XU looks to add new banner at Cintas, first ever Big East crown - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

XU looks to add new banner at Cintas, first ever Big East crown

Xavier wrapped up one of the best regular seasons in program history with a 98-93 win over Creighton Saturday. (Photo courtesy goxavier.com) Xavier wrapped up one of the best regular seasons in program history with a 98-93 win over Creighton Saturday. (Photo courtesy goxavier.com)
New York, NY (FOX19) -

The Xavier Musketeers men’s basketball team heads to New York City in hopes of adding a new banner to the Cintas Center rafters.

XU has not won a Big East regular season or tournament championship since joining the league in the 2013-14 season.

“We haven’t been able to win the regular season of the Big East over the last couple of games,” Mack told the media on Monday.  “So now you have a little bit more incentive on your plate to be able to possibly hang a Big East Championship banner. That would be an incredible accomplishment.”

The Musketeers fared well in the first two seasons in conference tournament play. Xavier made the semifinals after defeating Marquette in the team’s inaugural season in the league.  The win over the Golden Eagles became huge on Selection Sunday when XU was selected as one of the last four teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Last year XU took it one step closer after making the championship game against Villanova. The Wildcats routed Xavier 69-52.

If XU is to get over the hump and hang the new banner the Musketeers will need to refocus their efforts on the defensive end where Mack acknowledged the team had “slipped” over the past couple of games.

XU has given up an average of 92 points over the last three games, but have won two of those three games.

Mack hopes added adrenaline of playing in the world’s greatest basketball arena could help the team lock-in on defense.

“Our guys absolutely love competing at Madison Square Garden. Heck the Beatles played there. It’s where Jordan played some of his best games. It’s a really cool experience for our guys.”

Musketeers enter the Big East Tournament as the 2nd seed. They are scheduled to face the winner of Wednesday’s match up of 7th seeded Marquette and 10th seeded St. Johns.

Xavier went 2-0 against both teams during the regular season. 

The top two seeds of the tournament (XU and Villanova) have to wait for Wednesday’s results to know their opponent on Thursday.

Having to wait gives Xavier’s coaching staff less time to go over specific game plans with players.

“It’s a little new,” Mack said. “I don’t mind that because the focus needs to on Xavier and where we need to improve over these last couple of days.”

Xavier takes the floor in the quarterfinals Thursday night at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports One.

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