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Sleeping with the Enemy: The Musketeers of Xavier

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Your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown limp into Cincinnati to take on the Xavier Musketeers on Tuesday night and as usual we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent.  Here with us to dish on all things Muskies are are blog buddies at Banners on the Parkway, your trusted source for all of your Xavier needs.  Let'd do this!

Muskies! How does it feel to actually be good?

It feels amazing. The polls came out today and Xavier has once again set a program record for highest ever ranking. It's kind of crazy to be #5 in the country, but this team is really good and outside of Villanova we've been unstoppable. Everyone is happy and cheery here in Muskie land, and that's a feeling that we really have not had since the 2011-2012 season.

In-season bracket projections tend to not mean much, but I have to admit that it is super fun looking at them when everyone sees you as a #2 seed or a #3 at worst.



Who are some of the main guys the Hoyas need to watch out for Tuesday night?

The return of Edmond Sumner on Saturday makes me feel like he's going to be fully himself and ready to roll on Tuesday night. Our point guard sustained a nasty head injury on New Years Eve (don't watch the video, it's not fun) against Villanova, and just returned to practice last week and played against Marquette on Saturday. Before the injury he was a crucial part of our offense and we had to learn to play without him, so having him back definitely brings in another element to our team.

Another player that's been talked about a lot but worth the hype is James Farr. Big Game James has been a beast this season and is a fantastic shot-blocker. He's tall but also athletic, and he's been having a remarkable season this year. It's going to be hard for guys to drive to the basket with Farr down low.

The Cintas Center seems to be one of the best home court advantages in the Big East. Tell us about it.

We love to brag on the Cintas Center. It's 15 years old, but showing no signs of age at all and it's been wonderful. What makes it so great is that it's a modern arena that's on campus. My freshman year dorm was literally right across the street from it, which made it super easy to line up for games. Having it right on campus adds to the atmosphere, and makes it truly Xavier's home.

Another great aspect of it is the size. The Verizon Center is a phenomenal arena, but Cintas stands out in that it only holds 10,250 people. It almost always sells out, and can get super loud during conference play. It's tough for road teams when the Cintas is rocking, and we tend to do that often. Xavier did a fantastic job in building the Cintas Center, and it solved a lot of arena issues that we had. I love it as a venue, and it's a fun place to watch a college basketball game.

Chris Mack has established himself as one of the best coaches in the conference, if not the country. Is he a Xavier lifer or do you seem him jumping for a more sexy spot down the road?

This is a really tough question. I like to believe that Chris Mack is a Xavier lifer unless certain schools offered him the job, but each year that list sounds shorter and shorter. I think he would take the job if offered something lucrative at UNC, Duke, even Georgetown maybe, but I really do not think that he's going to jump ship for a Cal or Wake Forest kind of job. Mack is from Cincinnati, graduated from Xavier University, and was an assistant here, and I think he likes his life here too much to leave it. When we were in the Atlantic 10, I definitely worried that we were going to lose him, but now that we're in the Big East playing a double round robin against great (and at least acceptable) teams in fun places, I do not see much reason for him to leave outside of the major huge programs.

How far in the Dance would the Muskies have to advance for you to be satisfied? Sweet Sixteen? Elite 8? Can this team win the whole enchilada?

Every year, I believe that the success of a Xavier season is the Sweet 16. If we make the Sweet 16, even if by a miracle, it's a successful year, and if we fall short, even by upset, it's a bad season. We expect to make the second weekend of the tournament, and with 5 out of the last 8 years having that happen has definitely furthered that expectation. This year's team is definitely prime and ready to go past that. I think the goal this season is going to be the Elite 8, but I honestly would have a feeling of "what if" if we didn't make the Final 4. Despite Xavier's success over the last 20 years, we've never made the Final 4, and I really feel like that needs to happen this season. I also would love to see Villanova join us in the Final 4, but I'll gladly trade their future tournament success for us to make it even further.

Defend Skyline Chili.

Do you and your college buddies have that tradition that just cannot die and you love it to death? Maybe a sandwich at Wisey's or an annual trip? That's skyline chili. Those who are raised on it completely love it and think it tastes great. Hungover? Go to Skyline. Drunk? Go to Skyline and order chili cheese fries. Back in Cincy after a year away? Go straight to Skyline. It's a Cincinnati tradition that many of us love and look forward to. Is it "chili" in the strictest sense? No, no of course not. It's not chili at all. The story goes that the founders of Skyline took the recipe from an old Greek family recipe, and that they called it chili to attract customers. Now, not everyone likes the taste of it (I for one will always eat there no matter who objects), but it's a part of the city culture. In fact, we got our Blue Blob mascot from Skyline Chili. They sponsor our game with Cincinnati, and one year they announced that they would give the winning team a new mascot. Lo and behold, we got the Blue Blob. So yeah, the food is fantastic, but they're part of the city and the Blob, and that's even bigger.

What's your perception of this Hoyas team and JT3?

When I watch Georgetown, I always feel that they represent what the Big East needs to be. Basketball focuses schools that take it way too seriously. I was in attendance at the Villanova game on Saturday, and the culture and pageantry of the game really blew me away. Now, this year's team under JTIII? I just don't get it. There's so many talented players with DSR and LJ Peak, yet they seem to lose to some of the worst teams. On Saturday the team fell completely short on offense, and it seemed clear how a UNC Asheville can beat this team. I'm not entirely sure what needs to change, but right now I'm not impressed with this Georgetown team, and I think they're a NIT team unless something happens. But, on the positive side, it's Georgetown. You all have a fantastic history in a fun city, and top recruits will always be drawn to that. Georgetown can fix their problems so much quicker the a DePaul could.

Final score prediction?

Xavier 80 Georgetown 70. I think Xavier is going to open up a 20 point lead, then Georgetown will claw back before fading away at the end.