The Musketeers had to win Wednesday night because, if they hadn't, it would have been over. Xavier would not have been able to play its most important game of the season. And that game is... tonight.
By beating DePaul last night (and by the way, DePaul is not good), the Musketeers have a chance to beat Butler. And a win over Butler will seal a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the Musketeers.
There are those who think Xavier earned a spot in the tournament with its win over DePaul. All it proved is that Xavier can beat an awful team. The Musketeers have just two wins in their last eight games, both over the Blue Demons.
Xavier lost its best player over a month ago. Its best shooter is playing on a bum ankle. It had another player sitting out last night's game in concussion protocol. The win over DePaul was a gut check and Xavier passed. But "THE" game for them is tonight's 7 p.m. tipoff against Butler. If they win that, they're in. Considering what Xavier has played through the last six weeks, it would be no small trick.
I think what's happened at Northern Kentucky University this week is fantastic, beyond that really. John Brannen has written a storybook ending for the Norse this season.
Look at his roster -- he's winning with Kentucky kids. And now, in just his second season as the Norse head coach, he has his team in the NCAA Tournament, the first year NKU is eligible for the Division I playoffs.
But where were you when this team was playing in December and January? If you're caught up in the hoopla now, make sure you get caught up in it next season. NKU plays in a beautiful arena and now has a championship team. For as many alumni as NKU produces, the BB&T Arena should be packed each game night.
Now, some random thoughts for a random Thursday:
The Reds are struggling to find five pitchers to fill out their starting rotation, so the logic here may not apply. But a pretty good read by mlb.com's Anthony Castrovince on what MLB teams should be thinking about when it comes to setting their starting rotation.....
Bronson Arroyo hit 83 miles an hour on the speed gun, throwing an inning of glorified batting practice Wednesday afternoon. That number would be an instant cause for release for just about any other pitcher. But Arroyo has never blown hitters away and if he can consistently throw between 83-86 mph, he could, could have a chance of making the team.
But nothing counts until he actually faces hitters from another franchise...
The Cowboys reportedly will release Tony Romo. I think he still has gas left in his tank. He gets hurt too much for my liking, but the quarterback-parched franchises in the NFL (Browns, Bears, Texans, Jets) should be lined up to sign him. Draft a young guy, sign Romo and let the kid sit...
Thad Matta said this week that some rival coaches are telling recruits that he's dying. Today, his boss gave Matta the dreaded 'vote of confidence'. He should not consider this to be a very good week...
Want to wish a happy 75th birthday today to the lead singer with Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mark Lindsay. This is their song that reached No. 4 back in 1966. Written by the fabulous team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, two songwriter staples at the Brill Building in New York City. They were also husband and wife. No song that the Raiders ever made was more suited to Lindsay's voice than this one.
Revere was the keyboard player. He let Lindsay take the lead on most songs. The two met in Idaho, where Lindsay was working, as a teenager, in a bakery and Revere (real name Paul Revere Dick) came into the bake shop to buy hamburger buns for a restaurant he owned. The two struck up a conversation about music and the rest, as they like to say, is history.
They got a little lucky with this song. It was offered first to Eric Burden and the Animals. They turned it down. The Raiders jumped on it. The song, by the way, was produced by Doris Day's son, Terry Melcher and the musicians on this song are the fabulous LA session group, The Wrecking Crew featuring Hal Blaine on drums and Tommy Tedesco on lead guitar.
Mark Lindsay, one of the '60s teen idols, turns 75 today. We all keep getting older. But it beats the alternative.
Lindsay has toured a lot in the summer time with the Happy Together Tour, acts that were popular in the '60s. And the Raiders were about as popular as it got, in that era.