Villanova at Xavier Pick, Betting Prediction & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Friday,February 10, 2017 10:16, EST in

No. 2 Villanova, the defending national champion, has won the Big East regular-season title for the past three seasons. If the Wildcats beat No. 24 Xavier in the Musketeers’ gym on Saturday, then Villanova is all but assured another conference title. But a Xavier win gives XU a shot at the crown. Nova will be a slight favorite on college basketball odds.

Villanova at Xavier Pick, Betting Prediction & TV Info

When: Saturday, Feb. 11, 2:30 PM ET
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati
TV: Fox
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Villanova / Xavier
Opening NCAAB Lines: Villanova favored by TBA

Why Bet On Villanova?

The Wildcats (23-2) beat Georgetown 75-64 on Tuesday. Star Josh Hart’s clutch 3-pointer with his team in the midst of a 5 plus minute field goal drought helped the Wildcats hold off the Hoyas. Hart ended the night with 25 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals for the victors. Jalen Brunson made a series of key plays in the final minutes and Donte DiVincenzo added 15 points and six rebounds for the Wildcats.

It was VU’s 48th straight win on campus but it didn’t come easily after the Hoyas erased all but two points of what had been a 56-39 lead with 11:05 left to play. Now the Cats start a two-game road trip.

“I know they’ll go into Xavier ready to play with great confidence, great respect for Xavier,” Coach Jay Wright said of his players. “They do that every game. It’s just a matter of how we’ll handle periods during the game putting 40 minutes together.”

Villanova leads the Big East in offensive efficiency (117.4) and defensive efficiency (95.1). West Virginia is the only other major-conference team leading its conference in both categories. Hart leads the nation with a 117.1 offensive rating, per KenPom.com. Hart averages 19.2 points per game, most in the Big East and on pace to be the most by a Villanova player since Randy Foye averaged 20.5 in 2006.

Some bad news for Nova: Phil Booth, a 6-foot- 3 junior guard, has not played since Nov. 17 with inflammation in that knee, and Wright said “it doesn’t look good” that he’ll return this season. Booth, who scored a team-high 20 points in the national championship game against North Carolina, has not yet returned to practice and had another setback.

Thus Nova has just a seven-man rotation without him. And the minutes continue to pile up for four starters who are at 30 or more minutes per game. Hart is averaging 33.3 minutes overall and 33.1 in Big East games.

Why Bet On Xavier?

The Musketeers (18-6) have won four straight, the past three without star point guard Edmond Sumner, who was lost to a season-ending knee injury. They are off a 72-61 win over DePaul on Wednesday. Four Musketeers set career highs and three Musketeers scored in double figures. Trevon Bluiett led Xavier with 20 points, seven rebounds and one assist. It was Bluiett’s 13th game of at least 20 points this season and his fifth in the last six games.

J.P. Macura ended the game with 13 points, shooting 7-7 from the line, and a career high six assists. It was Macura’s 10th game this season shooting 100 percent from the line. Kaiser Gates set a new career high in rebounds with 10. Gates has recorded at least eight rebounds in each of his last four games. The Musketeers dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Blue Demons 37-22. The Musketeers had 20 assists on 26 field goals. Quentin Goodin set a new career high in assists with eight, the second-most by a Xavier player this season. The most came from Sumner with 9 against Eastern Washington on Dec. 20.

Bluiett is on pace to become the first Xavier player since David West and Romain Sato in the 2003 season to average at least 18 points and six rebounds per game. The Musketeers allow their opponents to rebound only 24 percent of their missed shots, the lowest defensive rebounding percentage in the Big East.

Xavier lost 79-54 at Villanova on Jan. 10. Hart and Jenkins each had 20 points. The Wildcats made 15 of their first 20 shots in the second half. Xavier missed 10 straight shots and 14 of 15 overall midway through the first half and lost an eight-point lead.

Villanova at Xavier Betting Prediction: Villanova Wildcats

If Sumner was healthy, I’d give Xavier a shot. Give the points here and take Villanova.