After Thursday's debacle it almost seems absurd to be talking NCAA tournament hopes, but here we are again. Both Xavier and URI come into this game off of losses. While the Shootout loss was undeniably large, Rhode Island's loss at Florida will also factor into Xavier's tournament chances.
Xavier's RPI and SOS will not be updated until next week, but you can rest assured the RPI number will drop again. The only way for Xavier to bolster what is now a slim at-large chance will be to start winning, and start winning soon. Rhode Island will be the first chance to right the ship.
URI comes into the game with and RPI of 37 and an SOS of 50 (again, those numbers have not been adjusted for this week's action). While the RPI is not as high fellow A10 member Temple (15th) a win would provide a bit of a ratings boost from Thursday's demolition at the hands of UC (65th). Further, both UD and Temple have won their opening A10 games and any morale boost that would come from also leading the conference, even after one game, would help.
All in all, this is a vital game. A loss here and X will have only one more chance (Temple) for an RPI boosting win. Winning that game would not undo the damage done by the UC and URI losses. However, a win here would bolster a flagging RPI ranking and present X with a chance to get the boost into the mid 40's it will need by beating Temple as well. If UC was a big game, this one is even bigger. A loss here and it's time to start hoping for the A10 tourney championship.