Every day there are three things, none worth devoting an individual post to, but each worth at least mentioning.
1) Mack makes his case. From yesterday's Big East Conference teleconference....
"We challenged our team from day one. We have one of the best non-conference schedules in the country. Our total strength of schedule is (10)," Mack said when asked about Xavier's résumé during the teleconference "Our team's been challenged since November. It would be absolutely unprecedented for a team with our type of numbers – you know, whether it's RPI, strength of schedule, you name it – it would be unprecedented for a team of our caliber to be left out of the NCAA Tournament.
"Having said that, do I want to leave it in the committee's hands? No. But I think a lot has been made about Edmond Sumner's injury and rightfully so. 'Hey, is Xavier a different team? What kind of team are they now?' But since Edmond got injured in games that we were also not impacted by Trevon Bluiett's injury, we are 4-3 with two road victories and two wins against NCAA Tournament teams. That's a fact. So, again, do we want to leave it in the committee's hands? No. We want to do our part."
BREAKING: Coach of team on NCAA Tournament bubble believes his team should make the NCAA Tournament. This is indeed a stunning development.
There might not be a more interesting team on the bubble than XU, which can bolster its case in New York this week, first by avoiding a bad loss to DePaul, then picking up a statement-making win over Butler. Chris' last three sentences are the most important: The Musketeers control their own NCAA Tournament destiny.
But right now, you can look at them two ways.
On one side is a very good resume, one that's the result of some savvy scheduling, a quality league, and a team that when whole, absolutely had the profile of not only a team that could make the tournament, but win games once there.
On the other is what's happened since the calendar flipped to 2017. Only seven wins. Some decent victories that came without Sumner that have been offset by six straight losses without him. An eyeball test that, when you watch the Muskies, they probably don't pass.
Will they get in? I believe so, if they beat DePaul. Definitely if they win two in the Big Apple. The soft-landing of a soft bubble could help, and if teams like, well, UC and Dayton - both locks for the NCAA Tournament - win their league tournaments, then the Musketeers could benefit from no bids being stolen.
I hope they do get in.
Should they get in? Well, let's talk on Thursday morning. Better yet, Thursday night. Here's the problem I have: If I held Xavier up right now against any other surefire NCAA Tournament team, I would pick them to lose. Their viability against the rest of the field matters to me, and when I do my own version of amateur bracketology, I always ask how a certain team would fare against the bulk of the field. The fact that I can't imagine them beating Butler Thursday night on a neutral floor, to me at least, is an indictment against their tournament case.
They can change my mind by getting to the Big East quarterfinal and pulling off an upset. More importantly, they can change any committee member's mind.
2) Kawhi Leonard makes his case. The NBA's softest-spoken superstar turned in the best sequence of basketball you'll see this season. And the Houston Rockets turned in the dumbest sequence of basketball you'll see this season.
3) The Scott Eagles make their case. They play in the Tenth Region title game tonight against Campbell County after beating Paris in Maysville last night. A berth in the Sweet 16 - potentially the second in the school's history - is on the line. I went to Scott, it's my blog, and so I'm mentioning it. Go Eagles.
Radio Show: 3:05 today on ESPN1530. Gino Guidugli, Pat Kelsey, and Andy Benoit of MMQB are among my guests. We're on from Lady Janes in Kenwood, and we hope to see you there.