Xavier's history with top ten teams at Cintas is not one bathed in glory. The Musketeers have invited just seven teams carrying a top ten ranking into their home arena and are just 3-4 in those games; the A10 just didn't offer a lot of chances to host top teams. The Muskies beat #9 Butler earlier this year and also knocked off #9 Creighton on March 1, 2014 and #10 Cincinnati on February 3, 2004. Other than those two victories, the record reflects losses to #6 Saint Joseph's, #10 George Washington, and a pair of defeats to Villanova teams that were ranked 6th at the time.
If you want to set the scale by the KenPom rankings, Xavier has played four home games at Cintas involving teams that finished the season in the KenPom top ten. The lone victory came by four points in November of 2012 against a Tennessee team that turned around and beat X by 15 on a neutral site two weeks later. In a combination of the KenPom rankings and the polls, Xavier has hosted 9 top-ten teams at Cintas and gone 4-5 in those games.
[Ed. note: these paragraphs have been updated to reflect the fact that I initially forgot that Butler was ever in the top 10 this year. Thanks to Bill on Facebook for the catch.]
One thing Xavier has never done in their current home arena is host the number one team in any meaningful ranking. That will change tomorrow as Villanova comes to town. This is unquestionably the biggest game in the history of the Cintas Center and might be Xavier's biggest regular season game ever. The Musketeers are usually battling to cement their at-large resume at this point in the season; tomorrow they'll be fighting for a real claim to a one seed and a respectable argument for being called #1 in the nation.
Xavier lost its first 11 games against a #1 team in the AP poll, but the Muskies have won 3 of the last 5. Wednesday's game gives Xavier a chance to break their duck against Nova and announce themselves to the basketball world as a legitimate national title contender.
Come early. Get loud. Wear white. Embrace the most phallic season theme in program history. Xavier has a chance to do something special tomorrow night.