#7 Xavier (17-2, 5-2) at #10 Providence (17-3, 5-2)
When: Tuesday, January 26th 2016
Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, RI
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: FOX Sports 1
The Xavier Musketeers and Providence Friars will battle to keep pace with Villanova atop the Big East standings. Providence overcame three days in a hotel room over the weekend riding out Winter Storm Jonas that pushed their game with Villanova back a day. They upset the Wildcats 82-76 in overtime for their second consecutive win. Ben Bentil had 31 points and 13 rebounds against Villanova while Kris Dunn recorded 13 points and a career high-tying 14 assists. Kyron Cartwright tied his career high with 13 points and Junior Lomomba notched 12 for his best total since November 26th. Dunn was a monster last year when the Friars split their two meetings with Xavier. He averaged 15.5 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. Providence shot 46% against Villanova which is higher than their 216th ranked 43.4%.
Xavier didn’t have the same luck when they played at Villanova on New Year’s Eve. The Wildcats got the better of the Musketeers 95-64 that night. Since then, Xavier has won five of six by eight points or more with the lone loss coming against Georgetown. James Farr scored a career-high 24 points off the bench and hauled in 15 rebounds in Xavier’s 84-76 win over Seton Hall on Saturday. The senior also made 10-of-11 free throws and is 18-of-19 from the line in his last four games. Farr is one of four Musketeers who averages in double digits in scoring led by guard Trevon Bluiett (15.4), who has scored at least 15 points in five straight games. He hit 3-of-6 from beyond the arc against Seton Hall and is ranked third in the Big East in made 3-pointers (46) and sixth in accuracy (39.7). Bluiett and junior Jalen Reynolds had 19 points apiece in the last meeting with against Providence – a 78-69 victory at home last February.
This is basically a pickem game with both teams playing well right now. I’m going to go with the road team in this thinking that Providence will have a little bit of letdown after defeating Villanova.
Pick: Xavier -1