Villanova (23-3, 10-3) at Xavier (24-3, 12-2)
When: Saturday, February 17th 2018
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, OH
Time: 4:30 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Villanova -1.5/164.5
The Villanova Wildcats punished the Xavier Musketeers back on January 10th, and now the top two teams in the Big East Conference will meet again as things have changed since that meeting in Philadelphia. The Wildcats rolled over Xavier 89-65 last month behind 21 points from Phil Booth, who is currently sidelined with a broken hand, and 17 from Jalen Brunson. The Musketeers shot only 41.4% from the field and watched their three starting guards shoot a combined 6-of-28 overall in the earlier encounter with the Wildcats. However, the teams are running in different directions with Villanova having lost two of its last three, while Xavier has won nine in a row since losing to the Wildcats. The Musketeers hold a 1.5-game lead in the conference over Villanova, so a win at home today would almost wrap up the regular season title.
Brunson’s long range shooting has been a concern of late – 3-of-19 over the last three games – and committed a season-high seven turnovers in Wednesday’s 76-71 loss to Providence after not recording more than three in any prior game this season. Donte DiVincenzo also had an off-day versus the Friars, finishing with six points to snap a streak of 16 straight games scoring in double figure, including a career-high 30 in the previous game against Butler. Guard Mikal Bridges had a team-high 19 points the last time out and has committed one turnover or less in 12 of his last 13 games. After missing two games with a concussion, forward Eric Paschall scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting against Providence.
The Musketeers’ offense, which ranks ninth in the country at 85.3 points a game, have scored 88 or more on six occasions during their current nine-game winning streak including a season-best 102 points in their last game, a 12-point win over Seton Hall. Trevon Bluiett recorded 37 points and Naji Marshall had a career-high 20 points for Xavier, which shot 14-of-29 from 3-point range and 28-of-35 from the foul line. J.P. Macura has eclipsed his season scoring average (12.3) only once in the last six games, but made 2-of-3 3-pointers against Seton Hall after a five-game stretch in which he went 2-of-16 from long distance.
Villanova is really ripe for the picking right, especially against a hot squad like Xavier. I’m very surprised that Villanova is favored in this game based on the way these two teams are going and it being in Cincinnati. Yes, the Wildcats dominated the last encounter, but that was a month ago and this is a perfect revenge spot for the Musketeers.
Pick: Xavier +1.5
- Wildcats are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up loss.
- Wildcats are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Wildcats are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wildcats are 15-6 ATS in their last 21 Saturday games.
- Wildcats are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games.
- Wildcats are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Wildcats are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Wildcats are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games overall.
- Wildcats are 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Wildcats are 44-21 ATS in their last 65 games following a ATS loss.
- Musketeers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Musketeers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Musketeers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Big East.
- Musketeers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Musketeers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Musketeers are 24-7 ATS in their last 31 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Musketeers are 26-9 ATS in their last 35 games overall.
- Musketeers are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Musketeers are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 games following a straight up win.
- Musketeers are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 home games.
- Musketeers are 19-8 ATS in their last 27 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Over is 6-1 in Wildcats last 7 overall.
- Over is 6-1 in Wildcats last 7 vs. Big East.
- Over is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 4-1 in Wildcats last 5 road games.
- Under is 4-1 in Wildcats last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 4-1 in Wildcats last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Over is 6-2 in Wildcats last 8 games following a ATS loss.
- Under is 7-3 in Wildcats last 10 Saturday games.
- Under is 6-1 in Musketeers last 7 Saturday games.
- Under is 9-4 in Musketeers last 13 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Favorite is 10-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
- Wildcats are 9-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
- Home team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.