Xavier-Villanova carries tons of implications for the Top 25 (and one)

Xavier has played 27 games, won 24 of them and created a body of work good enough to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to Jerry Palm’s latest projection.

That’s awesome — especially for a school that was unranked in the preseason.

But do you know how many victories Xavier has over schools currently ranked in the AP Top 25 poll? Zero. And that’s among the reasons why Wednesday night’s showdown with Villanova is massive, because the Musketeers have an opportunity to add a signature win to a resume that, frankly, is still lacking one. Yes, Xavier has six top-50 RPI wins, and that’s good. But Xavier’s best victory is either a neutral-court win over Dayton or a road win at Providence, neither of which moves the so-called needle much with March approaching.

Bottom line, Xavier really needs this win to make a serious run at a No. 1 seed.

And Villanova needs it to remain No. 1 in the AP poll.

At this point — win or lose Wednesday in what has been labeled by some as the biggest game in Cintas Center history — it seems obvious that Jay Wright’s Wildcats will earn a third straight Big East title, if only because they A) currently own a two-game lead in the standings, and B) close with a road game at Marquette, and home games against DePaul and Georgetown, meaning they’ll be significant favorites, perhaps even double-digit favorites, in their final three regular-season contests. But if Villanova wants to remain No. 1 in the AP poll, a win at Xavier is necessary, especially considering Kansas — thanks to 10 top-50 RPI wins and only one sub-20 loss — already has a superior resume, which is why the Jayhawks, and not the Wildcats, are ranked No. 1 in the CBS Sports Top 25 (and one).

But I digress.

This isn’t about Villanova and Kansas.

This is about Villanova and Xavier — the schools that are ranked second and seventh in the updated Top 25 (and one). They have a combined record of 48-6 and are way closer in ability than this season’s first meeting — that 95-64 Villanova blowout in which Xavier’s Edmond Sumner was seriously injured in the opening minutes — suggests.

Anyway, Wednesday’s tip is at 7 ET.

The complete Top 25 (and one) is below.

