With startling snubs to two different media giants, Xavier stuck up for the little guy everywhere with a defiance that furthers this revolutionary idea:
In college basketball, there isn't a little guy -- anywhere.
|There's nothing 'mid' about Drew Lavender. (Getty Images)|
Bad news. Xavier refused to accept.
Xavier, with 16 NCAA Tournament appearances in 21 years, doesn't see itself as a mid-major. And if Xavier isn't a mid-major, how could Drew Lavender be the Mid-Major Player of the Week?
A short time later, ESPN The Magazine called Xavier looking for a contribution to a story titled, "Eight things you didn't know about a mid-major."
Xavier declined that opportunity as well.
Xavier was acting locally but thinking globally. The Musketeers, like the rest of the Atlantic 10 Conference, have long bristled at the mid-major label. The A-10 has been inconsistent in recent years, but Temple was a national power for decades and Saint Joseph's was ranked No. 1 in 2004 and was joined by Xavier in the Elite Eight that year.
Since 1988 only 10 teams have entered the NCAA Tournament with one regular-season loss, and four are in the A-10 (Temple in 1988, La Salle in '90, UMass in '96 and Saint Joseph's in 2004). Plus George Washington was 26-2 in 2006.
That was some of the inspiration behind Xavier's defense of small guys -- or not-so-small guys -- everywhere.
"Someone had to stand up for us," says Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski. "In the interest of us and other people like us, we're going to say thanks but no thanks."
This is one of those stories you have to like, a story without a bad guy. Rivals.com wasn't being cruel when it tried to reward Lavender for his play during a week that saw Xavier beat the snot out of Virginia, Kansas State and Auburn. Nor was ESPN The Magazine by inviting Xavier into a story on mid-majors.
And Xavier wasn't being rude or standoffish by rejecting both overtures. Xavier offered each media entity ample access to its players and coach, but just like a Democrat wouldn't describe the thrill of being a Republican, Xavier wasn't going to discuss its status as something -- a mid-major -- that it is not.