Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Looking Ahead

Since the Musketeers are off until Saturday I thought it might be nice to peer ahead a bit. Lasalle is coming to town and we surely cannot afford a slip up there. To be frank I think a loss is not going to happen but if it did we wouldn't stumble to 'bubbleville' like many would like to believe. At times it is hard being a Musketeer fan in this town. (I said it and I am not taking it back). This year alone I have heard the 'haters' try and point out were mid major (Forbes Magazine and Mike Bobinski laid that argument to rest quite nicely), people questioned the team's toughness (19th overall in rebounding margin out of 341 teams which is a toughness stat if there ever was one), and they like to think we are not capable of beating quality teams if our 3's aren't dropping (see UMASS as exhibit #1). The accolades are coming from far and wide and we had the highest jump in the AP polls this week. The Sporting News is doing a piece on Stan's defense, ESPN will have Lavender on tomorrow afternoon taking questions, and it is just a love fest right now and deservedly so. All of this is nice but doesn't mean much if we don't win Saturday. Lasalle will be looking for a 'highlight' to their rather disappointing season. The worst loss in my years of being a Xavier fan was the absolute shellacking Skip Prosser and company endured in the late '90's to the Explorers. We were ran out of the Gardens that night. I am not one to say the league needs to kick out teams but if there was one program that should self evaluate and see if the A10 is the absolute 'best fit' is Lasalle. I struggle to think of any of their athletic programs that are successful in conference play. Their facilities are 'tired' for a lack of a better term and from a marketability standpoint being the third team from Philly in the league with only a NCAA title to tout from the early '50's doesn't give them or the league much 'stroke'. I recommend the Horizon League whose teams are featured in larger midwestern cities as a good alternative for the Explorers or the MAAC. Then the faithful to the program would have hope of an NCAA berth and an extended March, but let me get off the soap box now.

After that it's tons of fun going on the road to play Rick Majerus and the St. Louis Billikens who have been a particular thorn in our side since they joined the league. After reading about Rick's penchant for hanging out in the buff on road trips and having the players up to his room to talk strategy while he is doing so is creating alot of disturbing questions for me right now. I used to love Rick and his affable ways but gosh I hope those are just rumors. What is not a rumor is they are opening a beautiful on campus arena next year that should help them. Playing in the 20,000 seat Scottrade Center with about 5,000 faithful creates a cavern effect. We are like institutions and I know they like the rivalry between UD and X but I think the Missouri Valley would be a better fit for their program. Can they really afford to send the women's tennis team to such destinations as UMASS and George Washington year after year? Like us I think they are waiting for the much anticipated conference shakeup in a few years when the Big East revisits how football revenue is shared but there are no certainties there either. Liddell and Lisch preseason were one of my best backcourts in the A10 (no doubt I am a little partial to Danger Mouse and Hammer) and they have been disappointing thus far as they adjust to their new coach. They were absolutely embarrassed at GW and would love to get some pride back with our scalp next Wednesday. Even though this is a road game I think the team continues to put it's road woes behind them. This will be a very close game throughout but one we should win.

Oh yeah some guy named Huggins is coaching against UC Wednesday night. Anybody ever hear of him?

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