For the 5th straight year and 9 out of the past 10 our Xavier Musketeers get to take part in a little thing our country likes to call March Madness. Us X fans really need to try and not take this for granted, but at the same time getting an invite to NCAA Tournament has now become our expectation year in and year out.
A #6 seed seems about right. And we should feel lucky about this because our A-10 brethren kind of got the shaft in the seeding department. Richmond appeared to be a #6 seed as well and Temple may be the most miss-seeded team in the entire field. A four would have been the absolute lowest I’d have thought heading into Selection Sunday. Oh well, all three A-10 teams have decent opportunities to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
I hate admitting how much I like the draw Xavier got. Now don’t get me wrong, Minnesota has more than enough talent to beat us come Friday early afternoon, but we can just get past them we’ll have revenge factor match-ups against (barring upsets) Pittsburgh and Kansas State. And from there, take our chances against Syracuse.
But let’s put the brakes on that line of thought right quick. Minnesota is a good team coming from a good conference. Tubby Smith is an interesting character from my perspective. Where I’m from it’s all about Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana basketball. And Tubby was basically run out of Kentucky because of what they deemed poor results. His son Saul, now an assistant on the team, was probably the most hated player I’ve ever seen by his own fans. I mean people truly hated him. He was a solid player, but by UK fan’s insane standards, he just wasn’t up to par. Throw in the coach’s kid factor and the hate only intensified. So it will be weird having both of them in my life for a couple hours Friday afternoon.
A couple things to expect from Tubby teams is solid half-court man to man defense and a motion half-court offense. Basically a classic Big Ten team. They do not appear to be overly athletic in the games I’ve seen them play in this year which is what we’ve struggled with the entire season. They have some very good wins and some kinda bad losses. So it’s hard to know what to expect from them come game time.
Chris Mack is the only rookie Head Coach to guide his team to the NCAA Tournament this year. He’s been apart of the past few trips with this team as well so it’s hard to imagine he would be overwhelmed by the process of getting the team ready to play Minnesota. And with Jason, Dante, Jamel, Kenny, Terrell and Brad all having multiple tourney wins on their resumes I would think the players look upon this as a business trip and not a joy ride.
Once again, this bracket sets up very well for us, but we must get the ball rolling and start off with a victory over Minnesota. It’s the most important time of the year dammit!
Let’s Go X!