After a long, hot summer, we’re finally back! Xavier basketball tips off tonight against Morgan State; we’ll have our preview of that game a little later for you today, but for now we’re hitting the final steps in our preseason coverage. We’ve broken down everything from the roster to the schedule; all that’s left to do is give you our picks for every single game Xavier will play this season.
A couple of things to note as you go through. First of all, the header for each game will link you to the deeper dive we’ve taken on that opponent; click through for a breakdown of how the offseason treated each team and what they’ve ended up with on the brink of the new season. Second, and somewhat self-evidently, each game will have KenPom’s pick with his confidence interval, followed by each of our picks in a purely binary fashion. Got it? Good. Let’s go.
KenPom: W, 84-60, 98% win prob
Brad: W. Obviously
Joel: W. The (second) Miller Era starts with a walkover, picking up where the exhibition game left off.
Bryan: W If we lose this, I’m deleting Twitter
Braydan: W. Big dub, maybe the biggest ever
KenPom: W, 78-62, 93% win prob
Brad: W. Tougher, but not tough
Joel: W. Montana lost a ton from last year, and we’re not paying these teams to come to Cintas and win.
Bryan: W A step up from Morgan St, but not one I expect to be difficult
Braydan: W. Also big dub. If we struggle in this game I’ll freak out a little bit
KenPom: W, 76-59, 93% win prob
Brad: W. 3-0. X will be nationally ranked or just off by this point.
Joel: W. Ed Cooley’s current team might be a challenge, but his former one shouldn’t be.
Bryan: W. Should be another chance for the walk ons to get a shot up before the Gavitt game
Braydan: W. Hopefully the kind of game where we see the freshman for extended periods
KenPom: L, 71-70, 45% win prob
Brad: L. This is a really tough Hoosier team with a legit star.
Joel: L. I really want to see a win here, but Indiana brings back too much and Xavier is too early in Miller’s tenure. The Hoosiers are - or should be - legit this year; I don’t think X is there yet in November.
Bryan: W. I think this will be much like the OSU game last year, the crowd helps the team find a way to win
Braydan: W. Early chance to show we’re legit. Indiana is supposed to be great this year, but I think this is the win that shows Sean Miller is back.
KenPom: L, 73-72 48% win prob
Brad: W. This feels like a Sean Miller special where the veteran coach gets his team a tough win.
Joel: W. Florida is also going through a coaching transition, but they lost a lot more from their last team. Jack Nunge has Colin Castleton for lunch again.
Bryan: W. I think X’s pieces will be a bit more settled than Florida’s at this point.
Braydan: W. Stay hot off our win against Indiana.
Brad: 1-1. Gonzaga and Duke are here. X is getting better, but they aren't at that level yet.
Joel: 1-1. If this proves too pessimistic and we win this thing, we’re going all the way. At some point, Xavier will run into Gonzaga or Duke, and I don’t see that being a reasonably surmountable challenge this early.
Bryan: 1-1. I don’t know that this team will be greatly overmatched by a top 5 team, but it will be a hard hill to climb.
Braydan: 1-1. A good showing against one of the juggernauts would be encouraging, but I don’t think we can quite dismantle them.
KenPom: W, 87-60, 99% win prob
Brad: W. By, like, a zillion.
Joel: W. Attrition has gutted SELa’s roster and Xavier should be better than them in any circumstance. Muskies take this one at a trot.
Braydan: W. DOUBLE U!
KenPom: W, 75-68, 74% win prob
Brad: W. Bob Huggins just doesn't beat Xavier.
Joel: W. Bart Torvik thinks West Virginia will be good. KenPom and I don’t see it. Manhattan transfer Jose Perez will add punch to the roster after the holidays, but December in Cintas should favor X.
Bryan: W. Bob Huggins doesn’t typically fare well against Xavier.
Braydan: W. Beat the brakes off of Huggy Bear.
KenPom: L, 73-70, 42% win prob
Brad: W. You serious, Clark?
Joel: W. UC brings back most of their meaningful players and adds Landers Nolley and a solid recruiting class. They could have landed Jesus Shuttlesworth and I’d still pick X here.
Bryan: W. If I believed Kevin Frey would punk Kenyon Martin, I can believe in this team’s ability to handle UC.
Braydan: W. Never gonna pick us to lose to UC. We’re the better team and we move to four in a row in the shootout.
KenPom: W, 83-61, 97% win prob
Brad: W. I'm getting concerned I'm typing a lot of W's. How good do I think this team is? I picked us as a seven seed but here we are at 9-2.
Joel: W. Southern isn’t the worst team on the schedule, though it’s not for lack of trying. They should be a contender in the SWAC, but they shouldn’t challenge a Big East team at home.
