I was minding my own business on the internet today when I came across this:
Every Big East team has now played exactly 100 games in league play since conference realignment prior to the 2013-14 season.— (@mjdemarinis) February 7, 2019
Here are the standings over the last five and a half years: pic.twitter.com/ql6pcF90te
We haven't heard a peep about it on Twitter or in the comments here, but Xavier is actually struggling in Big East play this season. Despite that, they're still the clear second best team in the league since they joined 100 games ago.
Think about that. If you're old enough to read, in your lifetime you've seen X jump from the big fish in the small pond that is the A-10 to beating everyone except Nova in the Big East despite being in the downest of down years. If you're my age, you've witnessed Xavier's entire ascent from being listed as Xavier (OH) in print and being pronounced wrong on TV to being clearly the only Xavier, often in the national conversation, and still pronounced wrong.
The fact is, every program that doesn't have its Forever Coach - and some programs that do - is going to suffer the occasional down year. Looking ahead, though, what Big East team would you trade places with?
Nova is obvious. Beyond them... maybe nobody.
I think Creighton and Marquette have the right coaches for their programs and possibly guys who can take them on deep runs. The jury is still way out on Lavall Jordan at Butler.
I think Ed Cooley and Kevin Willard are solid but limited coaches. I think Patrick Ewing is the right guy at Georgetown and that freshman class is impressive; they're going to be something next year.
I'm not sure Chris Mullin has any more coaching experience now than he did when St. John's hired him. Dave Leitao doesn't move the needle for me at all.
Travis Steele has incredible potential for Xavier, and the 2019 class is as loaded as we've seen since the group that brought us Tre and JP. Adding a grad transfer big man would put X right back into the hunt next year, and Coach Steele is already making noise in 2020.
I know he has a long way to go to prove that he's the next in line at X, but the school hasn't whiffed on a coaching hire since before Steele was born. They're either due, or they're just good.
I wish Xavier were winning 60% of their league games this year and not just overall, but a down year isn't indicative of how excellent this program has been and will be again very soon.