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  1. #1
    Supporting Member GoMuskies's Avatar
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    A-10 Xavier vs. Big East Xavier

    Reading through another thread, a comment from one of the posters caught my attention. He said that he would have loved having Tandy in our A-10 days but less so now that we're in the Big East as we're trying to compete at a different level. That got me thinking: generally speaking, I don't think of Xavier's A-10 squads are being significant different than Xavier's Big East squads. Maybe the highs have been a bit higher (and the A-10 lows were somewhat lower), but overall my hypothesis is that while Xavier' opponents have obviously gotten significantly better, Xavier itself is of pretty comparable quality to what we were in the A-10 days. And that's not an insult to Big East Xavier at all, as A-10 Xavier was really good.

    So I've set out to test this hypothesis. As I'm typing this, I'm not sure how it's going to turn out. But I'm going to compare the eras using Jeff Sagarin's final rankings (and the current rankings for this year's team). Sagarin's rankings only go back to 2000, so we'll miss a couple of A-10 years, but those years were mixed enough ('96 and '99 bad; '97 and '98 good) that they probably would have been essentially a wash. So here we go!

    A-10 Xavier

    2000: 60
    2001: 34
    2002: 20
    2003: 17
    2004: 20
    2005: 94
    2006: 61
    2007: 41
    2008: 11
    2009: 19
    2010: 11
    2011: 43
    2012: 48
    2013: 77

    Big East Xavier

    2014: 53
    2015: 22
    2016: 13
    2017: 29
    2018: 13
    2019: 58
    2020: 48
    2021: 47

    Average A-10 rank: 39.7
    Average Big East rank: 35.4

    Turns out that it was pretty close. Despite the seeding, Sagarin actually thinks we hit our highest highs in the A-10 (twice). Based on the NCAA Tournament experience, it's hard to argue too much with that. The lower lows were clearly A-10.

    Overall, it's quite remarkable how consistent the program has been. I think we probably all know that intuitively, but it's interesting (to me, at least) to see it written out over a 22 season period. We've been spoiled with some great basketball. There have been some three year rough patches as bad or worse than the current one, but some NCAA Tournament success (the near miss against Ohio State in 2007; the run to the Sweet 16 in 2012) softened the impact of those stretches. It's getting to be about time to get back to top 25 basketball, though, like we've had in 9 of the past 22 seasons.

  2. #2
    People will point to recruiting rankings and all that, but I tend to agree with you.

    Maybe we're "slightly" better in the Big East, but I look at the best teams over the last 20 years and only one of them is a Big East team. I'm more than confident our two prior Elite 8 teams could have competed fine in the Big East.

    I don't see a significant difference in talent in the players we're getting overall. In fact, we have put more guys in the NBA that weren't from Big East teams. It's definitely provided more exposure and notoriety (and money), but the players seem relatively similar.
    Last edited by drudy23; 02-22-2021 at 03:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member GoMuskies's Avatar
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    Let's try it with KenPom (rankings only go back to 2002):

    A-10 Xavier

    2002: 23
    2003: 20
    2004: 21
    2005: 81
    2006: 54
    2007: 32
    2008: 15
    2009: 20
    2010: 18
    2011: 38
    2012: 53
    2013: 78

    Big East Xavier

    2014: 52
    2015: 21
    2016: 14
    2017: 31
    2018: 15
    2019: 65
    2020: 45
    2021: 58

    A-10 Xavier: 37.75
    Big East Xavier: 37.63

    Ken thinks A-10 and Big East Xavier are virtual twins.

  4. #4
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    While it's comparable now, I think there is a lot more room for error in the Big East. Most seasons, once you get to conference play, nearly everyone you play is in the top 150. An off-night on the road at Georgetown or DePaul doesn't hurt you the same way an off-night at Duquesne would. Not to mention the TV deal/much better slate of home games.

    There may be no tangible effect on our ranking yet, but the program sure is a lot better off in the BE (I know that's not quite the topic)

  5. #5
    Supporting Member GoMuskies's Avatar
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    Of course we're better off in the Big East. I just don't think our teams have been, on average, appreciably better...YET. And again, our A-10 teams were REALLY good, so it's a high bar.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoMuskies View Post
    Let's try it with KenPom (rankings only go back to 2002):

    A-10 Xavier

    2002: 23
    2003: 20
    2004: 21
    2005: 81
    2006: 54
    2007: 32
    2008: 15
    2009: 20
    2010: 18
    2011: 38
    2012: 53
    2013: 78

    Big East Xavier

    2014: 52
    2015: 21
    2016: 14
    2017: 31
    2018: 15
    2019: 65
    2020: 45
    2021: 58

    A-10 Xavier: 37.75
    Big East Xavier: 37.63

    Ken thinks A-10 and Big East Xavier are virtual twins.
    They are, its the conference family that got upgraded. No more Duquesne, LaSalle, St. Bonaventure, Richmond andddd Fordham.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, that's a good point. The program was operating pretty much at the ceiling in a lot of those A-10 seasons. Outside of a couple teams, our BE performance has been middling, so there's definitely a lot of room for improvement if we can get back to the well-coached, veteran-led formula.

  8. #8
    Sophomore XUGRAD80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew View Post
    They are, its the conference family that got upgraded. No more Duquesne, LaSalle, St. Bonaventure, Richmond andddd Fordham.
    Exactly, that’s what I’ve been trying to say in other threads. X was the big fish in a pond of small fish. Now they are in with fish their own size, or even bigger. I don’t expect them to dominate these fish like they did those fish. Compete well, yes. Dominate, no. Not yet. CAN they get to a point where they are traditionally a top 3 team in the BE? Yes, I think they can. But they aren’t there yet.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by markchal View Post
    Yeah, that's a good point. The program was operating pretty much at the ceiling in a lot of those A-10 seasons. Outside of a couple teams, our BE performance has been middling, so there's definitely a lot of room for improvement if we can get back to the well-coached, veteran-led formula.
    Xavier has overachieved in the Big East. I think the past 2 years may be painting your perception. We had a 2 seed, an elite eight run then a 1 seed in three straight years.

  10. #10
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    First off GOMUSKIES GREAT post!! Secondly, I agree with DREW that the last few years has spoiled us Muskie fans. I also agree with XUGRAD80 that XU isnt dominating/THE Big fish, like they did in the A-10. Nor does he think, right now, XU can dominate in the Big East. Well that is where I disagree. I think Xavier University CAN dominate in this conference. I think they could have last year, this year AND the years to come!! GIVEN the right leadership starting with the Presdient, AD, Coach(s), players and yes even US the fans! ALL of us have GOT to have the mentality that we can and WILL compete in this conference! The XU "family" has to "buy into" this philosophy! Im afraid if this does not happen we will have A LOT of medicore seasons to come!!

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