First, the visual:
Now, the words:
Xavier takes on Florida in the first game. That one will hit your television at 530 pm on Thanksgiving Day on ESPN2. That puts it up against a football game and right after Brazil v. Serbia at the World Cup. Thanksgiving, by the way, is LOADED with sports. There will be three American football games, four World Cup games, and plenty of basketball all day long. Xavier’s time slot lands it as something of the evening showpiece for the day.
Florida wasn’t a great team last season, but this will end as a Q1 game. Xavier will have four games under their collective belt at that point, with only the Indiana home game being a potentially quality opponent. That changes on Thanksgiving. Winning against Florida is important, because it will, most likely, give the Musketeers a crack at Duke the next day.
Win that one and X is in the final, most likely against Purdue, West Virginia, or Gonzaga. Lose the potential game against Duke and Xavier gets one of those three in a consolation game. All three games would be against quality opponents in the above scenario. Lose to Florida in the first round and the Musketeers suddenly face the prospect of playing Oregon State with the hope that a win there gets them another crack at a good opponent on the last day.
The import of the Phil Knight Legacy, not to be confused with the Phil Knight Invitational running concurrently, is that it gives the Musketeers a good shot at high quality opponents early. The roster is pretty much set at this point, so this will be a first solid measuring stick on what Sean Miller (Sean Miller!) can get from this team.