By: Josh Bozzick ~Staff Writer~
The third anniversary of Xavier joining the newly configured Big East will be here soon. On March 20, 2013, the school announced its acceptance of an invitation, along with Butler and Creighton, to join the separated Catholic 7 of the old Big East. Since the switch from the Atlantic 10, Xavier has started to form new rivalries and accumulate a track record against its new conference foes.
As we make our way through February, the Musketeers are about to wrap up season number three as members of the Big East. It is interesting to see how they have fared against the other nine teams. In this short amount of time, Xavier has quickly cemented itself with winning records against six of the teams.
The three teams Xavier holds losing records to are Creighton, Seton Hall and Villanova. Overall the Musketeers are 2-3 against both Creighton and Seton Hall, but two future matchups loom, which give them a shot to even the series 3-3.
As you probably already know, Xavier is winless against Villanova. It is 0-6 against the Wildcats, and in their last meeting on New Year’s Eve, Xavier lost by 31 points. Next week’s home matchup against the current No. 1 ranked team in the nation will be a huge showdown.
If the Musketeers can win that game, it will not only be a terrific win for their resume, but it will also be a heavy weight off their shoulders. In the six contests against the Wildcats, the average point differential between the teams has been a shade above 17, with the closest game being seven points. Xavier could really use a breakthrough win versus Villanova, but it has not been able to keep the game close.
Xavier’s best records are against Butler and Marquette. It owns a 6-1 record over each team, and both make up its longest winning streaks among conference opponents. Xavier has won four straight over the two teams. In fact, its most recent wins this season have come from both.
Butler has struggled mightily against Xavier. The average differential in the games played between the two teams has been roughly 14 points. Besides last year’s quarterfinal overtime score of 67-61 in the Big East Tournament, every one of the other six games has been a blowout.
Speaking of overtimes, Xavier has played in three overtime games collectively versus Big East competition the past three seasons. The Butler game last season was one. The other two came last season too. The Musketeers lost to St. John’s and Providence in the extra period by one and three points respectively, which means Xavier has a 1-2 record in Big East overtime games.
The Providence game is tonight, which should mean a competitive game until the end. Xavier holds the closest average point differential per contest with the Friars. Of their five games played, the average margin of victory for either team has been just 6.8 points. Second to Providence is Creighton, where the average differential per contest has been seven points.
Adding up all 54 games Xavier has played in the Big East, and dividing those into the categories of home, away and neutral leads to some impressive totals. At home Xavier is 18-6, on the road 11- 14 and at neutral sites (Big East Tournament) 3-2. Their total record is 32-22.
Tonight’s game against Providence will be the 50th Big East regular season game for the Musketeers. Xavier beating Providence by 50 would be great, not only for the sake of irony, but for the sake of the Musketeers supplanting themselves as one of the newly configured Big East’s best programs.