Andy Katz gets paid a lot more than I do to talk about college basketball. As a result of his work for Fox and ESPN, the NCAA frequently rely on Katz for insight and articles in the down time between seasons. (Sort of like what is happening right here.) Katz has obliged them by releasing his Power 36 for the 20-21. Why he chose 36 is anyone’s guess, but that’s where Andy draws the line.
Katz has Gonzaga as his number one. No real complaints there, the Bulldogs will be good again this year. The first Big East team is Villanova at number three. Again, no complaints. Villanova owns the Big East, one of the best conferences in the nation. Things get a bit odd with Rutgers at #13, but the Scarlet Knights were sneaky good last year and could be again.
There’s Creighton (#16), Providence (#30), and Seton Hall (#31). Nothing outside of the norm there. Surely if Providence is in there the Musketeers are because, well, Xavier is likely the better team. Finishing the scroll down the page does not reveal the Musketeers lurking in the top 36 or even in the other teams considered. Northern Iowa is there, as is Saint Louis. Evidently Katz really rates the MVC and A10 this year.
It’s not beyond the realm of reason to think that Xavier might not be that good this year. They weren’t good last year and a lot of their success this season is predicated on freshman and transfers fitting in quickly. Katz lists a grand total of 58 teams in his article though, and X isn’t among them. That Xavier would be worse than Loyola-Chicago or Bradley this year is laughable on its face. The Braves were not in the top 100 last season, and they aren’t the team that added CJ Wilcher, Dwon Odom, Adam Kunkel, and Ben Stanley.
I can’t explain what goes through the mind of an AP voter who gives Charlotte a vote or what Katz was thinking when he wrote this. Sometimes, it gets hard to remember which of the 350+ college basketball teams is good, which is bad, and which (Savannah St) doesn’t exist anymore. None of that changes that the Xavier Musketeers will be better than the Bradley Braves this year, and will likely beat Providence at least once. Another season starts with Xavier being overlooked.