Bryan: W. Hopefully a final jolt of momentum before BE play.
Braydan: W. Final game to work out the kinks.
KenPom: W, 77-73, 63% win prob
Brad: W. Lads, it's Georgetown.
Joel: W. On the road for just the second time in the year, Xavier takes care of business because Sean Miller is good at this and Patrick Ewing is not.
Bryan: W. Georgetown has lost 19 in a row in conference for a reason.
Braydan: W. Even the return of Qudus doesn’t make Georgetown a good team
KenPom: W, 72-68, 65% win prob
Brad: W. The Pirates are rebuilding and I’m a Holloway skeptic.
Joel: W. Shaheen Holloway is making a huge leap in level in his first year as Seton Hall’s coach. I don’t think the Pirates have the firepower to come into Cintas and steal one from Sean Miller in his home Big East debut.
Bryan: W. Seton Hall is in a slight rebuild year and I think they will take a little while to adjust to conference play.
Braydan: W. The Pirates have talent in their roster, but X has the more complete squad and a more experienced coach.
Wed Dec 28 - at KP #37 St. John’s
KenPom: L, 76-73, 37% win prob
Brad: L. The point guard problem rears its ugly head here.
Joel: L. At an opponent with a frenetic press, I think the lack of a true veteran point hurts here. KenPom says loss, and I agree.
Bryan: L. @ St. John’s just always feels like a big ask if Chris Mullin isn’t coaching.
Braydan: L. Could be a close one if X can really take care of the ball. but St. John’s is probably too dang quick.
KenPom: W, 71-69, 55% win prob
Brad: L. I think UConn is really good. This feels like a game where Zach Freemantle needs managed.
Joel: W. This feels like one where X will get a couple of early calls and Hurley has a world class melty on the sideline before the half. I know that’s a weirdly specific vibe to have two months out.
Bryan: W. This is going to be a grind, but I think Miller is well suited to those.
Braydan: W. I’m high on UConn this year, but X rides the home crowd to a victory.
Sat Jan 7 - at KP #20 Villanova
KenPom: L, 74-68, 29% win prob
Brad: L. Reason- the game is at Nova.
Joel: L. I recognize that Kyle Neptune isn’t Jay Wright and Sean Miller might be the best coach Xavier has ever had, but anticipating a win at Nova is tough to believe until I experience it.
Bryan: L. If X can make this a grind, then it could be a W, but Nova always shoots 94% from three at home.
Braydan: L. We’ve been ever so close to a victory in Philly the past couple years, but it’s hard to see a victory coming here.
KenPom: W, 72-71, 54% win prob
Brad: L. Yeah, a four game loser.
Joel: L. I don’t have a real reason, I just think X is going to struggle against Creighton this year. They’re not deep, but they’ve got a strong top 5 or so that I think will give X problems.
Bryan: W. Hopefully X is clicking by now because this will be a big one.
Braydan: W. This is a big one. X has much better depth and they can make it count here with a big win.
Sun Jan 15 - KP #76 Marquette
KenPom: W, 76-69, 74% win prob
Brad: W. Shelve the #fireMiller for now.
Joel: W. Hot take: there aren’t that many good players on Marquette this year.
Bryan: W. Shaka’s teams are always a tough out, but I don’t know that they have the firepower this year.
Braydan: W. Not high on Marquette this year, but they’ll still be tough. I don’t care for Shaka Smart, I hope we win by 30
KenPom: W, 73-71, 58% win prob
Brad: W. I did this way after everyone else and now I see that Joel has also channeled Sir Alex to answer one.
Joel: W. Lads, it’s DePaul.
Bryan: W. BPI may be absurdly high on DePaul, but I am not
Braydan: W. DePaul snuck up on X last season and they’ve lost their best players. Gotta take care of business here.
Sat Jan 21 - KP #102 Georgetown
KenPom: W, 80-70, 82% win prob
Brad: W. You just have to win these if you want to be a tournament team.
Joel: W. A baby born on the day Georgetown last won a regular season Big East game will be almost ready for potty training by the time this game tips. Ewing is in over his head.
Bryan: W. They’ll probably have a win by now, right?
Braydan: W. Is Patrick Ewing a good coach? No, he isn’t.
Wed Jan 25 - at KP #27 Connecticut
KenPom: L, 73-68, 32% win prob
Brad: W. Not sure why.
Joel: W. I don’t rate Hurley as a coach, certainly not the way I do Miller. I think X comes away with a smash and grab here.
Bryan: L. Last year @UConn was a pretty low point, so I’m hoping for at least a better performance this time.
