College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Xavier vs. DePaul (Wednesday, Jan. 19)
Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Nate Johnson.
- Xavier is favored on Wednesday night when it takes on DePaul in Chicago.
- The Blue Demons just snapped a five-game losing streak, but the Musketeers are in the midst of a great season.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down the matchup and delivers his pick for bettors below.
Xavier vs. DePaul Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
After finishing 5-14 last season, DePaul opened this year 9-1 in its non-conference schedule. Those wins were quickly diminished, though, after dropping its first five Big East matchups.
The Blue Demons ended its five-game skid with a 96-92 victory over Seton Hall last week. It was the first win over an AP-ranked team in more than two years. There is no denying DePaul’s ability to score the basketball, but it has struggled mightily defensively.
Here, DePaul will matchup against a Xavier team that has done nothing but impress this season. The Musketeers are 13-3, with two of their losses coming against Villanova. This is a well-rounded group that has a top-30 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
There is value in the total in this game. Let’s break down which side of the number we’ll be on.
Xavier already has wins over Ohio State, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma State. While it has lost both its matchups to Villanova, it has won its other three Big East matchups by an average of 10 points.
The Musketeers offense is a well-balanced unit that has six players averaging eight or more points per game. Nate Johnson leads the way with about a dozen per contest and is the primary deep ball threat, having connected on 46% of his 92 attempts from 3-point land this season.
Big man Jack Nunge has proven to be a weapon off the bench. He exploded against Cincinnati with 31 points while going 9-for-11 from the field.
The shooting has been mediocre this season for Xavier, though, hitting just 33% of 3-point attempts and 52% from inside the arc. The Musketeers thrive at creating contact, ranking 13th in the nation in free throw attempts per field goal attempts. A fast tempo has led the Musketeers to 76 points per game this season.
Xavier has been good in nearly every defensive category but not great at any one thing. It holds opponents to 30% from behind the arc and 45% inside of it, both of which rank the team inside the top 60 nationally.
DePaul thrives when it can play at its fast pace. The Blue Demons averaged 84 points in matchups against Seton Hall, St. Johns and Marquette, but slower-paced teams like Butler, Villanova and Providence, though, saw their offense struggle.
Luckily for Tony Stubblefield’s squad, it should be in store for another up-tempo matchup against Xavier.
The offense is led by Javon Freeman-Liberty, who is averaging more than 21 points and seven rebounds per game. Freeman-Liberty is questionable in this matchup after an apparent groin injury against Seton Hall.
The Blue Demons have six players who average more than seven points per game. Sophomore guard David Jones is averaging 15.5 points and was a key contributor with 24 in the win over Seton Hall.
DePaul is averaging 78 points per game this season despite struggling to hit the outside shot. On the year, the Demon Blue Demons are hitting 32% of their 3-point attempts, which ranks 237th nationally. They’ve been strong at scoring inside the perimeter and keeping possessions alive.
Defensively, DePaul has given up way too many clean looks from 3-point range and ranks 248th by allowing teams to hit over 35%. The Demons don’t force many turnovers and have struggled mightily since beginning conference play. In its first six Big East games, the defense has allowed 81 points per game.
Xavier vs. DePaul Betting Pick
The Big East can be split right down the middle with five teams who play an up-tempo style and five teams who want to go at a snail’s pace. This matchup presents two teams in the first category.
Per Hoop-Math, both Xavier and DePaul attempt at least 25% of their field goal attempts in transition. Each side uses fewer than 16 seconds on the shot clock, which is among the top-35 in the country.
DePaul has allowed an average of 81 points per game in its six Big East games this season, and that includes three matchups with slower-paced teams in Butler, Providence and Villanova.
The Blue Demons have gone over the total in 11 of its 16 games this season. They’re desperate for a win in this spot to get back on track, but I see little chance of them slowing down the Xavier offense that has been dominant this season.
I’m playing the over in what should be a back and forth game with stops coming few and far between.