Xavier (21-3, 9-2) at Butler (17-7, 7-4)
When: Tuesday, February 6th 2018
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Time: 6:30 ET | TV: FS1
Opening Odds: Butler -3/155
The Xavier Musketeers are not only in the running for a Big East regular season title, but with losses by Duke and Kansas over the weekend, might be in line for a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. First, there is still a lot of work left to be done, which includes Tuesday night’s battle in Indianapolis against the Butler Bulldogs. Xavier stayed alive for the conference crown with a 96-91 overtime victory over Georgetown, but will likely need to win out – including a major roadblock in No. 1 Villanova in a couple of weeks. Despite a pair of narrow victories over inferior opponents, the Musketeers are up to No. 5 in the current rankings. Xavier scoring leader Trevon Bluiett was the hero against the Hoyas, converting a clutch four-point play late in the second half to force overtime, and finished with a season-high 31 points. The Musketeers can’t afford to be looking ahead on Tuesday against a Bulldogs team that has run off four consecutive victories, averaging 80.3 points over that span. Butler will be looking for a season split after falling 86-79 in their previous meeting on January 2nd in Cincinnati. Senior forward Kelan Martin had 25 points in that game vs. Xavier, but shot just 11-for-26 – including 2-of-10 from 3-point range.
Bluiett was on fire in the win over Georgetown, eclipsing 30 points for the first time in over a year while knocking down a season-high six 3-pointers. Bluiett went into that contest vs. the Hoyas having made just six combined 3s over his previous three games. His production was necessary as second-leading scorer J.P. Macura was held to just seven points on 1-of-4 shooting over 29 minutes. Macura has scored just 25 points in three games since registering in 25 in a victory over Seton Hall. Forward Kaiser Gates returned to the starting lineup with just four points but added four assists and 10 rebounds after coming off the bench his previous five games.
Butler is currently at No. 7 seed in the latest Bracketology predictions, thanks to handing the top-ranked team in the nation (Villanova) its only loss of the season to date, having beaten them 101-93 back on December 30th. The Bulldogs stumbled a bit following that incredible victory – losing four of its next five games – but are back to playing well, with its previous three victories coming by an average of 22.7 points. Martin leads the team in scoring at 19.8 points per game and has rebounded nicely from a six-point effort in the Bulldogs’ last defeat January 15th vs. Providence, averaging 21.3 points during the team’s four-game winning streak. Butler will get another chance to impress the committee when they play at Villanova on Saturday.
This is a tough game to call – until I saw the spread. Yes, Butler is a very good team and have one of the best homecourt advantages in the country, but they shouldn’t be favored by three points over this Xavier team. The Musketeers were uninterested in their previous two games, but they’ll be at their best tonight.
Pick: Xavier +3
- Musketeers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Musketeers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
- Musketeers are 22-7 ATS in their last 29 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Musketeers are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 road games.
- Musketeers are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Musketeers are 23-9 ATS in their last 32 games overall.
- Musketeers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Tuesday games.
- Musketeers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Musketeers are 17-7 ATS in their last 24 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Musketeers are 18-8 ATS in their last 26 games following a straight up win.
- Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Bulldogs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Big East.
- Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
- Bulldogs are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Bulldogs are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Bulldogs are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 4-0 in Musketeers last 4 road games.
- Under is 4-0 in Musketeers last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 5-1 in Musketeers last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 20-6 in Musketeers last 26 Tuesday games.
- Under is 6-2 in Musketeers last 8 overall.
- Under is 6-2 in Musketeers last 8 vs. Big East.
- Under is 6-2 in Musketeers last 8 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 7-0-1 in Bulldogs last 8 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Over is 9-2 in Bulldogs last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 4-1 in Bulldogs last 5 overall.
- Under is 4-1 in Bulldogs last 5 vs. Big East.
- Over is 7-2 in Bulldogs last 9 home games.
- Over is 8-3 in Bulldogs last 11 games following a straight up win.
- Musketeers are 12-3-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings.
- Musketeers are 7-2 ATS in the last 9 meetings in Butler.
- Favorite is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings.