Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Xavier Basketball Won’t Make The Big Dance

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5 Reasons Why Xavier Basketball Won't Make the Big Dance

Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Xavier Won't Make the Big Dance
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The Xavier Musketeers were once a perennial basketball powerhouse, and they became an obvious choice for the NCAA tournament. One would think a move to the Big East wouldn’t make a difference. Wrong. Xavier’s struggles in the new conference have put them in a position where winning the conference tournament is their only way of playing in March Madness.

Xavier is having a decent season, but it may not be good enough for them to earn an at-large bid in March. The problem isn’t their 19-9 record, it’s their 9-6 conference record combined with some really ugly losses holding them back.

Though quality wins against Cincinnati, St. John’s and Tennessee help. The losses to Seton Hall, Georgetown and Pac-12 cellar dweller USC will certainly hurt their chances. It also doesn’t help they split the season series with Tennessee, Georgetown, Providence and Marquette.

Three of their losses came against nationally-ranked teams, including the 58-81 blowout to Villanova. However, the worst has to be the 78-84 setback to USC; USC has an RPI ranking of 167.

Xavier can’t afford to lose anymore ground. They’re barely holding onto third place over Marquette, Providence, St. John’s and Georgetown. Xavier has three games left, so it’s too late for them to overtake Villanova for the regular season title, as they're four games behind.

Xavier has a tough road ahead to close out the season. Two of their next three opponents come against nationally-ranked Villanova and Creighton. Xavier will also be looking to avenge their 60-68 home loss to Seton Hall in a March 3 rematch.

For the last 10 years, Xavier has eight appearances under their belt but missed last year’s tournament for the first time since 2005. The March Madness drought could extend into this season if they lose any more games and fail to reach the conference championship.

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5. Losing To Seton Hall

Seton Hall
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Getting blown out by 23 to conference rival and sixth-ranked Villanova is bad, but losing by eight to Seton Hall at home is worse. Seton Hall sits near the bottom of the Big East with a 5-11 conference record. Xavier's impressive 13-game home winning streak ended with the 60-68 loss to a team that has an RPI ranking of 136 in the nation.

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4. The Loss To Lowly USC

Loss to USC
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The 78-84 loss to USC will have a big impact when the NCAA selection committee looks at Xavier’s key losses. Xavier had a tough time catching USC in this game despite cutting a 23-point deficit. The fact that they allowed USC to even take such a big lead will certainly hurt their chances of getting an at-large bid for the tournament. USC has an RPI ranking of 167 and sits at the bottom of the Pac-12 Conference with a 10-18 record.

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3. Average Conference Record

Conference Record
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Despite being 19-9 overall, Xavier has been average in conference play. At 9-6, the Musketeers are currently third in the Big East; they’ll need to finish out the season strong, otherwise they can fall as low as seventh place. The six conference losses hurts their chances of making the big dance. The selection committee tends to put an emphasis on a school’s recent play when it comes to selection time.

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2. Final Three Games

Final Three Games
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Xavier has three games remaining before the Big East tournament begins, and this will be their toughest stretch of the season. They are 0-3 against their next three opponents, two of whom are nationally-ranked. The outlook appears to be bleak as Villanova and Creighton will be looking to capture the regular season Big East crown. Xavier also plays an away game at Seton Hall, who ended Xavier’s 13-game home win streak.

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1. Disappointments In Conference Tournament Play

Conference Tournament
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Conference tournaments are not exactly Xavier’s strong point. They’re a good regular season team, but have a terrible track record come conference tournament time. They won seven regular season titles during their A-10 stint since 2002 and have only taken home three conference championships during that time; their last conference title was eight years ago. With tougher competition and losses to half the Big East, Xavier’s season may end quickly.




Around the Web

  • Nate

    Might want to take down the xavier post since they just beat creighton… You look like a fool

  • Alex

    You’re an uneducated idiot who knows nothing about xavier basketball. You obviously just looked over their wins and losses and wrote a stupid article. You know nothing about how they play