The Muskies’ two-game stint in the Big Apple will begin with the dregs of the Big 12.
Xavier will tip off the preseason NIT this year on Wednesday, November 24th at 7pm EST against the Cyclones of Iowa State. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU, a channel not exactly on the marquee for the (purported) worldwide leader in sports, but not so far down the dial that the AAC regularly has games on it.
I think part of the reason this matchup isn’t on ESPN or ESPN is that, to be frank, Iowa State isn’t expected to be that good. They strung together one of the worst seasons in recent high-major memory last year, winning their first and sixth games and no others. They ended the season on an 18-game losing streak, went 0-18 in Big 12 regular season play, and didn’t win a game more difficult than home to KenPom #265 Jackson State. They washed out of the first round of the Big 12 tournament and did not hear their name called on Selection Sunday.
That performance cost head coach Steve Prohm his job. In his place steps TJ Otzelberger. Otzelberger rode Mike Daum to a 70-33 record at South Dakota State before jumping ship to UNLV the moment Daum graduated. He compiled a 29-30 record in two years there before signing on to replace Prohm at Iowa State this spring.
Should Xavier slide by Iowa State, a chance at the preseason NIT title against the winner of Memphis v. Virginia Tech awaits. A #9 and #47 (respectively) in the preseason Torvik rankings, both those teams offer the chance at a marquee win on neutral ground for the Muskies. Should X be #blessed enough to make the title game, they’ll be on ESPN2 at about 9:30pm on Friday, November 26, which my Google calendar tells me is Native American Heritage Day.
Either way, there’s the most important part of your Thanksgiving weekend sorted. Further bulletins as events warrant.