This is the penultimate one of these that really matters. We will run one on Sunday, but it’s essentially a recap. The amount of bubble games played that day will be minimal. For teams joining Xavier on the bubble, especially those who also crapped both themselves and the bed, the waiting is going to be interminable. Every result could be the difference between dancing, Dayton, and the NIT.
This is how Joe Lunardi sees things as standing at the end of Thursday night. (Well, not the end, but I’m not seeing this UC Riverside-Hawai’i changing things much.) Lunardi isn’t always the most accurate of bracketologists, but this reflects the consensus, and he uses a handy graphic.
Yes, somehow, that is Xavier you see with a chance. It won’t take much to unseat them and, disgustingly, Dayton is one of the teams that could do it, but if the tournament started today, X would be one of the 68 teams picked. Whether you count the play-in games as making the tournament or not I’ll leave up to you.
If Lunardi isn’t your cup of tea, here’s the excellent Lukas Harkins:
Xavier's five Q1 (and nine Q1+2) wins will give them a boost in that department relative to other bubble teams. Musketeers also played a solid NCSOS (124th). I do think that could keep them in Dayton rather than NIT, though other teams can play past them.— Lukas Harkins (@hardwiredsports) March 11, 2022
Zero Q1A wins hurts.
What Xavier Nation needs to do if they want to see this team play again is cheer against the teams in bold below. Cheering against the underdog feels gross, but if you want to cheer for your team again, you’ll get used to it. Keep cheering against anyone who appeared here, as well.
Indiana v Illinois, 11:30AM, Big Ten tournament, BTN
Before the lunch bell even rings, it’s time to start getting your hate on. Thankfully the victim here is Indiana, so it feels good. The Hoosiers are clinging on with Xavier. That changes if they grab a huge Q1.
Another huge one early. A&M probably eliminated Florida on Thursday. Now it’s time for them to shuffle off the bubble. Auburn pounded the Aggies in the regular season. They need to do it again.
North Texas v La Tech, 12:30PM, Conference USA tournament, CBSSN
If the Mean Green lose this, they are done. CUSA is only maybe a two bid conference if North Texas gets to the final and loses there. If they lose here, another team drops off the bubble.
Rutgers v Iowa, 2:00PM, Big Ten tournament, BTN
The Scarlet Knights are a fun story and if they win here you will hear it a lot come next week. I’d rather you just Google it. Go Hawkeyes.
Dayton plays. Cheer against them. They are a bubble team and they are breathing down Xavier’s neck, but you really shouldn’t need that reason to cheer against them.
VCU v Richmond, 8:30PM, A10 tournament, USA
The Rams are closing hard, having won 17 of their last 21. Had they not started 4-4, they’d be sitting pretty. VCU cannot afford to lose to anyone but Davidson or Dayton in the A10 tournament. If Davidson loses to Fordham they are out and VCU is a step closer to making their at large case academic.
Personally, I think the Sooners beating Baylor was probably the nail in the coffin for Xavier, but both Harkins and Lunardi disagree. If Oklahoma wins here they will definitely take a bid, and they will have earned it.
Tech did X a favor by dumping Notre Dame yesterday. That puts the Irish in serious trouble but doesn’t put the Hokies in just yet. If they beat the Tar Heels though, they are moving up the lines.
Keep cheering against Wyoming and Saint Louis. Both of those teams could give the committee something to think about if they get knocked out in a conference final. It’s far better for the bubble they lose before then. TCU and Creighton probably locked up bids on Thursday.
Three days to go.