CINCINNATI – The Xavier men's basketball team was picked No. 7 in the 2016-17 preseason Associated Press Poll, which was announced today. This is the highest XU has ever been ranked in the preseason AP Poll. Earlier this month the Musketeers earned a No. 8 ranking in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, which marked the highest-ever preseason ranking in that poll.
Since the AP Poll went to a Top 25 for 1989-90 season, Xavier has been ranked in the preseason poll four other times, including No. 10 prior to the 1997-98 and 2002-03 seasons. XU was also ranked in the preseason in 2011-12 (No. 14) and 1998-99 (No. 17).
Xavier was ranked a final poll school-record No. 9 in the final 2015-16 AP Poll. Xavier spent 17 straight weeks in the AP Top 25 last season, which set a single-season school record. XU also recorded a school-record 14 straight weeks in the Top 10 of the AP Poll and reached as high as a school-record No. 5 in the AP Poll for five weeks last season (the Jan. 18, Feb. 8, Feb. 22, Feb. 29 and March 7 polls).
Xavier, 28-6 overall last season and second place finisher in the BIG EAST Conference at 14-4, reached the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. That marked XU's 10th NCAA appearance in 11 years, something only nine schools in the country can claim. Earlier this month at BIG EAST Media Day, Xavier was picked to finish second in the BIG EAST preseason coaches poll.
Chris Mack, who won three national Coach of the Year awards including USBWA honors last season, has plenty of returning talent. Junior guard Trevon Bluiett, a 2015-16 USA Today Third Team All-American and 2015-16 BIG EAST First Team selection, led Xavier in scoring at 15.1 ppg. last season and is the team's leading returning rebounder at 6.1 ppg. Sophomore guard Edmond Sumner, a unanimous selection to the 2015-16 BIG EAST All-Freshman Team and a 2015-16 Kyle Macy Freshman All-American (collegeinsider.com), averaged 11.0 points and 3.6 assists last season. Both Bluiett and Sumner were named 2016-17 preseason First Team All-BIG EAST. Junior guard J.P. Macura was the 2015-16 BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year.