Before the season started we all took a shot at predicting how Xavier would fare in the non-conference schedule. There was reason to hope that Xavier was going to build on last season's Sweet 16 by adding Edmond Sumner and having Jalen Reynolds see more time as the focus in the post, but this 12-0 run was probably a bit on the outer edges of possible outcomes. Actually, it wasn't reasonable to expect this at all. Xavier has fit the pieces together with the couple of blips in form coming in less dominating wins, not losses. Here's a look back at the first 12 games compared with how we though they would go.
Xavier 81-72 Miami (Oh)
Jalen Reynolds went for 16/15/3 in arguably his best game of the year, Edmond Sumner scored 19 and Xavier pulled away late. Still, Miami isn't a very good team and this wasn't exactly an exercise in domination. Miami has since slipped to 205th in the Pomeroy rankings while Xavier has skyrocketed. This game was a harbinger of just about nothing.
Brad's pick: Win. Could be by 30.
Joel's pick: Win. The Musketeers get off and running in front of the home crowd.
Bryan's pick: Win. Miami simply doesn't have the horses.
Xavier 78-66 Missouri
If Xavier fans had two major concerns coming into the season it would have been an offense that occasionally sputtered and Jalen being unable to stop fouling. In this game, both of those were serious issues. James far announced his arrival for the season with 15/14/2, and Trevon Bluiett and JP Macura both joined him in double figures. JP was on an early season tear and Xavier eased to 2-0.
Brad's pick: Win. The Tigers might be even worse than Miami.
Joel's pick: Win. This team was bad last year and lost their best players from that squad; they're a warmup game.
Bryan's pick: Win. There was a time when this would be a big win, unfortunately that was 5 years ago.
Xavier 86-70 Michigan
After the first two games, Xavier fans could be forgiven a little trepidation before this one. Jalen went for 15/9/0 and committed four fouls as Xavier led by nine at the half before burying the game late. Remy and JP hit huge threes and Edmond Sumner went on a five point run that capped the game off. The first two wins were nice, this one was an announcement.
Brad's pick: Loss. The home team would win no matter where this matchup was played. I think Xavier is slightly better, but won't be quite ready for this challenge on the road.
Joel's pick: Loss. Michigan has a veteran back court and is playing at home; Xavier will hang for 30 minutes but Michigan will close the deal down the stretch.
Bryan's pick: Win. If Remy and Sumner do a job, Michigan is still a team capable of losing to NJIT.
Xavier 78-66 NKU
The less said about this yawner, the better. The team letdown after Michigan, still won the game, and infuriated just about everyone with their effort. Myles Davis was outspoken in his criticism after the game and the Musketeers responded.
Brad's pick: Win. I'm going to be in attendance for what could be another 30 point victory.
Joel's pick: Win. We have guards as tall as their center.
Bryan's pick: Win. Duh.
Xavier 64-45 Alabama
It was the start of the dreaded Thanksgiving tournament. Xavier
doesn't didn't used to excel in these and Alabama was a stern test to start with. According to the recap "Xavier wound up at half time and spent the next quarter of the game delivering a haymaker that would leave Bama down and out. Trevon Bluiett and Myles Davis each drilled a pair of threes each as Xavier took control with a devastating 24-6 run over the first 11 minutes of the half." A very good USC team was next.
Brad's pick: Win. This will be a good game, but the Musketeers have more talent and a deeper bench. After this win, The Holiday Curse kicks in.
Joel's pick: Win. Alabama will make some noise this year, but I think they'll still be gelling when this game is played.
Bryan's pick: Win. A lot of things are in flux for Bama, and an X squad that is humming should handle them.
Xavier 87-77 USC
After Thanksgiving day came and went, Xavier fans braced for the worst. It wasn't coming. After 10 minutes of play, Xavier led 30-14 and USC never came back as the Musketeers ran away and then cruised down the stretch. The turkey leftovers hadn't settled off when everyone realized this mean Dayton was next.
