Within the past week alone, Jon Rothstein has reported that Xavier has added Baylor and Utah to the non-conference schedule, bringing the team's total of non-conference games for 2016-17 to 10. With a couple of slots still looking to be filled, it's clear at this point that Xavier will once again be facing one of the best non-conference schedules in the nation. Let's break down what we know so far. Teams will be listed with their KenPom ranking from last year.
Opening the season with a buy game or two is a tradition unlike any other for high-majors, and Xavier is no exception to that rule. The confirmed game against Lehigh (171) figures to be one of these, and Buffalo (131) is going to have to slot into the schedule somewhere as well. One of those games may end up sliding to a December date, but for now we'll call them Xavier's openers.
On the weekend before Thanksgiving, the Muskies will head to Puerto Rico to play in the Puerto Rico Tip Off on ESPN, an event X won in 2008. That field is confirmed and features three potential opponents with top-100 KenPom rankings last year in Oklahoma (7), Clemson (48), and UNI (66), as well as a couple who fell just outside in Arizona St (104) and Davidson (106). Missouri (182) and Tulane (219) fill out an otherwise strong field. Xavier will have the opportunity to pick up two or three really good games over that weekend, with the championship being played on Sunday, November 20th.
What do teams who don't play in Thanksgiving tournaments do that week? It seems unlikely that X will take two and a half weeks off before their next confirmed game, so I would be surprised to see them not drop a game or two into this void. Anyway, the next confirmed date is December 7th at Colorado (63), as first reported to the masses by Xavier fan Master of Reality. I'm not sure if that's his real name; go ahead and follow him on Twitter at @MOR_XU. Following 10 days after that game will be a home date against Wake Forest (125) on December 17th.
Sometime after the turn of the year - final date pending the setting of the conference schedule - Xavier will take on UC (34) in the Crosstown Shootout. That game will be at UC, leaving Myles with one last difficult hurdle to clear in his quest to go 4-4 against the Bearcats.
Take what we know there and add the game at Baylor (28) and a home matchup with Utah (39) and you're looking at a stacked schedule. Here's what it looks like in a graph, for people who are like that:
|Arizona St||Puerto Rico||104|
With two spots open, Xavier has a pretty good looking schedule. There are at least four and potentially as many as seven top-100 opponents on there, and there are another seven Big East opponents that fell into the top 100 last year as well. X has the flexibility to add another tough team or two, but the schedule will support a high seed (pending actually playing the games, obviously) even if the Muskies reach out to a couple of cupcakes to round things out.