The 2015 Pomeroy Ratings are out on kenpom.com, and the news is not encouraging for Xavier fans at first glance. Pomeroy has the Musketeers ranked 66th, just one slot ahead of Butler. Perhaps even less excitingly, he projects Xavier's record at 16-13, which is not the stuff that dreams of March are made of.
Pomeroy has not projected games two and three of the Wooden Classic for X, nor any potential Big East Tournament games. Even if the Muskies run the table in Cali, though, they would enter the BET at 18-13 and in need of something special at Madison Square Garden to keep their NCAA hopes alive. Pomeroy himself admits that his system is not foolproof, but he is a respected name in advanced basketball statistics and it's worth at least noting what his numbers say about the season.
KenPom has Xavier winning their first seven games listed and nine of their first ten. While that would surely make for an exciting start to the season, going from 9-1 to 16-13 involves a 7-12 freefall that would be significantly less enjoyable. Alabama at 58th is the highest-rated team in the non-conference, with Stephen F Austin (97), Murray State (94), and Missouri (98) all also cracking the top 100. Season opener Northern Arizona (255) and IUPUI (324) figure to be the truest of home cupcakes.
It's the conference schedule that will be the test for Xavier. Pomeroy sees the Big East as loaded, with nine of the ten teams ranked 86 or better. Villanova tops the table at 9th, and DePaul and the beleaguered Oliver Purnell linger far behind the pack at 197th. Pomeroy's projected table is below:
As you can see, it's a middle of the pack showing in offense and defense leading to an 8-10 conference record for X according to Pomeroy's numbers. Brad earlier made the case that Xavier was one of the top 45 teams in the country. Luke Winn sees them in line for a winning record and a third-place finish in the conference. KenPom projects the potential for the lowest win total of Mack's tenure. What do you think this season holds for the Musketeers?