The answer is obvious. Villanova( back in the AP Top 25 at #22)is the lone BIG EAST unbeaten at 4-0 with wins over DePaul, Providence at the Dunk, St Johns and most recently Sunday in Omaha 90-78 over Creighton. #15 Marquette is solo 2nd(4-1) with Xavier alone in 3rd(3-2). The Muskies make their annual trip to Villanova Friday night(8:30 Tip-FS1) hoping-NO!-planning to reverse a short but nasty recent trend. XU has lost all five to VU in Philly since the dawning of the New BIG EAST in 2014. None of the games have been competitive after half time. Chris Mack referred to this spot on the schedule as "Our Annual Philadelphia Ass Kicking" and he was not exaggerating!! Xavier is 1-10 vs Nova in 5 BE seasons. Not good, but no shame as Jay Wright's well oiled Wildcats are 178-25 with two NCAA Titles(2016 and 2018) in the last 5+ seasons(#1 overall record in NCAA-better than Duke and Kansas and North Carolina and Gonzaga). Villanova is the gold standard-the bench mark-the yard stick-the Cadillac. X gets to measure themselves against THE BEST every year two and sometimes three times.
"Kickin it Old School with Andy Mac" Georgetown and Butler comeback wins/Villanova preview
Xavier has shown signs of toughness as well as the ability to make winning plays down the stretch over the last week. After suffering a blowout loss on the road to Marquette, the Muskies have rallied behind the home crowd at Cintas to win two straight conference games against Georgetown and Butler. In this weeks "Kickin it Old School" Andy discusses the play of Paul Scruggs, Najj Marshall, and gives a preview of Friday nights showdown in Philly.
Xavier Pulls Out Second Consecutive Double-Digit Comeback Victory Well, the Musketeers are really learning how to put on a show. After the monstrous 17-point comeback against the Georgetown Hoyas, yesterday's game saw the Muskies (11-7, 3-2) welcome the Butler Bulldogs (10-7, 1-3) into the Cintas Center. Once again, Xavier was facing a large deficit late. However, 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists from Paul Scruggs led a late flurry to see Xavier claw out a 70-69 point win in front of a raucous home crowd.
MUSKIES BOUNCE BUTLER IN COME-FROM-BEHIND JEM!! Hopefully, you were there or watched the game on FS1 with fellow Syracusan Dan Hoard doing play-by-play (Dan subbed for Andrew Catilon who was ill) or listened to Byron and Joe's animated call on 700WLW. The Muskies 70-69 comeback win over Butler was excellently epic IMHO. Let me quantify the relative magnitude of the effort. XU trailed BU 64-54 with exactly 4 minutes left in regulation time. Things appeared semi-hopeless. KenPom's metrics gave Xavier a 2.2% chance of winning. That's about a 1 in 50 shot.
SCOUTING BUTLER!! BULLDOGS UBER FEISTY AS USUAL!! Xavier and Butler play their first of two BIG EAST regular season games Sunday at Cintas(12 noon Tip-FS1). Both teams have gone through some non-conference and early BE adversity. We all know the Muskie story. Things are trending up after Wednesday's stirring 81-75 come-from-behind 81-75 win over Georgetown. X debuted the Twin Tower Look with Tyrique Jones and Zach Hankins playing almost half the game together combining for 42 points and 20 rebounds. The Muskies won without anchor PG Quentin Gooden(sore knee), He might play against Butler?? Paul Scruggs did strong heavy lifting at PG and Sophomore Elias Harden soaked up 24 important minutes off the bench scoring 7 points with strong "d" and no turnovers. Xavier had just 4 turnovers total against the Hoyas-won the rebound battle against the BIG EAST's best team on the glass and beat GU at the foul line where they're 6th most efficient inn the NCAA. It was a good night and template XU must duplicate against Butler.
Lady Muskies Close Out Non-Conference Victorious Over New Orleans Deja Ross and Lauren Wasylson combined for 26 points on Saturday afternoon, leading the Musketeers to a 61-45 win over New Orleans at Cintas Center. Xavier closed non-conference play with a 9-2 record, while the Privateers dropped to 4-5 overall. Xavier opens BIG EAST action at Georgetown on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. The Musketeers conclude the road swing at Villanova on Monday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m.
X Knocks Off Deleware St Freshman Carrie Gross scored a season-high 12 points on Sunday afternoon as Xavier topped Delaware State, 80-59, on Sunday afternoon at Cintas Center. The Musketeers moved to 7-1 on the year, while the Hornets moved to 2-5. Xavier returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 16 at Cincinnati in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. from Fifth Third Arena.
XU Slips by North Alabama in OT A'riana Gray and Na'Teshia Owens led the Xavier women's basketball team to a 94-81 overtime win versus North Alabama on Sunday afternoon at Cintas Center. Xavier moved to 6-1 on the year, while North Alabama dropped to 7-1. The two players combined for 44 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists and five steals, while going 18-for-30 from the floor.