Xavier vs UConn Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Big East Tilt

Xavier vs UConn Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Big East Tilt article feature image

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Nunge (Xavier)

Xavier vs UConn Odds

Wednesday, Jan. 25
6:30 p.m. ET
Xavier Odds
-115o / -105u
UConn Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Two weeks ago, you might have highlighted this meeting between the UConn Huskies and Xavier Musketeers as the most important game left on the Big East schedule.

After UConn has cratered, with five losses in its last seven games, that is clearly no longer the case.

Though this game might not be a pay-per-view title fight, it's certainly not fodder for the undercard.

UConn has the talent and the ceiling to be one of the best teams in college basketball.

Xavier sits atop the Big East standings, but hasn't played a road game against any of the other top teams in the conference.

This game can cause a massive shift in the Big East landscape, altering the trajectory of both teams no matter the outcome.

Xavier Musketeers

In Sean Miller's return to the sidelines, he has gotten right back to what he does best.

In his 18 seasons as a head coach, Miller's teams have boasted a top-20 ranking in offensive efficiency 11 times, including this year. The Musketeers are top-10 nationally in effective field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and assist rate.

Xavier is working on offense to find the right matchup, the best available shot and the optimal way to score, while playing at a high-octane pace.

That's not something most coaches can orchestrate, but Miller has done so, in large part thanks to the talent on his roster. Xavier can share the ball to find the right scoring option because every member of its rotation can be relied on in the right scenario.

UTEP transfer Souley Boum is an artist with the ball in his hands and a crisp shooter when he has the space.

Zach Freemantle is a stretch four and a matchup nightmare.

Jack Nunge is an efficient low-post scorer.

Double those guys? Colby Jones and Adam Kunkel are smart cutters and both 40% shooters from deep.

There's no easy answer to stopping Xavier's offense. That's why the Musketeers have lost just once since November. In that loss, Boum shot 1-of-12 and Xavier as a team was just 4-of-20 from deep.

Hoping for a cold night is a dream, not a defensive game plan.

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Connecticut Huskies

The first time these two teams met, they played in Cincinnati on New Year's Eve. When UConn walked into that game, the Huskies were 14-0, highly ranked in the polls and atop the Big East standings.

As they enter the rematch in Connecticut, the Huskies have lost five of seven games, are just 5-5 in Big East play and currently sit in a tie for fifth place in the conference.

Dan Hurley and his squad's outlook has shifted from a regular season conference crown and the top seed at Madison Square Garden in March's Big East Tournament to righting the ship enough to hang on to a top-five seed at that tournament.

Right now, there are two major questions for Hurley and his staff to parse out as we head towards the stretch run.

First, UConn needs to figure out who on the roster is the best primary ball-handler, especially in crunch time.

East Carolina transfer Tristen Newton has grown into the role, but struggles with decision making and is not going to create his own shot.

Jordan Hawkins is the best scoring option, yet faces the opponents' best perimeter defender and is less confident off the bounce.

Andre Jackson is a great change of pace option, yet can't be relied on to close a game.

Similarly, on the interior, Hurley needs to sort out his frontcourt rotation.

Currently, Big East Preseason Player of the Year Adama Sanogo is seeing about twice as many minutes as freshman 7-footer Donovan Clingan. Should that be the case?

Though the expectations and sample size might be skewed due to the difference in minutes played, Clingan is more efficient offensively, draws more fouls, rebounds better and would rank second in the nation in block rate if he had the minutes to qualify for the leaderboard.

Having two towering centers is a "good problem to have" and yet, it does present a problem.

At the very least, Hurley is unable to put his five best players on the court together. UConn's depth of talent makes for a game of musical chairs down the stretch of any close game.

Xavier vs. UConn Betting Pick

My eyes popped out of my head a little bit when I saw this line first drop.

I think it's skewed a little bit towards UConn because every analytical model still loves the Huskies. In fact, KenPom and EvanMiya set this line at eight points, with Bart Torvik's T-Rank favoring UConn by 10 points.

Those numbers do not square with the play we've seen on the court from Connecticut over the past month.

Call me crazy, but I'm going to trust my eyes over the computers here.

Even when evaluating the matchup between the two teams, I like Xavier's chances. The Musketeers have the size to match with the Huskies' two bruisers in the middle and can spread out the UConn defense with shooting and spacing.

When the Huskies are out of position defensively, they tend to foul and send opponents to the free-throw stripe. Miller's guys are ready to exploit that.

When they met in Cincinnati, Xavier made 23 free throws to just four from UConn.

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