Braydan: L. UConn is dang good. A loss here isn’t a crushing blow and a win would genuinely surprise me.
Sat Jan 28 - at KP #22 Creighton
KenPom: L, 74-69, 31% win prob
Brad: L. McDermott is a great coach with a really good roster. The Jays are legit this year.
Joel: L. I don’t think this is a roster that Coach McDermott is going to let lose too many games at home. Xavier will have their hands full with the Jays.
Bryan: L. Rough stretch right here.
Braydan: L. The Bluejays are loaded. Not a boat race, but not close.
Wed Feb 1 - KP #57 Providence
KenPom: W, 73-67, 68% win prob
Brad: W. Jack Nunge goes crazy after back to back frustrating games for him.
Joel: W. Kyky goes for a dozen in this one; I’m manifesting it.
Bryan: W. Not an easy get right game, but unless the roof springs a leak, I think X can right the ship.
Braydan: W. X gets right against an outmatched Providence team.
Sat Feb 4 - KP #37 St. John’s
KenPom: W, 76-73, 60% win prob
Brad: W. There has been enough time to sort the point by now. X adjusts and wins a tough one.
Joel: W. This one worries me, but I think X has just enough to get it done. A lotta home crowd and maybe a little home cooking get this one across the line.
Bryan: W. The ghost of Dontarius James comes back to haunt the Johnnies.
Braydan: W. I think X handles the relentless pressure better at home.
KenPom: W, 74-68, 71% win prob
Brad: W, and not a close one. Thad Matta is washed.
Joel: W. Matta has been out of the game for 5 years and wasn’t setting the world on fire at his last stop. I think this year is a jarring one for him and Butler, and I’m happy to see Xavier playing their part.
Bryan: W. Butler will have had time to blood in the new pieces by now, but I don’t think they have the talent.
Braydan: W. Butler found a way to make themselves more unlikable by hiring Thad Matta. Big win in the barn.
Wed Feb 15 - at KP #76 Marquette
KenPom: W, 73-72, 52% win prob
Brad: L. This game is the epitome of March. Not a compelling matchup on a not compelling night.
Joel: L. I don’t like it, but a mid-week fixture at Marquette seems like one of those where the team comes out flat and never quite gets back into the game.
Bryan: L. I might be scarred by the spirit of February past, but this feels like a land mine.
Braydan: W. We reverse the curse we’ve had @Marquette since 17-18.
Sat Feb 18 - KP #88 DePaul
KenPom: W, 77-68, 79% win prob
Brad: W. It's time to start getting off the bubble. Lose here and you're watching that WAB shrink.
Joel: W. This one doesn’t take a lot of explanation. I’m not saying it’s impossible that X loses, just that it’s unreasonable to predict as a result.
Bryan: W. Should be able to handle these dudes at home.
Braydan: W. Take care of business or this is embarrassing.
Tue Feb 21 - KP #20 Villanova
KenPom: W, 72-71, 52% win prob
Brad: L. It's Nova. I'm not picking something I've barely ever seen happen.
Joel: W. With a couple of dozen games to shape the team into his own, Miller has them clicking on all cylinders here. A weekend game would have been more fun, but Cintas is rocking and X rises to the bell.
Bryan: W. This could be a huge game for BET seeding.
Braydan: W. Sean Miller joins coaching legend Travis Steele as only the second Xavier coach to beat Nova in his first season in the Big East.
Fri Feb 24 - at KP #48 Seton Hall
KenPom: L, 71-69, 41% win prob
Brad: W. Big bubble road win that knocks SHU firmly into the needs the auto bid crowd.
Joel: L. A tough road game on a Friday after a huge game against Nova? I think that’s too much to tackle for our boys.
Bryan: L. The Pirates will probably be locked in a bubble push and will be desperate for a big win.
Braydan: L. Seton Hall picks up a big win in their push for March.
Wed Mar 1 - at KP #57 Providence
KenPom: L, 71-69, 45% win prob
Brad: L. This is a grinder of a game.
Joel: W. If Noah Locke ends up being super good, Providence might surprise me this season. You can’t predict yourself being surprised though, so I’m thinking X wins this one.
Bryan: W. Huge chance to stay in the mix for a top 3 seed in the BET.
Braydan: W. If the roof holds up, we got this.
Sat Mar 4 - KP #130 Butler
KenPom: W, 78-65, 87% win prob
Brad: W. The present past overwhelms the past past.
Joel: W. At home on senior night against these guys? No chance the regular season ends on anything other than a high note.
Bryan: W. I just don’t think Butler is going to be very good.
Braydan: W. Just humiliate these guys. Please.