There are only two teams above Xavier now. Virginia is a near consensus number one on the back of a defense setting records for stinginess. The only other team that anyone* thinks might be better than the Musketeers is the team that has beaten them twice this season. Beyond that, there is no one. Not Duke, not UNC, not UK, not Kansas, no one. Xavier is in the driving seat for a one seed with 348 teams still queuing up behind them.
That would be incredible in and of itself, but it’s not even the story of the week. For the first time in the nearly 40 year history of the Big East, Xavier sits alone atop the ranking at the end of the season. Vilanova’s four year run was ended by a Musketeers team that only lost three games in conference play and only once since January 10th. X won the best offensive conference in the nation by alternately holding Seton Hall to 64 and DePaul to 62 and also scoring over 90 on five separate occasions.
All of that was accomplished largely because of one of the best players in the history of the program, Trevon Bluiett. Bluiett became one of only 13 players to be name all Big East for three straight years when he took home that honor again this season. Bluiett figures to battle with Jalen Brunson for Big East player of the year honors. Bluiett’s inseparable wingman, JP Macura, was snubbed by the voters, something he figures to address at the Garden this week.
*Anyone except Jesse Newell, who has Xavier 10th in the nation, behind Michigan and Gonzaga and six spots behind a UC team they flat out stomped.