I'm sure you already read our look at Sports Illustrated's projections of the Big East. The gist of those pages is that their proprietary engine predicts not only general things like order of finish and record but also very specific ones like usage rate and stat lines. Obviously, this is not exact. Obviously, we're going to treat it like it is until we have some real information to work with.
Here is a chart of SI's projections for Xavier's players:
- Larry Austin, Jr. doesn't merit a mention. To me, this is the biggest thing here. SI assumes point guard duties will be handled by some combo of Myles Davis, Remy Abell, and Ed Sumner. Where this leaves LAJ is anyone's guess, but it's not great for him at first blush.
- Jalen is apparently going to be a monster. That 15.0/8.8/0.6 line on with a usage rate of 23% and an ORtg of 114.3 is pretty daggone good. If that's what we're looking at for Jalen at the end of the year, this team is going to have gone place and Jalen is going to go get paid.
- This is going to be a deep team (again). Six guys averaging over 7 points per game is nice to see, especially since one or two of them could be coming off the bench depending on how the point guard situation pans out. Sumner blowing up or someone like Sean O'Mara or Makinde London making a big contribution could see this team run 8 or 9 deep all year.
- Xavier is among the elite in the conference - and the nation. With a non-conference schedule not exactly filled with potential Sweet 16 previews and a projected 12-6 conference mark, Xavier could easily enter postseason play with 20-22 wins already in hand. A couple of breaks here or there and we're looking at the Big East champs and a very strong resume heading into Selection Sunday.
This has done nothing to quell the growing feeling that I have that this team could be something special. Do you think this is the year Xavier hangs that first Final Four banner?