The Xavier Musketeers can’t seem to catch a break these days. After they saw guard Myles Davis leave the program less then two weeks ago, they suffered another major loss. Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported earlier today that standout point guard Edmond Sumner would miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL suffered against St. Johns yesterday. It’s never good to see any player blow out a knee but especially one of Sumner’s talent. It will be very interesting to see how Xavier handles the loss especially in the short-term. The Creighton Blue Jays lost their star point guard Maurice Watson to an ACL as well and it saw them drop their first two games without him. While you feel badly for the player and the program, the latest injury begs one to ask the following question, “Outside of Villanova is the Big East wide-open?
The Big East Conference can matchup up against any in the country but what separates them and a conference like the ACC is more teams in that conference have the talent to make up for a loss to a major contributor. I realize no ACC team has had injury of a star player like Watson and Sumner this season, but if you look at a program like Duke if they lost Grayson Allen for the season the sky wouldn’t be falling in Durham. Like Creighton, I expect the Musketeers to take a slide going forward. For all you Xavier fans, I know you still have Trevon Bluiett on your team and he’s a fantastic player but losing a floor general of Sumner’s talent changes everything. You could make the argument that Watson isn’t Creighton’s best player, Patton and Foster a very good, but like Sumner the offense ran through Watson. The Xavier Musketeers and Creighton Blue Jays are all of the sudden on the same footing as the rest of the middle of the conference.
It is safe to say Villanova will end the regular season as conference champions and the Butler Bulldogs are still very good as well. With the injuries to Creighton and Xavier, teams like Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, hell maybe even Georgetown must view this as a major opportunity. With the conference standings where they are currently and with the games remaining a lot of things can change seeding wise between now and the Big East Tournament. Then when it comes to the conference tourney who isn’t to say Nova gets bounced early (its happened before), then your guess is as good as mine in terms of who can take the tourney crown. Lets be honest here while Butler has a great team, I don’t think they should strike a ton of fear into any of those teams I mentioned above’s eyes. If you are Providence, Seton Hall or Georgetown, teams that if the season ended today probably wouldn’t make the dance, you’re desperately looking to make a run at MSG. A lot of this is speculation and we should wait and see how Xavier responds to the Sumner injury but this is something worth keeping an eye on, a lot can happen in February.