Xavier needs a win over Villanova on Wednesday in the worst way. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Daily Top 25 (and one) Rankings
Rank Teams Comments
1 Kansas
Overall: 24-4
Conference: 12-3
Previous: 1
The Jayhawks’ resume now features six top-­25 RPI wins, 10 top-­50 RPI wins and just one loss to a currently unranked school. They’re one win away from securing at least a share of their 12th straight Big 12 title.
2 Villanova
Overall: 24-3
Conference: 13-1
Previous: 2
The Wildcats have won seven straight since losing to Providence. They have a two-game lead over Xavier in the Big East standings.
3 Oklahoma
Overall: 21-5
Conference: 9-5
Previous: 3
The Sooners snapped their two-game losing streak Saturday at West Virginia. It was their seventh top-30 RPI win.
4 Virginia
Overall: 21-6
Conference: 10-5
Previous: 4
The Cavaliers haven’t lost to a currently unranked team in more than a month. Their past two losses are road losses to Duke and Miami by a total of four points.
5 Iowa
Overall: 20-6
Conference: 11-3
Previous: 5
Last week’s loss at Penn State was, by far, Iowa’s worst loss this season. The Hawkeyes’ resume now includes five top-50 RPI wins and one sub-35 loss.
6 Michigan State
Overall: 23-5
Conference: 10-5
Previous: 6
The Spartans made 14 3­-pointers in Tuesday’s win at Ohio State. They’ve won seven of their past eight games and now own seven top-­50 RPI victories, including wins over Kansas, Maryland, Louisville and Indiana.
7 Xavier
Overall: 24-3
Conference: 12-3
Previous: 7
The Musketeers have won eight of their past nine games since losing to Georgetown. They’re only one win away from locking up the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament.
8 Louisville
Overall: 21-6
Conference: 10-4
Previous: 8
The Cardinals have won two straight and are now tied for second in the ACC standings. They own wins over both North Carolina and Duke.
9 West Virginia
Overall: 21-7
Conference: 10-5
Previous: 9
The Mountaineers snapped their two-game losing streak Monday with a double-digit win over Iowa State. Their resume now features five top-25 RPI wins and zero losses outside of the top 35.
10 Oregon
Overall: 21-6
Conference: 10-4
Previous: 10
The Ducks now have nine top-50 RPI wins — including two victories over Utah and one at Arizona. Oregon is tied with Arizona atop the Pac-12 standings.
11 Duke
Overall: 20-7
Conference: 9-5
Previous: 11
The Blue Devils had their five-game winning streak snapped Saturday at Louisville. Their resume features wins over Virginia, North Carolina, Louisville and Indiana.
12 North Carolina
Overall: 22-5
Conference: 11-3
Previous: 12
Saturday’s win over Miami represented UNC’s fourth top-50 RPI win. The Tar Heels are one game ahead of Virginia, Louisville and Miami in the ACC standings.
13 Miami (Fla.)
Overall: 22-5
Conference: 11-4
Previous: 13
The Hurricanes have won six of their past seven since losing at North Carolina State. Their only loss in that stretch is last weekend’s loss at North Carolina.
14 Baylor
Overall: 20-8
Conference: 9-6
Previous: 14
The Bears were up at the half Tuesday before losing to Kansas. Their resume features four top­-25 RPI wins and zero losses to schools currently unranked in the Top 25 (and one).
15 Iowa State
Overall: 19-9
Conference: 8-7
Previous: 15
Iowa State’s resume features five top-25 RPI wins and just one sub-25 loss. The Cyclones own wins over Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Texas, Texas Tech, Colorado and Cincinnati.
16 Maryland
Overall: 23-5
Conference: 11-4
Previous: 16
The Terrapins snapped their two-game losing streak Sunday at Michigan. The only other nationally ranked teams they’ve beaten are Iowa and Purdue.
17 Purdue
Overall: 21-7
Conference: 9-6
Previous: 17
The Boilermakers have dropped three of their last five games. But all three losses were road games — specifically at Maryland, at Michigan and at Indiana.
18 Notre Dame
Overall: 18-8
Conference: 9-5
Previous: 18
The Irish had their three-game winning streak snapped Saturday at Georgia Tech. That was their first loss to a sub-50 RPI team this season.
19 Utah
Overall: 21-7
Conference: 10-5
Previous: 19
The Utes’ resume features seven top-50 wins and just one loss outside of the top 50. They own victories over Duke, Texas Tech and California.
20 Texas
Overall: 18-10
Conference: 9-6
Previous: 20
A win at Kansas State on Monday pushed the Longhorns into sole possession of fifth in the Big 12 standings. UT’s resume features six top-25 RPI wins.
21 Kentucky
Overall: 21-7
Conference: 11-4
Previous: 21
The Wildcats’ resume features six top­-50 RPI wins and five losses to schools ranked 70th­-or-­lower in the Top 25 (and one). They’ve won five of their past six games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Texas A&M.
22 Arizona
Overall: 22-5
Conference: 10-4
Previous: 22
The Wildcats have won six straight since losing to Oregon. They have two top-50 RPI wins and just one loss outside of the top 50.
23 Indiana
Overall: 22-6
Conference: 12-3
Previous: 23
The Hoosiers are now 16-0 at home this season thanks to Saturday’s win over Purdue. They are tied with Iowa in the loss column atop the Big Ten standings.
24 Texas Tech
Overall: 18-9
Conference: 8-7
Previous: 24
The Red Raiders have won five straight games to move above .500 in the Big 12. Their resume features six top-­50 RPI wins and only two losses to schools currently unranked in the Top 25 (and one).
25 California
Overall: 19-8
Conference: 9-5
Previous: 25
The Bears have won five straight since losing at Colorado. They now have five top-50 RPI wins and just two sub-50 losses.
26 Texas A&M
Overall: 20-7
Conference: 9-5
Previous: 26
The Aggies have won two straight since losing four straight to currently unranked teams. Their resume features wins over Iowa State, Texas, Baylor and Kentucky.

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