Atlantic 10 Tournament: Xavier Ousted Early Again, Owls Eyeing Another a-10 Win

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIMarch 11, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 18:  Juan Fernandez #4 of the Temple Owls looks to pass the ball against Xavier Silas #13 of the Northern Illinois Huskies at the Liacouras Center on December 18, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Over the last five years, Xavier and Temple have been the two powerhouses in the Atlantic 10 Conference. 

While Temple has won the last three Atlantic 10 Tournaments, Xavier continually gets dispatched early on. 

In the end, it really doesn't matter because the Musketeers do their damage in the NCAA Tournament.  They're in the Sweet Sixteen every year!

Temple on the other hand has lost convincingly in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three years. 

The Owls won the first two A-10 crowns because they were desperately seeking to get into the tournament. They wouldn't have gotten in as an at-large in each of those years. 

Last year, Temple still won being the favorite as a No. 1 seed.

Usually I'm not in favor of losing, but in some ways I'd feel better if Temple lost tomorrow's semifinal. They've looked really good in their A-10 tournament wins the last three years, but then they tank in the Big Dance.

They lost in 2008 as a No. 12 seed to Michigan State, 2009 as an No. 11 seed against Arizona State and last year as a No. 5 seed to Cornell.

I'm suggesting they pull a Xavier, lose early on, and get ready for the NCAA Tournament.  I certainly don't want the Owls to follow in Oliver Purnell's shadow. I want NCAA tournament wins, not another A-10 Title.

Here's the thing about Xavier: they've always won in the A-10 Tournament when they've had to. A perfect example is when they won the conference championship in 2006 as a No. 10 seed.  They eventually lost to Gonzaga in the First Round as a No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

From 2007-2011, Xavier entered four out of the last five conference tournaments as a No. 1 seed. They were a No. 2 seed last season.  Yet, they've yet to reach the A-10 Finals since 2006. 

2007- Xavier loses to No. 4 Rhode Island (Semis)

2008- Xavier loses to No. 5 Saint Joseph's (Semis)

2009- Xavier loses to No. 4 Temple (Semis)

2010- Xavier loses to No. 3 Richmond (Semis)

2011- Xavier loses to No. 9 Dayton (Quarters)

In the last three years, the Owls have soared in the A-10 Tourney while the Musketeers have gone to the Sweet 16 three times.     

They made the elite eight as a No. 3 seed in 2008 before losing to UCLA, they got to the Sweet 16 in 2009 as a No. 4 seed before losing to Pitt and last year they got to the Sweet 16 as a No. 6 seed before losing a double overtime thriller to Kansas State.