Both the USA Today and the AP polls are out for the college basketball preseason, and they both agree on Xavier. Actually they both agree on all of the Big East teams represented in the top 25. Villanova slots in at number six in both, Xavier is 17th, and Seton Hall comes in 23rd. That solidity speaks well to the fact that people are settled on the Big East holding a large part of the top 25.
Of course, as we do love to point out, none of this really matters. Before a ball is tipped, it is almost impossible to know who is actually amongst the top teams in the nation. Duke was also ranked #1 last year, and how did that work out for them? (In case you don’t remember, they secured a two seed and got dumped in the second round). The point of this isn’t that Duke tends to choke, but rather that trying to accurately predict anything five months before it happens and with no data to go on is largely a fool’s errand.
Which doesn’t keep it from being fun. James Cook’s landing on Hawaii didn’t go well for him (they killed and baked him) but that hasn’t kept the rest of us from enjoying it. The teams that will incite the most Xavier fan ire here are UC at 12/13 and Minnesota at 15 in both polls. The Bearcats are likely to be good this year, but it’s just hard to fathom how a team coached by Mick Cronin is actually going to win anything that matters. Minnesota and, to some extent, Northwestern, are teams that are going to get a lot of hype on the back of one solid season. In the meat grinder that is the Big 10, it’s incumbent upon them to actually prove it now.
For those of us who are Big East homers, both Providence and Butler are receiving votes in both polls. St. John’s received some love from CBS’ 1-351 rankings, but don’t make it here. Creighton was even higher than Chris Mullins boys, but only received votes in the USA Today.
Dayton does not appear in either.