TI’s cousin used to tell him to take this [stuff] a day at a time. While the King of the South may not have been in reference to college basketball in Rubber Band Man, that particular mantra definitely applies for Xavier this year.
Right now, X is 47th in the NET. While that’s well below the essential sure thing line of 37th, it’s well within the range where a team might make the tournament. Last year six teams below 47th on Selection Sunday made it in to the tournament. It’s worth noting that none of them had two Q3 losses, but three of them did have a Q4. So far, so good.
In more results based metrics that will appear on a team’s nitty gritty (I didn’t name that) sheet on March 17th are the KPI and SOR. Xavier is 60th in the KPI and 65th in the SOR. Providence was 66th in the KPI and got a bid last year. It’s better to be in the top 50, but holding serve at home should accomplish that for the Musketeers. 65th in the SOR is not a good place to be. Let’s leave that where it is.
The Teamcast has Xavier as the fifth team out of the tournament right now with a 12.4% chance of making the tournament if it started today. The tournament doesn’t start today, though. Win the home games and Georgetown away and that jumps to a 77% chance of making the tournament before the Big East Tournament even starts. A guarantee? No, but a definite positive.
So, what does all that mean? Specifically, it means that Xavier needs to be Nova tomorrow. The Wildcats won’t be a Q1 game, but they are still a high Q2. Villanova had lost five in a row, but then they bludgeoned Providence at home. They remain a formidable opponent that also needs to start stacking wins in order to make the tournament.
There is a lot of season left for Xavier. The Musketeers took care of business behind Quincy Olivari on Sunday in Chicago. Taking things a day at a time is the only way to finish this out. Beat Nova tomorrow and see how things shape up after that. The opportunities will keep coming, X just has to keep taking them.