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KenPom Bracketology: 2/4

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Xavier’s record goes one way, but their KenPom ranking continues to trend the other.

You know what I like? Winning. Players like it, fans like, coaches like it. A win is the ultimate goal of any basketball game, and Xavier has turned in 20 of them in just 22 attempts. You know what computer systems like? Consistency. If you're 20 points better than an opponent, you should beat them by 20. If you don't, the computer believes that it was inaccurate in its assessment of your true talent level and docks you accordingly. Obviously a computer doesn't know about things like playing in a flat environment or having been told all week you're going to run away with the game or how distracting it is when the opposing coach acts like the scorer's table is his childhood tire swing. Numbers in, numbers out. That's a computer ranking system's biggest strength and biggest flaw rolled into one.

Obviously this is all a prelude to the idea that Xavier's unconvincing win over St. John's did not impress the Pomeroy rankings. Here's proof in the form of an s-curve:

The KenPom s-curve 2/4
1 IOWA OKLAHOMA VILLANOVA NORTH CAROLINA
2 TEXAS A&M West Virginia Michigan St. Virginia
3 Louisville Maryland WICHITA ST. Kansas
4 Miami FL OREGON Duke Purdue
5 Arizona Xavier Iowa St. Indiana
6 Kentucky SAINT MARY'S Florida VALPARAISO
7 VCU CONNECTICUT Texas Baylor
8 Cincinnati Notre Dame Seton Hall USC
9 Syracuse Gonzaga Dayton Vanderbilt
10 STONY BROOK Florida St. Michigan Utah
11 California Butler Providence Pittsburgh
12 Colorado Clemson ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK Kansas St.
12 Creighton MONMOUTH
13 SAN DIEGO ST. AKRON YALE SOUTH DAKOTA ST.
14 STEPHEN F. AUSTIN JAMES MADISON CHATTANOOGA LONG BEACH ST.
15 GRAND CANYON BELMONT UAB WEBER ST.
16 BUCKNELL TEXAS SOUTHERN UNC ASHEVILLE NORTH FLORIDA
16 WAGNER HAMPTON
First 4 out Arkansas South Carolina Wisconsin LSU
Next 4 out Saint Joseph's Georgia Tech Texas Tech BYU

And the bracket:

KenPom 2-4

As you can see, the tempo-free rankings were not kind to Xavier. There was a time where any win over St. John's anywhere would raise the team's profile, but we live in a day and age where a seven-point home win against the Red Storm registers as a black mark on Xavier's record. I'm pretty okay with that, frankly. As long as Xavier holds serve down the stretch, the Selection Committee will still look favorably upon them on the biggest Sunday of the year.

Elsewhere, Iowa and Oklahoma have passed up Nova for the top seed line right now. UNC stands as the fourth number one, but the gap between the Tar Heels and Nova is larger than UNC's own advantage over #9 Louisville. The top three have separated themselves for the time being, but it's clear at this point that anything can happen this season.