Periodically this year I’m going to be looking at Xavier’s NET and what exactly it means. For some review, here’s what I wrote about where X needs to be near Selection Sunday in order to feel safe:
38th was the safety line. Below that, Oklahoma (39th), Xavier (40th), Texas A&M (43rd), SMU (45th), and North Texas (47th) all landed between the safety line and 48th and didn’t make the tournament. There is still a committee interpretation to deal, so the NET isn’t a simply be all-end all, but it is the most accurate guide to what the committee will do.
For the rest of the year we will use that 38 number as our goal for the Musketeers. Again, that’s not a guarantee, but it’s close. If X can get above that, they’ll be in very good shape. Last season Xavier ended 37th, but that was after the NIT. Weirdly, they did not replay the NCAA tournament in order to get X in.
Right now, Xavier is 41st in the NET. Read this next part hilariously: the UC win cost Xavier a spot. There are no bad wins, losing obviously would have been far worse, but the Bearcats are so bad that the NET gives Xavier no credit for beating them. Tonight’s opponent, Southern is a Q4 game. Winning that one won’t impress the NET either.
Things don’t get a lot better immediately after that. Georgetown is actually lower down the NET than Southern. X isn’t picking up a good win there, either. Seton Hall is 89th. At home they present a Q3 game. Xavier can finally get a good win if St. John’s holds on to 70th. That would make them a Q1 on the road on the 28th. Three short days later, Xavier plays UConn. The Huskies are currently first in the NET. That’s a Q1 no matter where it happens.
As things stand the Musketeers are hanging on the NET bubble. 41st is neither great nor dreadful. It gives X a chance to build from here while recognizing that the non-conference could have gone better. For the next few games, the Musketeers just need to tread water. After Christmas the chances for good wins are finally coming.