MUSKIES @ SETON HALL SATURDAY!!
By Andy Mac Williams, 1/31/2020

Is it the Men(Seton Hall, 16-4 overall, #10 AP, #14 NET, BE leader at 8-0 +1 game on Villanova, 9-1 in Newark, only home loss to Michigan State) against the BOYS( Xavier 13-8, unrated, unloved, #63 NET, 2-6 BIG EAST tied for 7th, 1-4 road, lost 83-71 to Seton Hall in Cincy Jan 8th) Saturday morning(11am-Fox WXIX TV 19? Maybe,but I'm a contrarian. Ken Pom likes Seton Hall 72-61 giving XU a paltry 17% chance of winning. SHU has won 10 in a row(last loss over a month ago at Iowa State. The Pirates are deep experienced defensively gritty balanced w/ two great SR guards(Myles Powell-24PPG-First Team All BIG EAST-NCAA Player of the Year Candidate-Muskie killer(20PPG in 7 starts) plus rangy Quincey McKnight(11ppg-7.5 assists BE). Two 7 footers Romero Gil(12PPG-8 boards-5 blocks BE and Ike Obiagu huge FSU transfer plus many other pieces-Sophs Rhoden and Nelson. 6-6 Myles Cale-6-9 Tyrese Samuel and others. I flesh out my case for a Xavier upset on TWITTER @mm_andymac.

A lot of balls have to be juggled w/ few drops but XU is playing better. They beat Marquette Wednesday at Cintas and look much better at 3-5 BIG EAST w/ a low 50 NET if they make a couple more FTs than the 11 of 25 they managed. But that's fiction because XU bricked the FTs. Again. please consult TWITTER @mm_andymac for more details. It's a theory, but hopefully it becomes reality Saturday.

CURRENT NET NUMBERS:

We've established that NET( NCAA Evaluation Tool) is the only analytical formula that matters in NCAA Tournament selection. Forget Ken Pom and RPI and Sagarin!! It's all NET all the time for the 9 person Selection Committee when they meet in Indianapolis. The Team Sheets may have other numbers included but NET is in bold print and gets all the scrutiny.

BIG EAST is a solid #3 in Conference power ratings hierarchy behind BIG 10 and BIG 12 well ahead of ACC, SEC and PAC 12. BE is going to get at least 6 maybe 7 NCAA berths. Heading into the weekend here's where BIG EAST teams stand in NET. Butler(8), Villanova(13), Seton hall(14), Marquette(22), Creighton(25), Georgetown(49), DePaul(59), Xavier(63), St Johns(73), PC(79). Xavier's 7th in BE tied for 7th w/ Georgetown at 2-6.

Muskies losses fall thusly 6 of 6 vs NET TOP 25. Things are not good for Xavier re winning 9 games-getting a 1st round BET bye in NYC and probably earning an NCAA bid, but it's not impossible or futile or whatever.

Remember Xavier was 3-8 BIG EAST last year (dead last-10th) on February 9th and made it to 9-9 before NYC then just missed the NCAA 68 in a much weaker BIG EAST (about 30 NET slots better in 2020 across the board). If Xavier gets to 9-9, their 2020 NET will be around 40 plus or minus 2 or 3 slots depending on whom they beat and where.

X plays Butler, PC and DePaul twice and Seton Hall, St Johns, Villanova and Georgetown once. IMHO 7 wins are get-able w/ this schedule if Muskies check most of the boxes re controlling tempo and turnovers-take good shots-make some FTs and get to the FT line 20 plus times/game-defend w/ focus-rebound the ball even up or better and cobble together 7 or 8 3 point FG makes/ game w/o shooting 22 or more outside.

Attack the rim on offense and protect it on defense. We will soon find out.




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