Marquette (13-6, 4-3) at Xavier (18-3, 6-2)
When: Wednesday, January 24th 2018
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, OH
Time: 6:30 ET | TV: FOX Sports 1
Opening Odds: Xavier -7.5/164.5
The Xavier Musketeers are on the verge of cracking the Top 5 in the national rankings, but they’ll need to get past their recent troubles with the Marquette Golden Eagles on Wednesday night at Cintas Center in Cincinnati. The Musketeers have reeled-off three straight victories to climb to No. 8 in the latest polls, but had a hard time beating Marquette 91-87 on December 27th. The Golden Eagles took both meetings against Xavier last season – by a combined 33 points – and are coming off their best defensive effort of the season in a 70-52 win over DePaul. Marquette’s duo of Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey, who combine to average better than 41 points per game, had 44 in the narrow loss last month. With a win over Marquette on Wednesday, Xavier could easily run the table to their huge February 17th encounter with the Villanova Wildcats, but can’t be caught looking ahead. Xavier averages 29.1 defensive rebounds per game, 11th-most in Division I, while Marquette is the second-best 3-point shooting team in the Big East at 40.6%.
Howard and Rowsey aren’t the only two opponents have to worry about with Marquette. Sam Hauser averages 15.1 points per game and has 49 points over the last two contests, while draining 11-of-19 threes. The Golden Eagles have one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country and the trio of Howard, Rowsey, and Hauser are each shooting better than 90% for the season. Howard has hit all 57 of his attempts so far in 2017-18. Marquette ranks inside the top 30 nationally in points per game (83.1), but the defense has been a major concern outside of their most recent game against DePaul. The Golden Eagles are allowing 75.7 points per game – good for 265th in Division I.
The Musketeers are led by senior Trevon Bluiett, who averages 19.1 points and is shooting 42.5% from beyond the arc. Bluiett made just 1-of-8 three-pointers in the last meeting against Marquette, but has since made multiple 3-pointers in seven consecutive games. J.P. Macura is second on the team in scoring (15.1) and was the difference maker last time out against Seton Hall, exploding for a season-high 27 points. Xavier might not be able to match Marquette in free-throw accuracy, but they get the line aplenty. Only Arizona State (387) has made more free throws than the Musketeers (385), who also rank eighth in the country in attempts (499).
Its no secret that Marquette is a tough matchup for Xavier and I can see this game being no different. The guard play for the Golden Eagles is terrific and will keep them in every game.
Pick: Marquette +7.5
- Golden Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Golden Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Golden Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big East.
- Golden Eagles are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up win.
- Musketeers are 16-6 ATS in their last 22 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Musketeers are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 games overall.
- Musketeers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home games.
- Musketeers are 16-7 ATS in their last 23 games following a straight up win.
- Musketeers are 25-12 ATS in their last 37 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Musketeers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 Wednesday games.
- Musketeers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 5-0 in Golden Eagles last 5 road games.
- Over is 4-0 in Golden Eagles last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Over is 5-0 in Golden Eagles last 5 Wednesday games.
- Over is 4-0 in Golden Eagles last 4 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 13-3 in Golden Eagles last 16 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Over is 4-1 in Golden Eagles last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Over is 5-2 in Golden Eagles last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 5-2 in Golden Eagles last 7 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 7-3 in Golden Eagles last 10 vs. Big East.
- Under is 4-0 in Musketeers last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 4-1 in Musketeers last 5 overall.
- Under is 4-1 in Musketeers last 5 vs. Big East.
- Over is 4-1 in Musketeers last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Over is 9-4 in Musketeers last 13 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
- Favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
- Road team is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings.