Chart Week here at Play For The Garden will be displaying one chart per Big East team; two a day in alphabetical order spanning the week.
Xavier has been an extremely steady program for quite some time now. Over the last decade the Musketeers have had seven 20-win seasons, one 30-win season, and they’ve gone to the NCAA Tournament eight times over that 10 year span. They played like and had the talent of a major conference team playing in a mid-major conference that will now actually be in a major conference.
That sturdy ship that Xavier basketball has been sailing on – until a minor blip last year – is a result of steady offense and defense.
The chart above displays Xavier’s Adjusted Offense and Adjusted Defense efficiency statistics. What exactly is adjusted efficiency?
Adjusted efficiency: Raw offensive efficiency is points scored per 100 offensive possessions. The adjusted version adjusts for the quality of opposing defenses, the site of each game, and when each game was played. Defensive efficiency is points allowed per 100 defensive possessions, adjusted for the same things.
So an efficiency rating over 100 means you’re either scoring more than a point per possession or giving up more than a point per possessions depending if you are looking at the offensive or defensive metric.
As you can see, Xavier was very good in the late 2000s and only recently has the two data points converged on each other, which resulted in the Musketeers missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven seasons last year. Over the timeframe depicted above, Xavier is ranked on average 40th on offense and 56th on defense of the 340+ Division 1 schools. That’s pretty darn good and suggests this team is usually well-balanced and thus tough to beat.
Last year’s squad was not what it was supposed to look like as a couple key recruits were ruled ineligible for the season (Jalen Reynolds and Myles Davis), and other unexpected points of struggle arose. This year head coach Chris Mack will have his team at full power with Reynolds and Davis in uniform to go along with top-100 recruit Brandon Randolph and transfer Matt Stainbrook – a 6-foot-9 center from Western Michigan. Semaj Christon, last year’s A-10 Rookie of the Year, also returns and will likely be the best point guard in the Big East who gets the ship back on track.
So when analyzing Xavier over the years it appears that last year was an anomaly. This has been one of the most efficient teams in the country on both sides of the ball for over a decade and last year was a minor hiccup that seems to be due to personnel issues. But Xavier should be back and as talented as ever this year. They should make a splash in their first year in the Big East and a return to the NCAA Tournament seems to be in order.