By Anthony Weihofen
Although the Xavier Musketeers started the season off winning three of their first four games of the season they have struggled lately and probably should not get their hopes up looking deep into the big tournament in March.
The Musketeers do not look real impressive so far this year as they have an overall 12-8 record and would need to win at least 75-percent of the remainder of their season in order to make the tournament. Most teams that enter March Madness tournament or at least do well in it usually end their seasons with no more than 8-10 losses and even that is pushing it.
One of the biggest falling points for the Musketeers was a detrimental four-game losing streak that started off against local rival Cincinnati in mid-December. Losing to Cincinnati as well as Tennessee during that streak proved back then that Xavier would struggle to stand up against any bigger name school or at least close to that level of caliber.
After a recent win against Dayton the Musketeers were able to put an end to another but smaller two-game losing streak. If Xavier had lost against Dayton and this losing streak extended then I would have already ruled Xavier out from any if not much post-season action.
With nine out of their next 10 games being conference games though this could be a blessing in disguise for them if approached properly.
If Xavier’s last victory against Dayton was the beginning of a momentum swing in their direction it’s the perfect time for it. Since they need to win at least seven or eight of these 10 games in order to get into the post-season they might as well use those victories as an uprising for them to move to number one in the Atlantic 10 conference as well.
They’ll be familiar with the teams style of play because of recent games played against them so they can look better in their tournament and then also use that swing to try helping them into the March Madness tournament.
At 5-2 in conference play they are currently third out of sixteen teams in the Atlantic 10 but are trailing to teams that are definitely March Madness worthy. Butler and Virginia Commonwealth have enough recent experience and success to prove that they are ready and can handle games against other March Madness caliber teams and Xavier is yet to play either of them.
As of right now I say no the Musketeers are not a March Madness caliber team or at least are not good enough to go pass round one if they did make it. With an upswing in their play though against critical conference teams and higher caliber teams though could prove otherwise.