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Gearing up for a huge week

Xavier has played themselves to a point where two road games really, really matter.

Syndication: The Enquirer
No time for resting on our laurels
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

It hasn’t been that long since the idea of Xavier playing in late March seemed a little farfetched. Go back into any fans mentions and you’ll find others bemoaning a season that seemed to have gone off the rails. Joel proclaimed last week The Most Important Week in the History of the World and Xavier (just) took care of business. Welcome, then, to The Most Important Week in the History of the World: Part Two.

This isn’t a cheesy reboot, this is one of those franchises where the second one could very well be better. Xavier travels to Creighton and to UConn this week. They do so to take on two legitimate Final Four contenders. Creighton has beaten Alabama this season and bounced back from their loss to UConn by beating Seton Hall on the road. UConn are the reigning champs and haven’t done anything to tarnish that.

It’s hard to say what scraping past a dreadful Georgetown team will do for Xavier in the coming week. Momentum is good, but beating the Hoyas after leading for barely a minute is less than ideal. Still, that job is done and the big one looms. When Joel first looked at what Xavier needed to do he had the upcoming games listed under The Big Swings. Both of these can have a huge impact on the Musketeers resume come Selection Sunday. Right now Xavier is at -0.8 wins above bubble. Grab either of these games and they’ll essentially reduce that to even.

While Xavier remains strong in the predictive metrics like KenPom and Torvik, they have some serious work to do in the result based metrics like KPI (51st) and strength of record (72nd). Both of those are on the team sheet on Selection Sunday and neither is one where you want a number hanging below the fold. Part of the comes from the two bad losses that loom over this season, part of that comes from only having five Q1/Q2 wins.

X is 2-5 in Q1 this season. A lot of those are close losses, but that doesn’t matter. Come out of this week 3-6 or even, somehow, 4-5 and suddenly things look a lot different. The Musketeers need to get one of these games. Getting two would shoot the Musketeers up the projections and change the entire tenor of the season. It’s The Most Important Week again. These will just keep coming until Xavier spins one of them into gold.