clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2014-15 Conference Schedule Analysis: Xavier

The Big East conference schedule was released yesterday afternoon which only means one thing; the unofficial start of the season for Xavier. Let’s break down their second season playing a Big East conference schedule.

Getting excited for the upcoming Big East season!
Getting excited for the upcoming Big East season!
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It is time for another season with Xavier in the Big East. After a surprise first season last year, finishing tied for third in the conference standings with eventual Big East Tournament Champion Providence and receiving an NCAA bid, X looks to make a bigger jump this season. The 2013-14 Musketeers were voted to place 7th in the conference at Big East Media day last season, and proved the doubters wrong like they do come almost every March during the NCAA tourney. Unlike last year, this year’s version of Xavier has higher expectations. Most see this team placing in the top five in the Big East this season, with a prediction of a third or fourth place finish. That means X needs to have another solid conference season, maybe even better than last year’s 10-8 conference record and 21-13 record overall.

Here is Xavier's 2014-15 Big East season schedule:

Date

Day

Time

Opponent

TV

Dec. 31

Wednesday

10:00 PM

Georgetown

Fox Sports 1

Jan. 3

Saturday

2:00 PM

at DePaul

Fox Sports 1

Jan. 7

Wednesday

7:00/8:00 PM

Seton Hall

CBSSN

Jan. 10

Saturday

2:00 PM

at Butler

FSN-L

Jan. 14

Wednesday

9:00 PM

at Villanova

Fox Sports 1

Jan. 17

Saturday

12:00 PM

Marquette

FSN-L

Jan. 22

Thursday

7:00 PM

at Providence

FSN-L

Jan. 24

Saturday

12:00 PM

DePaul

Fox Sports 1

Jan. 27

Tuesday

7:00 PM

at Georgetown

Fox Sports 1

Jan. 31

Saturday

12:00 PM

at Seton Hall

Fox Sports 1

Feb. 4

Wednesday

9:00 PM

Creighton

Fox Sports 1

Feb. 7

Saturday

1:00 PM

Providence

Fox Sports 1

Feb. 10

Tuesday

9:00 PM

at Marquette

Fox Sports 1

Feb. 14

Saturday

3:00 PM

St. John's

Fox (TBD)

Feb. 21

Saturday

2:00 PM

Butler

FSN-L

Feb. 23

Monday

8:00 PM

at St. John's

Fox Sports 1

Feb. 28

Saturday

2:00 PM

Villanova

Fox National

Mar. 7

Saturday

8:00 PM

at Creighton

Fox Sports 2

Analysis

Just like last year, the Big East will tip-off on New Years Eve with a quintuple-header. I absolutely love this for a number of reasons: one being that it is something that is only unique to this conference and the matchups create intrigue. There is the rematch of last year’s Big East championship game between Creighton and Providence, a renewal of the Hudson River rivalry (Seton Hall-Saint John’s), a DePaul-Marquette matchup, and a rematch of last year’s epic game between Butler-Villanova. On top of all that, the last game, a late 10:00pm start, pits Xavier against Georgetown at Cintas Center. A rematch of last year’s incredible comeback by X from 17 points down in the second half to a 13 point win.

The NYE tip-off game against Georgetown is a very important game for Xavier. This game can give X momentum into the start of the conference season, like last year’s NYE win against St. John’s. That win propelled X to a 5-1 conference start, which was vital to the team’s bid to the NCAA tournament, as they finished just 5-7 the rest of the way in conference play. The few games after Georgetown are not bad (at DePaul, Seton Hall, and at Butler). If X can come out of the starting gate with a 3-1 conference record, they will be in a good position the rest of the way.

Easiest Stretch (Feb. 4 – Feb. 21): The beginning of February all the way through the last week of February is a nice stretch of games for Xavier. The five games they play in that time frame are not too bad. They start out with back-to-back home games against Creighton and Providence, then a road game at Marquette, and another set of back-to-back home games against St. John’s and then Butler. Xavier only lost two home games all of last year, one against Seton Hall and the other against Villanova. They are nearly automatic at home when it comes to winning and the four teams they play at home during this stretch will not be as tough as Villanova and Georgetown. The lone road game against Marquette will be tough, but Marquette is in a mini rebuilding phase with a new coach and many new players. X should come away from this stretch of games with a 4-1 record.

Hardest Stretch (Jan. 14 – Jan. 31): If February is the easier month for X, then January is the harder one. This stretch of games begins with a trip to Villanova (only four days after a rivalry game at Butler), a home game against Marquette, back on the road at Providence, another home game against DePaul, and then a back-to-back road trip with games at Georgetown and at Seton Hall. Xavier was only 3-6 on the road in the conference season last year as oppose to 7-2 at home. This six-game stretch includes away games against four of the tougher Big East opponents this upcoming season. The road game against Villanova is at the Pavilion, which is a near-impossible place to pick up a road win. Providence is always a tough game at their place. Georgetown should be very good next season, especially at home, and Seton Hall beat Xavier last year at the Prudential Center. The two home games snugged between all those road games are against Marquette and DePaul, two games X should win at home. Xavier should be able to x-cape from this tough stretch with a 3-3 record.

Conclusion: Every team in this conference will experience a light set of games and a heavy set of games. Besides Villanova, who should be head and shoulders above every team, each team will go through their ups and downs during the conference season. With regards to the Xavier Musketeers, they too will go through the conference season like a ride on a roller coaster. I have X finishing with a 10-5 conference record going into their final three games. The Muskies will pick up at least one win out of those three, which will lend itself to an 11-7 record. I think Xavier got a good draw with their schedule this upcoming season and should have a better conference record this year than last year. Expect this team to get double-digit wins in their second season as a member of the Big East.

Prediction: 11-7 (If not, either 10-8 or 12-6)