Xavier's non-conference slate for the season is finally set with last week's announcement of the final home games. Once again, the Musketeers have a mix of teams from close to home and top-tier opponents. The first game will be at the Cintas on November 13th and the non-conference games come to a close with the Skip Prosser Classic at Wake Forest on December 22nd.
Nov 13th: Miami (Oh)- 208th KenPom, no postseason.
The games start with the Redhawks of Miami as the sacrificial lamb. Miami has given Xavier a run a few times over the years, but this does not figure to be one of them. With Xavier moving to the Big East and John Cooper taking over at Miami, the programs have moved in different directions.
Nov 17th: Missouri- 214th KenPom, no postseason.
Last year Xavier went to Columbia and beat the Tigers by 16. Brandon Randolph had one of his best games with the program and the Musketeers pulled away late. This year, Missouri has added three three star recruits and three JuCo transfers, but none of them figure to transform the program.
Nov 20th: @Michigan- 75th KenPom, no postseason.
Michigan suffered through a down year after starting the season with wins over Syracuse and Oregon. The Wolverines were a young team and return all but one player. Moritz Wagner, a stretch four from Germany, joins the team from Alba Berlin. This will be Xavier's first serious test.
Nov 23rd: NKU- 243rd KenPom, no postseason.
This should not be a game. NKU moved to the Horizon League this year and is a program on the rise, but if they trouble the Musketeers at home it will be an early sign that the team either lacks focus or isn't very good. With the first four games out of the way, the level of competition ratchets up.
Nov 26th-29th: Old Spice Orlando Classic
Xavier joins Wichita St (10th, Sweet 16), Dayton (37th, Sweet 16), Iowa (19th, NCAA Second Round), Notre Dame (9th, Elite Eight), Alabama (58th, NIT), and USC (152nd, no postseason) in a loaded field. Xavier has historically struggled with Thanksgiving tournaments, but this one presents a golden chance for a team playing well to grab several quality wins.
Dec 5th: WKU- 141st KenPom, no postseason
After a break following a grueling Thanksgiving trip, Xavier is back in action against a decent Hilltoppers team. Hopefully, the usual post-Thanksgiving malaise will not be in full swing.
Dec 8th: Wright State- 250th KenPom, no postseason.
Dec 12th: UC/Crosstown Shootout- 34th KenPom, NCAA Second Round
Last year it was all about Dee Davis in this game. This year, the game returns to the Cintas Center. Xavier has been rolling against UC recently, it would be another resume win if they can get this game.
Dec 19th: Auburn- 147th KenPom, no postseason.
Last year Xavier played one of their more frustrating games and lost to Auburn in double overtime. The Tigers are in a fellow elite conference, but they should be a notch below the Musketeers this year. Then again, they should have been last year.
Dec 22nd: Wake Forest/Skip Prosser Classic- 124th KenPom, no postseason.
This game is about a lot more than just playing Wake, and it's fitting that it comes just before a long layoff leading into Big East play. On the court, the Demon Deacons are coming off a down year in a series of down years. They may start to bounce back, but it shouldn't be at Xavier's expense.