Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Miller won't be the last Xavier coach to leave

The good news for Xavier fans is that the program continues to grow in spite of losing coaches in 2001, 2004, and again in 2009. That is a sign of a strong program. When X fans get over the sting of Miller leaving hopefully they will understand what is happening with the Musketeers. There is support for Xavier from the top down, from the school president right on down through the administration, professors, advisers, and students. They all know how important basketball is to Xavier. That isn't the case at every university. This support ensures good things will continue to happen. The biggest problem for Xavier right now is a problem Xavier cannot control. Lack of membership in a power conference. 1990 was the last time a team from a so-called non-power conference won it all, UNLV in the Big West Conference. Yes, Xavier could win a title coming out of the A-10, but the odds are seriously stacked against it because the best players continue to go to the best conferences.
The only power conference containing basketball-only schools is the Big East. I still think down the road there is a chance the Big East splits, with the football schools going their own way. Should that happen, the Musketeers would have to be first on the list to get in. If that doesn't happen, schools like Xavier and Dayton need to think hard about doing something. They need to shed the bottom feeders of the A-10 and take Temple, St. Joseph's, maybe grab Butler, and find some solid basketball partners to put together a tough basketball conference. Easier said than done, but a powerful conference that breeds Final Four teams is crucial to keeping young coaches. Unless a Xavier lifer is hired, (Pete Gillen, maybe Chris Mack or another hometown guy) Xavier coaches will always look longingly at other situations. Yes, the money doesn't hurt, but neither does the chance to hang a big banner. Maybe two.

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