the Sooners in. A loss eliminates them. It’s that simple.
Notre Dame is closer to being a sure thing, Virginia Tech is a team that is clinging on the bubble but that Xavier beat. A Tech loss eliminates them, a tech win means that Xavier’s resume gets a little boost. You decide which you want.
Some people consider Virginia a bubble team, so cheer against them. They are a long way off, though. Just something to keep an eye on.
Like Yossarian, we remain never without misery, and never without hope.