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Better Know a Regional Opponent: The Xavier University Convertin’ Jesuits

Other than the parts about their current squad, I’m going to copy and paste a quick history lesson from our 2014 “Better Know A Regional Opponent Series.” Why? Did things go well for us in the 2014 postseason or something?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 03 West Virginia at Xavier
Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Seeing as Xavier is the #3 seed in our Region, we might not even see them. Still, my job is to teach you things that may prove to be useful in the future whether you think you need to know them or not. Also, I occasionally write for Anchor of Gold.

Quick Actual History Lesson (from the 2014 preview):

Xavier University is a Jesuit school named after Francis Xavier - nee Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta, born April 7, 1506, died December 3, 1552 - the first Jesuit Missionary. Xavier focused his missionary work mostly on the Portugese Empire in India, Borneo, and Japan (didn’t take). Though he wasn’t technically alive for the Goa Inquisition, he definitely did tell King Joao III to do it, and it went on for about 250 years, so let’s just say there’s blood on his hands, though history tends to overlook these types of things because they’d rather create a mythos around people like this.

*For an example of these forced historical meta-narratives: see this comic of what we tell people about Christopher Columbus versus who he actually was by The Oatmeal.

Back to baseball...

The School: The Xavier University College of Jesuitical Forced Conversions. Formerly known as Athenaeum (no, but seriously) from 1831-1840, and then St. Xavier College from then until 1930. But let’s get back to their original name: Athenaeum. First, that would make for an excellent Finnish Death Metal Name, but second, who would ever change a college name that decidedly badass??? These guys would, so fuck ‘em.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio (aka Cin City). Cin City is a small midwestern city of about 300,000 people, best summed up in this clip:

The Mascot: D’Artagnan the Musketeer. Jebus... I mean, just... Jebus.

‘23 Record: 37-23 (14-7 Big East).

How’d they get here? Like every team in this Regional, Vanderbilt included, Xavier won their conference tournament. Speaking of, how the hell does their conference tournament work? They beat Seton Hall in Game One, and then had to play three straight against #1 seed UConn. Was this baseball or rock, paper, scissors?

Best win: Besides taking 2 of 3 from UConn in the Big East Tourney, a 14-2 midweek win over Michigan would have been a fine win... you know, before they wouldn’t pay Bakich and he woke a sleeping giant down in Clemson. Really, though, that’s about it for Xavier quality wins. They took one of three from West Virginny. I don’t think that exactly qualifies.

Worst loss: I’m going to take a slight departure from the normal format here, as instead of a worst overall loss, I think it’s pertinent to point out that they have already played Oregon—the team they’ll play Friday at 12pm CT on ESPN+. 4 times. They lost all four. That does not bode well for their chances against, you know, Oregon.

Player to Watch: #22 Grad OF Andrew “Texas Ranger” Walker (.329/.412/.504 with 19 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 53 RBI, and 28-32 steals). While Xavier has 5 guys with double digit dongs, The Texas Ranger is their most consistent hitter. Beyond that, he’s likely the best base-stealer we’ll face in this Region, so it’s wise not to Walk the Walker.

Anchor of Gold Tiger Beat Hottest Pitcher: #9 So. LHP Justin “The Bar” Loer (5-2; 1.92 ERA; 6 SV). He’s their closer. Just be ahead of them and you don’t need to worry about him.

Best NCAA Tournament result: Xavier has made the tourney 5 times—2009, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2023—and never advanced to Super Regionals. The went 1-2 in ‘09, 1-2 in ‘14, 2-2 in ‘16 (*we don’t talk about this year for numerous reasons), and 2-2 in ‘17.

Should Vanderbilt be scared? No. I mean, unless they try to forcefully convert us to Jesuitical Catholicism. Even then, Voltaire more than hinted the Lobeiros will eat them.