Xavier vs. Iowa State Odds, Prediction, Preview: Under Has Value in NIT Tip-Off
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Xavier’s Paul Scruggs and Dwon Odom.
- Updated Iowa State vs. Xavier odds list the Cyclones as a 9-point favorite, up one point from when this line opened. The total has also seen movement down, from 137.5 to 136.5.
- This game is part of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and features a top 25 team in most models in Xavier, and one of the worst Power 5 teams in the country in Iowa State.
- Get Anthony Dabbundo's Xavier vs. Iowa State betting preview and pick below.
Xavier vs. Iowa State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Iowa State Odds|
-110o / -110u
All four teams in the event have begun the season unbeaten, but only one will leave the Barclays Center on Friday without a loss.
Xavier picked up an impressive victory against Ohio State at home last Thursday, and followed it up with a dominant home win against Norfolk State. The Musketeers appear to be improving after back-to-back sluggish games against Niagara and Kent State that saw them trailing throughout most of the second game and in danger late in the first.
Still playing without Zach Freemantle, Xavier has relied on its interior defense, and that will be a challenge for Iowa State to overcome.
The Cyclones are also unbeaten to begin the T.J. Otzelberger era in Ames, notching a solid home victory against Oregon State in the second game of the season. The program is in rebuilding mode after some terrible seasons and the offense will absolutely be tested on Wednesday night.
Xavier’s interior defense has carried the team thus far through four games. The Musketeers have allowed the 13th-lowest effective field goal rate in the country, in part because teams are shooting just 36.1% from inside the arc against them.
That includes a game against an elite Ohio State offense that runs a well-drilled motion offense to generate open looks.
Transfer Jack Nunge from Iowa has taken a huge step forward this season, especially on the defensive end with his ability to alter and block shots in the middle of the defense.
Senior wing Paul Scruggs is as good of a defender as you’ll find in college basketball and is nationally ranked in both steal and block percentage early in the season.
The Musketeers are long — 32nd in height. They also rebound and do a solid job of chasing opponents off the 3-point line.
Until Freemantle returns from injury next month or maybe in January, the Musketeers’ offense may struggle a bit to consistently score.
Scruggs is a good option to create for himself and super senior Nate Johnson has an excellent 3-point shot, but the Musketeers don’t really create easy offense from anywhere right now.
That makes them hard to back as a bigger favorite against quality opposition.
Turnovers have been an issue for the Musketeers early in the season and they have been an issue in every season under head coach Chris Steele except one.
They rely heavily on second-chance looks when they do get shots up because they’re not that efficient, but far too often the Musketeers have empty possessions.
Iowa State had a very strong case last season to be the worst Power 5 team in the country. The Cyclones won two games against Jackson State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and proceeded to lose every other game they played.
ISU finished 2-22 overall and 0-18 in Big 12 play and lost its first-round conference tournament game. The Cyclones fired Steve Prohm and hired Otzelberger, a move that was criticized by some given that UNLV didn’t exactly thrive in his two seasons with the program.
But the early signs for the Cyclones are encouraging as they have doubled last year’s season win total already.
Izaiah Brockington transferred from Penn State and joined the program, freshman point guard Tyrese Hunter has great assist numbers thus far and experienced shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur came in from Minnesota.
Iowa State is very undersized, though, and that could be a major issue in this game as it tries to score points. The offense has almost no shooting ability whatsoever, with only one player shooting above 35% from beyond the arc last season on the roster.
The Cyclones have only made 30.2% from beyond the arc against terrible competition and Xavier’s defense has size advantages to prevent them from getting to the interior.
Where Iowa State has produced decent numbers is on the defensive end, and even last season when the wheels came off the program, they were still an above average defense that just couldn’t score the ball.
Xavier vs. Iowa State Betting Pick
Given Iowa State’s lacking size and shooting ability, it’s hard to see how it consistently scores against Xavier’s elite interior defense. If you can’t force Xavier to respect jump shooting, it’s going to be very hard to sustain offense on the inside against Scruggs, Nunge and forward Jerome Hunter.
Iowa State’s offensive numbers are improved but the talent just isn’t there. Both programs have turnover issues, both teams defensive rebound well and neither team has found much success shooting from beyond the 3-point arc or has the profile of a good jump-shooting team.
Even with the above-average pace, the efficiency on offense will not be there for either team. I’d take an under to 135.5 or better.