If you are a serious follower of Xavier basketball or just college basketball at all, there is one site that you probably visit religiously (besides this one, obviously). Ken Pomeroy of KenPom.com has compiled the best statistical analysis of the game anywhere on the internet. On there you can find just about anything you need to know about your favorite team and its rotation of players. A vast majority of the research done here for Banners, and by a good many high major programs, is done at KenPom.
Since 2011 part of what Pomeroy has done is compile preseason rankings of all 351 division one programs. Included in that are breakdowns of every conference and every team. While that is all very interesting, what we will look at is the Big East Conference, and Xavier in particular.
The Big East, despite the huge reshuffle and the new teams, remains one of the top conferences in the nation. The science behind the ratings gets a bit complex, but when it all comes out, the Big East comes second, behind only the Big 10. The top seven conferences (Big 10, Big East, ACC, American, Pac 12, Big 12, SEC) are separated by only nine points on the rating system, all falling between 83 and 74. The drop happens right after that, with a substantial six point drop down to the eight ranked conference, the Atlantic 10.
Ken is not nearly that kind to Xavier. The Musketeers land at 57th in the new rankings. While that is a major step up from last year, it finds them below the mid 40s mark that generally lands the last at large bid to the NCAA tournament. Ken also has Xavier finishing eighth in the Big East, but tied on record with St. John's and Butler, and only a game back of Providence. It should be noted that these are not predictions as such, but instead Pomeroy's best interpretation of the numbers that he has. If you subscribe to KenPom you can see his full Xavier projection, including the neat little four and five game conference losing streaks he forecasts.
- The Big 10 is the best conference in the land, so it should be noted that the might SWAC is the worst, finishing nearly 70 ratings points behind. Grambling St. takes the honors of being the very worst team in the nation.
- For a measure of how good the league that Xavier has moved into is, their 57th overall would land them fourth in the Atlantic 10, behind VCU (21), Saint Louis (31), and La Salle (55). The A10 drops five teams below the 100 mark, the Big East has none. DePaul at 84th is the worst team in the Big East.
- Xavier checks in at a massive tie for 23rd in the KenPom popularity rankings. That is basically a measure of how many subscribed users list Xavier as their favorite team. Kansas runs away with that poll, scoring 10.7% of the votes, more than 5% more than anyone else.
- ESPN's Dan Hanner has Xavier at 61st and 7th in the Big East.