Xavier is a Mid Major no more. The Musketeers have risen in the ranks from the Midwestern City Conference to the Atlantic Ten and now to the Big East. The Musketeers have gone from the field house to an off-campus gym and now call the Cintas Center, a state of the art on-campus facility, home.

A lot has changed for the Musketeers, from coaches to venues, but one thing has remained the same, success. Since 2000, the Musketeers have been to the Big Dance fifteen times, including last season's Sweet Sixteen appearance. Of those fifteen trips, they went to the Sweet Sixteen seven times.

The Musketeers know all about success and this season should be no different.

Last season

The Xavier Musketeers were FANTASTIC last season, in the tournament at least. The X-Men were on the verge of missing out on the Big Dance after taking a huge skid to end the season. Xavier went into the 2016-2017 season as a top 25 team with two stars in Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett.

They started off hotter than almost anyone else in the nation until the shellacking at Villanova on January 10, which ended with a score of 79-54 in favor of Villanova. And that is when the inconsistencies began. Things were not helped by the loss of Sumner, who had been injured at an away game in late January, or by the knock Bluitt picked up in February.

It was beginning look bleak for the Muskies.

But with a win against Butler and two against DePaul going into the Big East tournament, things were looking up. The Musketeers picked up two wins in the Big East tournament to solidify their place in the round of 64 and then they went on their run to an Elite 8. That's Xavier from last season.

Let's talk about the Xavier of today.

Projected starting five

Here is a look at their projected starting 5:

  • PG: Quentin Goodin (SO)
  • SG: JP Macura (SR)
  • SF: Trevon Bluiett (SR)
  • PF: Tyrique Jones (SO)
  • C: Sean O'Mara (SR)

2017-2018 preview

We know what we will get from Bluiett and Macura. They're going to make shots, a lot of them, and Macura is going to be gritty and annoy every team Xavier plays against.

The question is whether Quentin Goodin can take his game to another level. He has undeniable physical tools, on offense and defense, and a real ability to pass the ball. He needs to be composed when he attacks the rim and finish layups he missed last year. If he can take his jumper up a level, he will be harder for defenses to guard. He will be the most improved player on the Xavier roster and possibly the most improved in the Big East. Sean O’Mara was doing things in the NCAA tournament that he hadn’t done at any other time in his career. If he can have a senior year like James Farr then O’Mara is going to finish his career in Cincinnati terrifically.

Tyrique Jones is a beast. A true physical specimen, much like Goodin, who loves to get physical.

What the team needs from he is composure. Fewer fouls and better finishing and a decent mid-range game can make him a real weapon against teams this season. Jones could be key to Xavier this season, with players like Kerem Kanter, who I haven’t seen a lot of but looks like a great addition, and Kaiser Gates ready to take his spot.

The freshmen are going to be good. I am certain of that. According to Xavier's SB Nation, they will be losing Jared Ridder. a loss that is going to hurt more than some fans may realize. He’s a big kid that can spread the floor, leaving space for Harden, Marshall, Scruggs, and Goodin to get to the rim. Scruggs will be projected to do the best out of these freshmen but I am very excited to see what Harden can do.

He may be the heir apparent to Goodin if he can take his game up a notch and Harden can come in off the bench and do some damage.

Xavier should be better than last season. Another double-digit loss season is incredibly unlikely. They are a preseason top 25 team again and have a solid non-conference schedule. Another sweet sixteen run is the minimum for this squad and a final four is the ceiling. In a college basketball atmosphere that has had its fair share of controversy, it will be good to see a team like Xavier do well. Good things will come to the Cintas Center this season and everyone should pay attention.