Xavier Musketeers enter preseason ranked No. 7 in Associated Press poll

Posted at 6:42 PM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 19:22:08-04

CINCINNATI -- Xavier on Monday received its highest Associated Press preseason poll ranking in program history, but being seventh in the country didn’t faze coach Chris Mack.

Mack, who isn’t one for polls and other prognostications, reiterated that achievements are yet to come.

“I’m happy for our alums and the fans of the program. Obviously the more exposure you get, the more it helps in recruiting,” Mack said at Cintas Center. “But we haven’t earned anything yet. Not one of those teams that’s in the Top 25 or the teams Receiving Votes or the teams not receiving votes have earned anything at this point.”

Xavier head coach Chris Mack. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The AP poll comes on the heels of the Musketeers’ No. 8 ranking in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, which also signaled a program best.

This marks Xavier’s fifth appearance in the preseason AP Top 25 since the poll started in the 1989-90 season. The Musketeers debuted at No. 10 before the 1997-98 and 2002-03 seasons, and ranked 14th to start 2011-12 and 17th to begin 1998-99.

Bolstered by returning stats leader Trevon Bluiett (15.1 ppg, 6.1 rebounds), star point guard Edmond Sumner (11 ppg, 3.6 assists) and energy-infusing J.P. Macura (9.4 ppg), the team is aiming to exceed last year’s record-setting campaign.

Xavier will face other preseason AP Top 25 teams Villanova (No. 4) and Creighton (No. 22) twice in its Big East Slate. Several other Musketeers opponents -- Cincinnati, Butler and Seton Hall-- are in the Receiving Votes portion of the poll, and XU could face another foe (Oklahoma) in the Tire Pros Invitational exempt event in Florida.

The Musketeers recently defeated Georgia in a closed scrimmage in Tennessee and at 4 p.m. Saturday will host Division II Ferris State in an exhibition game at Cintas Center.  

While the ranking is nice, there is much work still to be done, Mack said.

“Our daily mission is to get better and better every single day and that’s what we’re focused on – not what we’re ranked or any of that other stuff,” Mack said.