Today we'll be having a look at how the Crosstown Shootout will affect Xavier's tournament chances come March.
As has already been mentioned, UC has not played the most challenging of schedules so far this year (324th, to be exact). The soft schedule combined with a current RPI of 65 means Cincinnati doesn't represent good value for a win at this point. Ignore the AP and USA Today rankings, it seems the national media is currently in love with paper tigers. Thankfully, the season doesn't end here.
As per the norm, the Big East is loaded. Georgetown, Syracuse, Pitt, St. John's, UConn, Notre Dame, and Villanova all hold RPI top 20 spots as of right now. UC will eventually meet this murderer's row of opponents and see a corresponding spike in SOS and RPI. When UC's numbers jump, so will Xavier's, albeit to a lesser degree.
What all this means is that X is in a unique position now to pick up a win against a mediocre team that could end up looking like a win against a very good team. If the Musketeers are able to beat the Bearcats you can almost guarantee seeing that count as a quality win come March. This is one of the last opportunities on the schedule to do major damage. With Joe Lunardi currently not having X anywhere on his radar, it cannot afford to be missed.