Wednesday, February 24, 1999

XU has much on line against UD


Musketeers looking for win No. 20

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Xavier could not have more incentive for tonight's game against Dayton.

DAYTON at XU
• When: 7:30 p.m. today
• Where: Cincinnati Gardens (10,100)
• Records: Dayton 10-14, 5-9 A-10; Xavier 19-8, 11-3
• TV: Fox Sports Ohio
• Radio: WLW-AM (700)
BY THE NUMBERS
• 7: Games Xavier has shot less than 40 percent from the field this season
• 2-5: The Musketeers' record in those games

        In addition to honoring their outgoing seniors, the Musketeers (19-8) are trying to:

        • Ensure an NCAA Tournament bid.

        • Battle for the A-10 West Division title with George Washington (both are 11-3);

        • Get a third straight 20-win season;

        • Avenge a Jan. 30 loss at Dayton;

        • Finish the season unbeaten at home;

        College basketball analysts Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas are among those who have said Xavier is a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

        Most Internet Web sites that have mock 64-team draws — including ESPN, CBS Sportsline and USA Today — include the Musketeers.

        Not everyone agrees.

        Jerry Palm, on www.collegerpi.com, does not have Xavier in his draw. But he has only one Atlantic 10 Conference team (Temple).

        The Musketeers are No. 62 in the Rating Percentage Index rankings.

        As far as the NCAA Tournament goes, one thing they can't afford to do is lose tonight, then Saturday at George Washington and go into the conference tournament on a three-game slide.

        One of the factors looked at by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is the last 10 games. Even if XU splits its final two regular-season games, it would be 5-5 in its last 10.

        Still, Xavier owns victories over the other three top teams in the Atlantic 10: No. 24 Temple, George Washington and Rhode Island.

        “I feel like we have some work to do,” coach Skip Prosser said.

        Xavier will likely have to win Saturday at George Washington to ensure the top seed in the A-10 West and capture at least a share of the division championship.

        The Colonials play host to Virginia Tech tonight. If both teams win tonight, it's winner-take-all Saturday.



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