In just under two months the NCAA tournament's weekend will be wheeling into the second round and the teams that won on opening Thursday will be girding up for their second game. A week before that, Selection Sunday will result in the largest single day of printer ink usage as brackets are printed out, filled out, crumpled, filled out again, and overanalyzed incessantly. Last year, Xavier fans missed out on a lot of the excitement of that Sunday, as the Musketeers missed not just the NCAAs, but also the NIT.
This year, that shouldn't be the case. Xavier should be, at this point, playing for seeding unless a remarkable collapse happens. To that end, here's where some systems have Xavier currently, and what they think about the Musketeers chances of playing in the big dance come March.
Joe Lunardi/ESPN- #8 seed: Lunardi is the most famous of the growing profession of bracketologists, and he currently (Jan 16th update) has Xavier playing in the dreaded 8/9 game against much less dreaded UNC. As the bracket stands according to Lunardi the Musketeers have a 22.3% of making the Sweet 16. Xavier also lands 30th on his S-Curve, ranking as a team with a 75% chance or better of making the tournament.
Jerry Palm/CBS- #5 seed: If Lunardi is the most popular or well known bracketologist, Jerry Palm is generally the most accurate. Palm currently has Xavier playing Toledo in a 5/12 game in San Diego.
RPI- #31: The RPI is a terrible system, does what it sets out to do poorly, and has been replaced by many other systems that do the same thing much better. Because the NCAA runs things though, the RPI is what is used to in the selection process. Yes, it's absurd. No, it's not likely changing any time soon. You will never see RPI cited on Banners other than in selection talk, because we're committed to giving you good information. All that said, Xavier sits 31st in the RPI and is tied for second in the nation with nine top 100 wins. Now, back to things that make sense.
KenPom- #28: As KenPom isn't officially used, this high ranking doesn't completely lock up a spot for Xavier. It is, however, exceedingly rare for teams in Pomeroy's top 30 to miss the tournament. It happens occasionally, but when you see Xavier above that line, you can feel relatively confident.
BPI- #27: The BPI is ESPN's answer to KenPom and his calculator. While it is a better tool for measuring the strength of the team, it isn't a sure thing toward predicting a spot in the tournament due to the vagaries of the obsolete RPI system. Currently BPI projects Xavier in as an at large with a #7 seed.
So that's where the Musketeers sit right now. If, for some reason, the season were to end today, you could approach Selection Sunday with only the very faintest hints of trepidation. A lot can change in the next two months, but right now Xavier looks very good.