In the world of college basketball, it’s ordinary to expect the unexpected. The national rankings have been all over the place, No. 1 spots have changed multiple times and many underrated teams have proven disbelievers wrong. When it comes to hoops in the Big East conference, expecting the unexpected is an understatement. The Xavier Musketeers haves become one of those teams to prove people wrong. Slotted to finish fourth in the Big East, Xavier now sits at No. 5 in the country and could potentially be a top seed in the big dance. Seth Greenberg of ESPN’s “College Basketball Live” said on Tuesday’s show that Xavier could “really be on the rise, potentially a No. 1 seed. How long they’ll stay there, I don’t know. This is a very good basketball team.” Greenberg isn’t wrong about how good this team is. What makes this Musketeer squad so good is how its talent is spread out among players.
Xavier might not have National Player of the Year candidates or lottery picks on the roster, but this team is good. With their 90-83 win over No.1 Villanova on Wednesday night, the Musketeer squad could see themselves easily in the top three, and, if they keep up the wins a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournamnet. Guards Trevon Bluiett and breakout freshman Edmond Sumner have been a threat to the Big East when Sumner has been healthy. Bluiett averages 15.3 points and 2.3 assists per game while Sumner racks up 11.4 points and 3.2 assists. Junior guard Myles Davis is another sharpshooter for the team. The team doesn’t boast just talented guards. Senior forward James Farr averages 8.1 rebounds per contest, and has the second-highest field-goal percentage on the team.
Another key component to this team is head coach Chris Mack. Mack just completed his sixth season at the helm and has already received a contract extension that goes through the 2020-21 season. The extension is rightfully deserved. Mack has taken his team to the NCAA Tournament five times in his six seasons. He’s also the first head coach in school history to lead the team to three Sweet 16 appearances. And after the amount of success the team has had this season, Mack will surely make that six tourney appearances. In my opinion, the Musketeers’ seed for the big dance will depend on the show they put on at MSG for the Big East Tournament. Their chances of winning look good with how talented they’ve proven to be in past postseasons. But after all, this is basketball in the Big East, and minds have been known to be blown.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill.