Early season KenPom rankings - along with literally anything else - are naturally less accurate than the ensuing numbers are going to be. As more data comes in, it becomes more clear what impact freshmen and transfers and normal player development are going to have, and this additional data leads to ratings that better reflect reality.
Xavier is obviously a beneficiary of this process. After starting the season with a ranking well off the bubble, they have ridden an 8-2 record to 26th in the KenPom, 16th in ESPN's fairly contrived BPI, and 23rd in the Massey composite. None of this has gotten the attention of the pollsters yet, but the Musketeers are well-positioned to post a 20-win season in a major conference, which is usually good for a tournament bid.
Where do they sit in the KenPom Bracketology right now? I'm so glad you asked. Here's this week's KenPom s-curve.
|4||Ohio St.||Michigan St.||North Carolina||Oklahoma|
|5||Florida||Oklahoma St.||Iowa St.||Utah|
|6||SAN DIEGO ST.||Miami FL||St. John's||Georgetown|
|8||West Virginia||Northern Iowa||Maryland||Iowa|
|12||North Carolina St.||Stanford||SMU||GREEN BAY|
|12||Purdue||STEPHEN F. AUSTIN|
|13||GEORGIA ST.||LOUISIANA TECH||WOFFORD||IONA|
|14||NORTHEASTERN||BUFFALO||NEW MEXICO ST.||UC SANTA BARBARA|
|15||FLORIDA GULF COAST||EASTERN WASHINGTON||BELMONT||AMERICAN|
|16||DENVER||NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL||COASTAL CAROLINA||VERMONT|
|16||ST. FRANCIS NY||ALABAMA ST.|
|First 4 out||Pittsburgh||Cincinnati||Indiana||Oregon|
|Next 4 out||Alabama||California||Texas A&M||Rhode Island|
Our bracket creation machine is on the fritz right now, but we will have one out soon. It's not as pretty as usual; I fouled it up while travelling for Christmas and had to improvise. I'd say it won't happen again, but I'm travelling next week, too. Sorry. -Joel D
|16||ST FRANCIS/ALABAMA St||16||COASTAL CAROLINA|
|12||NC State/Stanford||12||GREEN BAY|
|6||SAN DIEGO ST.||6||Georgetown|
|14||NORTHEASTERN||14||UC SANTA BARBARA|
|15||FLORIDA GULF COAST||15||AMERICAN|
|16||NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL||16||VERMONT|
|5||Oklahoma St.||5||Iowa St.|
|4||Michigan St.||4||North Carolina|
|6||Miami FL||6||St. John's|
|14||BUFFALO||14||NEW MEXICO ST.|
The Big East once again has six teams in, ranging from 2 seed Villanova to Seton Hall as one of the last four at-large teams in. Xavier has jumped from a 10 to a 7, though they are still lined up for a potential date with Arizona in the second round. That's probably not what will go down in three months, but it's interesting to look at now.
Creighton (69) and Providence (76) have slid down the bubble for now; the last at-large team to get in is 49th ranked Purdue.
The top five leagues (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, and Pac-12) account for half the teams in the tournament. The A10 is currently a one-bid league with URI lingering in the next four out, and the WCC and AAC both have one team solidly in and one team perched precariously close to dropping out.
With just the Auburn game before our next bracket, Xavier's best-case scenario is probably just to hold serve at this point. We are exactly two weeks from the beginning of conference play in the Big East.