I am not going to get ahead of myself. Sure, Xavier has won nine straight. Sure, Xavier has beaten UConn and Villanova. Sure, Xavier is 13-3 (5-0). Sure, Xavier has two guys in the KenPom top five in the conference. I’m not getting too excited, though. Nope. Keeping it really chill over here. There’s definitely not a countdown on the home page of my phone set to Selection Sunday.
The Musketeers are surging right now. Sean Miller was known at Xavier for having his teams peak at the right time, while recently the Musketeers have peaked... let’s be generous and call it too early. The peaks have been high and exciting (thanks for playing, EJ Liddell) but excitement in March is generally preferable to excitement in November or December. Hopefully this run doesn’t come to the same screeching February halt as last season.
Tell all your friends, the Big East is back. The difference between the Big East in fourth of the efficiency rankings and the SEC in third is essentially noise in the system. If only teams didn’t have to play Georgetown and DePaul. Without those two anchors, the wins and losses that are being accumulated in the Big East are all of the good or not very damaging variety. As you can see above, seven of the 11 teams are now Q1 games on the road. That’s extremely good.
By the time we reconvene for a look at the NET again next Monday, Xavier will have had two more chances to add Q1 wins. If the season were to end with a selection show today, Xavier would be in and in easily. Assuming that no disaster is forthcoming, and keeping in mind that X was in just as good or better position last year and disaster did come, the Musketeers are in the position of burnishing their resume right now, not just trying to get it good enough to make the tournament.
So maybe it’s ok to start getting excited. I, too, have been burned by the last couple seasons and have that fear of another Xavier-less March. The signs are all good at this point, though. Peak ahead a little bit, get happy, and then get back to the grind. The Musketeers are good, long may they be good.