One of the ways to get through the summer is by looking at where your team should be come October. Once, that meant lining things up to see if Xavier could get in on the bubble or, in a good year, earn an automatic bid. Now, it means seeing where in the top 25 the Musketeers should start and trying to gauge if this is a year where they are legitimate Final Four contenders, or if a few things will have to break right for them to get there. Thankfully, college basketball writers have to do something to stay employed in the summer, so there are a few things to look at.
ESPN- Xavier 17th
The Worldwide Leader starts their intro of the Musketeers by immediately stating they are likely ranked to low and ends it by reaffirming that same thing. Why don’t they move Xavier up, then? It’s hard to say, but Myron Medcalf has Xavier behind UC and USC. ESPN thinks that this is Trevon Bluiett’s team, but that Kerem Kanter will have a big impact. Add in the 13th best recruiting class in the nation and you get...a team ranked two spots behind Minnesota. ESPN is as ESPN does, I guess.
Fox Sports- Xavier 9th
Fox looks at a team featuring Bluiett, his “right hand man” JP Macura, and Paul Scruggs and sees a squad destined for the top 10. This is basically the opposite of ESPN looking at a team that finished in the Elite Eight, added a great recruiting class, and deciding they must have gotten marginally worse. Fox also looks at Kanter as a potentially big piece for the team. This poll has USC fifth. You read it here first, but the Trojans will not be that good this year.
CBS Sports- Xavier 22nd
And back to the other end of the spectrum we go. It’s a mark of how far the program has come that being near the bottom end of the top 25 feels like a slap in the face. This exercise in absurdity has the Musketeers behind Northwestern, Minnesota, St. Mary’s, and current media darling USC. From this blurb “Trevon Bluiett's return means Xavier's roster is headlined by an All-American candidate who averaged 18.5 points last season. Combine that with a top-15 recruiting class, and the Musketeers should compete near the top of the Big East again,” CBS decides that Xavier barely makes the top 25.
So there is no consensus here. Xavier is clearly one of the elite programs in the nation, but how far up they top 25 they belong is apparently open to debate. This is, of course, different than the polls. These are actual rankings of the best teams, not some sort of political machination designed to, essentially, reward the recognizable teams. We’ll check back in before the season tips off, but to begin with Xavier is ensconced near the top.