After beating Cincy, can we start talking about No. 12 Xavier as a title contender?
Myles Davis scored 17 points and Edmond Sumner added 11 points and five assists as No. 12 Xavier made a statement in the latest installment of the Crosstown Shootout.
The Muskeeters were up by as much as 18 points in the first half, took a 16-point lead into the break and held on down the stretch to beat No. 23 Cincinnati, 65-55, in the Cintas Center on Saturday afternoon.
Xavier is now 10-0 on the season. They blew out Michigan at Michigan. They stormed through the Advocare Invitational, beating Dayton in the final by 29 points. They just pounded their arch-rivals, who happen to be pretty good.
We’ve reached the point where we have to say that, at No. 12 in the country, Xavier is quite underrated nationally.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Xavier could very well be the best team in the Big East -- I’m not totally writing off Villanova just yet -- as well as a Final Four contender and a team capable of winning a national title.
Yeah, I said it.
Look, there is no great team in college basketball this season. No. 3 North Carolina, who I still believe is the best team in the country, lost at Texas. No. 1 Michigan State, who everyone else thinks is the best team in the country, struggled with Florida at home. Kentucky has looked good in exactly one game this season. Iowa State needed to erase a 20-point deficit to beat Iowa at home.
They don’t really have a weakness, at least not one that is obviously exploitable.
Their front line of Trevon Blueitt and Jalen Reynolds is as good as any in their league, and that’s before you factor in James Farr, who has arguably been their best big man this season. Sumner is an underrated NBA prospect at the point guard spot while Remy Abell, Myles Davis and J.P. Macura are well-rounded role players that understand what they are on this team to provide: defense, three-point shooting, a toughness.
Xavier is a former Atlantic 10 team now playing in a Big East conference that is not your father’s Big East. Everyone knows they’re a good basketball program, but for the most part, when you think of Xavier you think of a six-seed that will sneak into the Elite 8.
Not one of college basketball’s seven or eight best teams.
Because as of today, I’m not sure you can convince me that they aren’t one of the seven or eight best teams in college basketball.