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Peeking into March

It’s about the time of year where the word resume doesn’t just mean your CV.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at DePaul Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

There is something approaching 18 inches of snow on the ground, the actual air temp will be below zero before the sun sets, and the wind is blowing out of the north in the kind of way that makes it painful to breathe. All of that means that the 17-18th of March, usually the kind of days where the windows can periodically be open and spring is hanging in the air, can seem a long way off. In basketball terms, though, that weekend is approaching rapidly.

Xavier has set themselves up well for Selection Sunday. With 13 conference games left, plus that one yet to be scheduled hanging around out there, the Musketeers are 14-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big East. The only team that has beaten a healthy X squad is Villanova, and that is rather to be expected. Xavier has beaten Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma St, Marquette, and Creighton already this year.

Just the record doesn’t matter all that much, though, what matter are things like the KenPom, NET, and WAB. Xavier is looking good in all of those as well. The Musketeers are 19th in the KenPom and 16th in NET. When it comes to WAB (wins above bubble) Xavier is tenth in the nation at 2.9. X is 3-3 in Q1 games, has four Q2 wins, and is undefeated against teams in quadrants 2-4. The average NET of Xavier’s losses is 11. All of those are great harbingers for what Selection Sunday might bring.

Prefer just some standard bracketology? In the 88 brackets compiled by the Bracket Matrix, X appears 88 times. X sits on the top of the five line there, but multiple places have them as high as third or as low as sixth. Bump over to Heat Check CBB and the second most accurate bracketologist around and you have Xavier as a four seed playing Chattanooga.

Bart Torvik also has Xavier as the top of the five line. What Torvik offers that other places don’t is a percentage chance of a team making the tournament based on current resume and historic trends. Right now the Musketeers have a 99.4% chance of having their name called on Selection Sunday. After a two year absence from the tournament, that’s what Xavier Nation has been waiting to hear.