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KenPom Bracketology: 12/9

Is this the year that Xavier's Sweet 16 run doesn't come from the bottom of the bracket?

How well does a team have to be seeded for it to no longer be a surprise when they make the Final Four or even win the NCAA tournament? A three? A four? Xavier fans have become so accustomed to the role of under-the-radar Sweet 16 team that it's hard to recalibrate expectations to a team that is simply really good. Then you see Xavier start popping up with those favorable seed lines in bracketologies all across the internet and start wondering if maybe this is their year. I don't know if it is or not, but I do know that KenPom loves X just as much as Joe Lunardi does.

Here's your S-curve for this week:

The KenPom s-curve 12/9
1 VIRGINIA OKLAHOMA PURDUE Duke
2 Michigan St. KENTUCKY Kansas VILLANOVA
3 North Carolina Louisville Xavier Vanderbilt
4 Maryland Baylor Miami FL Iowa St.
5 ARIZONA GONZAGA Iowa CINCINNATI
6 Connecticut Florida Notre Dame West Virginia
7 Indiana Butler Georgetown Oregon
8 Pittsburgh South Carolina VALPARAISO Wisconsin
9 Florida St. Syracuse Texas A&M Utah
10 Providence WICHITA ST. VCU Michigan
11 USC Dayton UCLA George Washington
12 SOUTH DAKOTA ST. Texas Rhode Island Oregon St.
12 BOISE ST. AKRON
13 STONY BROOK WILLIAM & MARY IONA BELMONT
14 CAL POLY UT ARLINGTON YALE OLD DOMINION
15 CHATTANOOGA STEPHEN F. AUSTIN NORTH FLORIDA ARMY
16 MOUNT ST. MARY'S NEW MEXICO ST. HIGH POINT WEBER ST.
16 JACKSON ST. NORFOLK ST.
First 4 out Colorado Northern Iowa California Seton Hall
Next 4 out Clemson Ohio St. Tulsa Memphis

And here's the KenPom bracket:

KenPom 12-9

For what it's worth, Southern Methodist would be a five seed if they were eligible for the postseason this year. Much like in Lunardi's bracket, Xavier pulls a three seed and a first round matchup with Yale. A win there sets up a potential second round game against Notre Dame, a proposition that seemed a lot more intimidating in Orlando than it does right now.

The Big East currently has five teams in the bracket, with the surprisingly sporty Seton Hall sitting on the bubble. The Pac 12 is making a good showing for itself with six teams in and another pair in the first four out. The ACC continues to reign though, placing nine teams in the bracket for the second consecutive week. I would imagine some sorting will get done there once conference play hits, but they've put together a pretty solid out-of-conference year so far as a league.