clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Xavier’s NET reflects missed opportunities

There aren’t a lot of good ways to spin being 48th.

Syndication: The Enquirer
Add these guys’ numbers together and you still don’t get to Xavier’s NET
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s way too early to starting talking resume for Selection Sunday, so let’s start talking resume for Selection Sunday. The first NET rankings of the year are out. Xavier is off to a pretty poor start, coming in at 48th. That is in large part because of those precious “good losses.” As it turns out, the NET doesn’t actually like those.

Xavier is 48th. Their quads break down like this Q1: 1-3, Q2: 1-0, Q3: 0-0, Q4: 4-0. That leaves Xavier at 6-3 with one really good win, one decent one, four Q4 wins, and three losses. For some reference, in the final NET rankings before Selection Sunday last season, Wake Forest was 48th. They went 1-4 in Quad 1. They didn’t make the tournament.

Actually, a lot of teams above that didn’t make it as well. 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.

To that end, it seems like last year the committee rewarded either doing decently in a brutal schedule, or piling up wins and doing well in a handful of high level games. USC got in by winning 26 times and going 9-5 in the top two quads (4-4 in Q1). TCU got in because they played an incredible 22 games in the two two quads and came out 10-12 in those games. You can either pile up wins or pile up huge games that you come close to splitting. (Or you can be Michigan. Don’t ask me how they got in.)

What you can’t do is simply aggregate Q1 and Q2 games and hope the committee recognizes that you were competitive in them. Xavier and Texas A&M did just that last season. They played a March classic last season, but it was in the NIT. You also can’t just pile up wins without ever really testing your team. That’s what North Texas did last season, and while I’m sure they played in the postseason, it wasn’t in the NCAA tournament, so it’s hard to really care.

So what does that mean for Xavier this season? The Musketeers need to both pile up some wins and grab some high Q wins. There are chances to do both. UC and Southern are Q3 and Q4 respectively. X needs to win both of those, full stop. Right now, UConn is the only pure Q1 game on the schedule. The Musketeers will likely need to split with them. Creighton presents a Q1 opportunity on the road. The rest of the Big East, well:

There is one HUGE caveat to all this. That is that these are the first of the NET rankings. Sam Houston won’t finish the season seventh, Louisville won’t finish 361st (maybe). Last year Wyoming was 12th at this point and Wagner was 23rd. Eventual tournament team Wright State was 297th and and tournament darling St. Peter’s 242nd. Things change, and they change a lot.

So Xavier has work to do, but that work is still doable. The committee and NET don’t care that the Musketeers almost beat Duke and Gonzaga. They will care that Xavier has a chance to stack some wins and add to the top level wins. The Big East is down this season, but the Musketeers can still add what they need to their resume.