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KenPom Bracketology: Xavier in a holding pattern

Win and move up or lose and move down. Come as close as possible to doing both and stay in the same basic position.

Those of you who aren't members of the Internet Pulitzer committee are probably here for Xavier news, so we'll start with that: it's not as bad as you might have feared. While Xavier lost to a mediocre team, at least they had the decency to do so on the road and in double overtime. What could have been a freefall is more of an abrupt, not wholly welcome belay.

You'll have to scroll down to see just how far X slipped. In the meantime, the Big East now has seven teams in the KenPom bracket for the first time all year, thanks to Providence grabbing the final at-large bid by the narrowest of margins. Anywho, here's the s-curve...

The KenPom s-curve 12/24
1 KENTUCKY VIRGINIA Duke WISCONSIN
2 ARIZONA GONZAGA VILLANOVA Louisville
3 TEXAS North Carolina WICHITA ST. Oklahoma
4 Kansas Florida VCU Ohio St.
5 Baylor Iowa St. West Virginia Utah
6 Oklahoma St. Northern Iowa Michigan St. St. John's
7 Notre Dame Maryland Minnesota SAN DIEGO ST.
8 Xavier Georgia Georgetown Arkansas
9 Syracuse South Carolina SMU Connecticut
10 Stanford Iowa Butler Washington
11 Seton Hall Indiana HARVARD BYU
12 GREEN BAY TCU George Washington Illinois
12 Providence STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
13 GEORGIA ST. OLD DOMINION UC SANTA BARBARA IONA
14 EASTERN WASHINGTON WOFFORD EASTERN KENTUCKY BUFFALO
15 NORTHEASTERN NEW MEXICO ST. COASTAL CAROLINA NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL
16 ST. FRANCIS PA LAFAYETTE FLORIDA GULF COAST STONY BROOK
16 DENVER TEXAS SOUTHERN
First 4 out California UCLA Dayton Rhode Island
Next 4 out Wyoming LSU North Carolina St. Colorado St.

...and the bracket, once again rendered by our delightful bracket-rendering machine:

KenPomEve

As you can see, Xavier would be set up for a second-round matchup with UK. Could X handle that? Well, the only two chinks in Kentucky's defensive armor are an average three-point defense (in terms of rate, not percentage) and poor defensive rebounding. Xavier's offense has the potential to excel in both of those areas. I'm not saying I'd bet the mortgage on it, but the Muskies would have a puncher's chance of knocking off the most hyped semi-pro team in the nation.

Despite having seven teams in, the Big East only has one (Villanova) that wouldn't have to outperform its seed to make the Sweet 16. I wouldn't have Providence's chances of winning three games to get there with the matchups shown on this bracket.

It will be interesting to see how conference play sorts out some of the leagues that are currently dominating the bracket. The Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, ACC, and SEC continue to provide half the teams to the dance at this point. Attrition may narrow that out as the conference season progresses, or consistent play against top teams might solidify the rankings.

Enjoy your Christmas everyone. The next KenPom Bracketology will be on New Year's Eve and will be the final projection before Big East play kicks off. Don't drink and drive