Xavier 90-61 Dayton
"Archie Miller has really revitalized this program!" That was all you heard before this game, but not after. While Dayton was being zipped up to the tune of shooting 0-7/0-4/0-0 Xavier shot 9-14/3-4/0-3 to bury the game. Coach Mack danced after 21-0 turned this into a laugher. The Musketeers didn't let down and briefly looked like they'd hang 100 on the mid-major just up 75. Thanksgiving curse banished, AdvoCare won.
Brad's pick: I'm just assuming this will be a complete disaster until the team gives me a reason to think otherwise. Things go downhill after beating 'Bama. 0-2.
Joel's pick: I'm an optimist. Xavier has the chops to knock off one giant over the weekend, but I don't think a sweep is in the cards; put me down for 1-1 over the last two games.
Bryan's pick: I have been burned too many times before. I will count on Brad and me pulling off another baking miracle for my victories over the holiday. 0-2.
Xavier 95-64 WKU
There wasn't a letdown, either. Xavier obliterated Western Kentucky and held the seventh best three point shooting team in the nation to 5-22 from deep and got 21 from Trevon and another 18 from James Farr to comfortably roll past the overmatched Hilltoppers.
Brad's pick: Win. There may be no better way to get back on the winning track.
Joel's pick: Win. Xavier could play this game 100 times and come away with 105 wins.
Bryan's pick: Win. Pretty smart scheduling an easier game right after Thanksgiving.
Xavier 90-55 WSU
This was never going to be anything but a warmup for the Crosstown Shootout and it was barely even that. Once again, Xavier didn't letdown against a lesser opponent and got big nights from just about everyone. Trevon (again) went for 22/11/2 and Myles, Jalen, and JP all joined him in double figures. James Farr just kept rebounding.
Brad's pick: Win. I love seeing us schedule teams from Ohio. If only all of the high-major programs were so inclusive
Joel's pick: Win. WSU is an interesting squad this year, but Xavier is interesting and good, which is better.
Bryan's pick: Win. WSU might make some waves this year, but this will not be one of them.
Xavier 65-55 UC
The Crosstown Shootout was, once again, almost a Xavier processional. A blip to start the second half after the Musketeers had built a 16 point lead only required a bit of application to right. The Bearcats scrapped their way into the game before Edmond Sumner had seen enough.
Brad's pick: Win. I will never pick UC in this game, I don't care about the circumstances. Seriously though, at this point in the season Xavier will be the better team.
Joel's pick: Win. Myles Davis moves to 3-0 in Shootouts and UC's defense fights hard but can't overcome its offensive shortcomings.
Bryan's pick: Win. Sumner gives Cow-pain the runaround all night and Jalen and Ellis actually earn their techs this year.
Xavier 85-61 Auburn
At one point, Bruce Pearl was the up and coming coach who couldn't miss, he isn't anymore. Auburn put up about as much fight as could be expected as Xavier was just better in every facet of the game. Jalems Farrnolds went for 30/17/1 and Edmond Sumner scored 13 on just six shots.
Brad's pick: Win. Being at home prevents last year's whatever that was.
Joel's pick: Win. Christmas is always a weird time for games, but Xavier is just better than Auburn and the Tigers won't get the home cooking they did last year.
Bryan's pick: Win. Pearl is slowly building Auburn into something, but right now it is just a pretty mediocre team.
Xavier 78-70 Wake Forest
Here came the hiccup. Xavier fell behind by as many as 18 in the first half on the road and looked very much like they were going to finally lose a game. Instead, they went on a 42-16 run in front of a crowd that went from celebrating a win to sitting in absolute shock. With a 50 point second half that Skip would have loved, Xavier finished the non-conference slate at a perfect 12-0.
Brad's pick: Loss. A bit of a letdown before the Big East. Myles will have something public to say if this happens.
Joel's pick: Win. Danny Manning has Wake moving in the right direction, but they're still a year away.
Bryan's pick: Win. Manning is going to bring back the glory days for Wake, but Mack already has X there.
You saw how we did, here's how you all did with the non-conference record. Congrats to the 11 of you who had the faith all along.