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What did we learn about Xavier in the preseason?

Is it REALLY Villanova’s league to lose? Xavier might have something to say about it

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Florida State vs Xavier Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s continue to look at the Big East teams with Xavier.

One thing that we can see is that despite a track record of success and an all Big-East star in Trevon Bluiett, the Xavier Musketeers seem to have real question marks.

The Big East coaches placed them third, while the national poll has Chris Mack’s team as second in the Big East. A small but interesting difference, and underlying it is the issues around the lineup after J.P. Macura and Bluiett.

Asked about his projected starting lineup for 2017-18 during Big East Media Day at Madison Square Garden Wednesday, Mack said, "I wouldn't know."

"We still have a scrimmage and an exhibition game to play," Mack said. "In fairness to all our players, there's a lot of growth that still needs to happen, so when guys start to really figure out who they are, things could fall into place but I don't have anything penciled in at this point."

There are some good players, especially in the frontcourt where Sean O’Mara, Kerem Kanter, Tyrique Jones and Kaiser Gates, but it seems that none has stood out enough to be considered a sure-fire starter.

Or maybe that’s coach motivational talk.

Still, Mack likes his team.

He told Cincinnati.com [video], “I think when you have veteran leadership and guys who have been in those situations before - there's nothing like experience.”

And on his youg players, like his two top-75 freshmen, he hopes they can be brought along. But the reality is “like most freshmen they're going to make some mistakes,” Mack said. “They're gonna have some awesome days they're going to have some days where they feel like they never picked up a ball."

Xavier has a real chance to take the top spot in the Big East. But the talented freshmen have to learn the defense - and find ways to make Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura even more explosive on offense.

St. John’s plays at Xavier on Wednesday, January 17 at the Cintas Center, and again in Queens on Tuesday, January 30 at Carnesecca Arena.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports