It has been nearly two years since Xavier cracked the top 25 of the AP poll. Back then the Musketeers were 9-1 and had just rolled UC, the #44 team in the KenPom rankings. Things went a bit pear shaped after that as X went 10-12 the rest of the way and was spared a very fraught Selection Sunday only by a pandemic canceling the tournament.
Two years later we are, somehow, still dealing with the same pandemic. In much better news, Xavier is back in the AP top 25, if only just. The Musketeers check in this week at 25th, one of four (Villanova #7, Seton Hall #21, UConn #22) to grace the top 25 of the most venerated poll in basketball.
Does AP polling really matter that much? No. The polls no longer factor in the selection committee’s criteria and computer numbers are increasingly leaking into broadcasts and print media. Those computer numbers have Xavier in the high 30s and are likely a more accurate reflection of the team thus far. There’s no shame in landing what is likely above the cut line in the KenPom or Torvik rankings.
But that doesn’t have the thrill of the number showing up on a broadcast. When Xavier tips off against Iowa State on Wednesday, they will have a #25 next to their name. All objective concerns aside, that’s still very cool. Xavier is back in the national reckoning.