West Virginia vs. Xavier Odds, Picks & Prediction | College Basketball Betting Preview (Saturday, Dec. 3)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Erik Stevenson
- West Virginia and Xavier meet as part of the Big 12/Big East Battle on Saturday evening in Cincinnati.
- Both teams have faced tough competition so far this season, and the Musketeers have been installed as a short home favorite.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting prediction.
West Virginia vs. Xavier Odds
Bob Huggins and West Virginia are looking for their third win in a row after knocking off the Florida Gators in the fifth-place game of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament.
West Virginia team four senior starters resulting in a team that ranks 95th in D-I experience at 2.33 years on average.
Just like the Mountaineers, Sean Miller’s squad starts four seniors and ranks even higher in D-I experience at 2.83 years on average, good for 28th nationally.
This will be a closely contested battle between two very experienced and well-coached teams on Saturday.
Huggins has used his plethora of experience this season to develop a Mountaineers defense that is extremely effective at creating pressure.
West Virginia ranks 12th nationally in turnover percentage at 26.2% per game. Combined that with an 11.9% steal percentage and you have a defense that can cause trouble for opponents on any given night.
This strength for West Virginia will be highlighted against a Xavier unit that has averaged 19 turnovers a game as a result of being extremely vulnerable to steals. The Musketeers have given the ball away at a 12.9% rate, which is 346th nationally.
These extra possessions for West Virginia will help them out tremendously in an attempt to keep pace with a Xavier offense that ranks 14th in adjusted offensive efficiency (113.4).
Offensively, West Virginia will also have an opportunity to stretch the floor against a Xavier defense that ranks 319th in 3P% defense, giving up 38.6% on average.
So far this season, West Virginia has only relied on 3-point attempts for 26% of their scoring. An uptick in this production will be crucial in keeping pace on the road.
Look for Huggins’s experienced unit to give Xavier’s offense problems on Saturday night.
Xavier has started their campaign with one of the more difficult schedules in college basketball.
The Musketeers have already played three top-20 teams in Purdue, Duke and Gonzaga.
Unfortunately, Xavier has fallen short in all three of these matchups losing by an average of 4.6 points.
Xavier’s offense, which ranks 14th in adjusted efficiency (113.4), has been the beneficiary of extremely sharp-shooting from beyond the arc so far this season.
The Musketeers rank fourth nationally in 3P% at 43.2% per contest. This is a large discrepancy with a West Virginia defense that only allows 29.9% shooting beyond the arc.
If these outside shooting numbers begin to regress, so too could the Xavier offense that has been carrying the load for the Musketeers so far this season.
If West Virginia is able to continue to create turnovers, and limit Xavier’s success from deep, they will have success on the road against the Musketeers.
West Virginia vs. Xavier Betting Pick
During his historic tenure, Huggins has been a master at getting his team prepared despite tough road environments. I expect much of the same for West Virginia on Saturday.
The Mountaineers will be able to create enough pressure to make Xavier uncomfortable, getting them out of their offensive system that they have heavily relied on so far this season.
In a game that KenPom projects as a 75-73 victory in favor of Xavier, I will gladly take the value with the road underdog, as this spread has opened up at 3.5 points in favor of Xavier.
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