Wins in its final two games would earn men’s basketball its first Big East Title
Newswire photo by Sydney Sanders | If the men’s basketball team wins its remaining two games against Providence and DePaul, it will clinch a program-first Big East regular season title. The title would follow a landmark No. 3 Associated Press ranking.
The Xavier men’s basketball team has the chance to do something it has never done before — win a Big East regular season title.
The possibility to make history comes after another milestone that was reached this week: The Musketeers attained their highest ranking in program history after they were voted in as the No. 3 team in the nation by the Associated Press.
That ranking puts Xavier behind only the likes of No. 2 Michigan State and No. 1 Virginia. The teams have records of 28-3 and 26-2, respectively, compared to the Musketeers’ record of 25-4.
That ranking also moves Xavier ahead of Big East rival Villanova, whose Saturday loss to Creighton bumped it down to No. 4. Prior to that loss, if both teams won their remaining games, Villanova would clinch the title because it owned the tie breaker after sweeping Xavier in conference play.
With a win tonight, the Musketeers will clinch at least share of the conference title because of Villanova’s weekend loss. Not only can Xavier secure a share of the regular season conference title, but it has the potential to accomplish even more. Fate will be in its hands for the last game of the season against DePaul on Saturday.
A victory tonight against Providence and another victory on Saturday against DePaul would mean the Musketeers would earn sole possession of the Big East regular season title.
This feat has yet to be accomplished by any team other than the Villanova Wildcats, who have won four consecutive regular season titles since the re-envisioned Big East was inaugurated in the 2013-14 season. Of those four seasons, Villanova proceeded to win the Big East Tournament in two of those years: the 2014-15 season and the 2016-17 season.
Throughout its history, the Xavier basketball program has won 17 regular season championships and nine conference tournament championships.
The last regular season title was claimed in 2011, while the last conference tournament championship was won in 2006. Both of these occurred when Xavier was a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
A regular season title will guarantee a No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament and could further cement a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament as projected.
By: Luke Feliciano ~Sports Editor~