When the new Big East formed a few years ago, one of the privileges they retained from the old Big East was the chance to play their conference tournament in The World’s Most Famous Arena. The fanbases of all 10 schools can descend upon the Big Apple and sit in the comfy seats of Madison Square Garden while they watch their team compete for a conference tournament trophy.
It doesn’t take a whole lot to realize that Xavier and their fans probably envisioned that they would be playing at MSG this year under very different circumstances. Understandably, I heard a lot of fans commiserating that they had to re-arrange their travel plans because they were planning on flying to New York City tomorrow when X would presumably be playing their first game. Understandably so – if the Musketeers had won just one more conference game, they would have earned a bye and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion right now. But as it is, the Ski’s are looking for their second win over the DePaul Blue Demons in as many games.
Let’s take a look at this bracket real quick. When I saw this the other day after it was finalized, I’ll be honest, I was somewhat shocked. I really don’t think it could have panned out any better for Xavier. There are a lot of predictions being thrown around, but I think a deep run is very realistic. My first thoughts on Saturday when I was breaking this down went like this:
“Well, we should beat DePaul assuming there’s no mental lapse or complete debacle. Assuming the guys can get over that first hurdle, they’ll play a Butler team who they almost beat a couple of weeks ago and who they won’t be wanting to lose to a third time in a row. Then it would be onto another winnable game against Creighton or Providence, both of whom Xavier has beaten this season. So I’m not sayin…but I’m just sayin…”
Look, the way the ball has been rolling for the Musketeers over the last month, WHO KNOWS what in the world is going to happen after tip-off tonight. X could lay an egg and their season could basically be over. OR…they could wallop DePaul as they should, get some fire under them, and roll into tomorrow night against the Bulldogs with some confidence.
You can’t get to the second game without winning the first. And that first game is tonight at 9:30 on Fox Sports 1. Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery will be on the call, and Lisa Byington will be reporting from the sideline.
X is in the city, now let’s hope they make some noise in the city that never sleeps.