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A Brief Christmas Week Conversation

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“I still trust in Mack but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about this team.”

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Xavier
This is also a conversation, but probably not a pleasant one.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The question swirling around Xavier Nation right now seems to revolve around just how good Xavier might be at this point. With the computer numbers still close to a month from showing no noise from last year (though each day brings us closer) and conference play waiting essentially on the new year, it’s hard to get an accurate gauge on how good any given team might be. Believe it or not, squeaking by Wake didn’t do a lot to make me feel better.

Brad: I kind of want to @ some players. Goodness me.

Joel: That 3-6 with two missed front ends down the stretch didn't do it for you?

Paul: Ugly. I've been confident that Xavier's going to break out for 4 or 5 games now and it just hasn't happened. The optimist in me says win and move on. The pessimist in me says this is the best the BE has been since we've joined, and we look like the 4th best team in the league. I still trust in Mack but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about this team.

Joel: On the other hand, Creighton needed a 6-0 run over the last six and a half minutes to beat Oral Roberts by one at home tonight. Of those two results, I'll take ours.

Brad: In a vacuum, yes, but Creighton looks a much more accomplished team right now. Beyond just their zero losses, they've got a very good win over Wisconsin and some other solid resume work. That they weren't great in one game doesn't do a great deal to mitigate my concern about Xavier.

Joel: I've gotta say, Creighton and Butler both look pretty good right now. That Indiana State loss doesn't look good for Butler, but they have three wins in KenPom's top twenty. Creighton is undefeated, though they're a little light on quality competition. Seton Hall has three fairly good wins, and Georgetown is fairly inconsistent but has enough talent to punch with anyone. I know it's early, but this may be as good as the league has been since Xavier joined. It's kind of scary.

That’s where some of the Banners staff lands on this. Calling the Musketeers “shaky” on Facebook led to another interesting exchange:

Comment: We won against a pretty good team. I understand the negatives you are pointing out but....any ,ok most, computer rankings have us listed between top five or top 20. I'm not sure "shaky " is a good description of where we are ....back to back wins against Utah and Wake is not too shabby.

Brad: Somewhat obviously, shaky is exactly what I'd call us right now. We have some solid wins, but no really good ones yet, depending on what you think of Clemson. We don't make free throws, turn the ball over way too much, and can't shoot from deep. Our defense is better, but teams shoot relatively well against us. Are we bad? No, but I don't see us as a top 20 team right now. By the time the preseason noise sorts out of the computer rankings, I'm not sure they will either.

Comment: What do you think is going to happen in the next week to ten days (preseason noise sorts out) that is going to hurt us in the computer rankings? If you mean once conference play starts....then with the very high computer rankings of several Big East teams, I think we may move up in those rankings during conference play assuming we do the win at home and beat the bottom feeders on the road. (As I think most would bet).

So, with EWU not at all looming on the horizon, where do you land? Is Xavier a good team that is winning ugly, or are the Musketeers papering over the cracks on a team that just isn’t that good right now?