Wednesday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Xavier vs. Seton Hall Betting Preview
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Cale (Seton Hall)
- Looking to boost its resume, Seton hall hosts Xavier at the Prudential Center in a critical Big East battle.
- The Musketeers have struggled with slow starts as of late and just lost to a DePaul team without its leading scorer.
- Charlie DiSturco explains which side to back in this inter-conference affair.
Xavier vs. Seton Hall Odds
-106o / -114u
|Seton Hall Odds|
-106o / -114u
Two teams battling in the middle of the Big East square off Wednesday night, as Xavier travels to Newark to take on Seton Hall.
The Musketeers have struggled the last few games, eking by Butler before falling to DePaul on their home floor. They sit one game ahead of the Pirates in the conference standings.
Seton Hall seems to have righted the ship early in February. After being blown out by St. John’s and falling to Marquette by 10, the Pirates have responded with two straight wins. They steamrolled Creighton by 19 on Friday.
Can the Pirates continue their recent success? Or will Xavier come into the Prudential Center and play spoiler?
Over the last couple weeks, Xavier has consistently found itself trailing at halftime, forcing itself to play with a higher sense of urgency to chip away at large leads.
It burned the Musketeers against a Javon Freeman-Liberty-less DePaul team, and vs. Providence at home. And if it weren’t for a 24-2 run to open the second half against Creighton, the Musketeers could very well sit below .500 in the Big East.
Like many Big East teams, it’s on the defensive end where Xavier is best. While it doesn’t force many turnovers, it rarely fouls, rebounds well and boasts a top-50 defense in terms of eFG%.
The rest of the offense is pretty mediocre. The Musketeers don’t shoot the ball extremely well — 33.4% from 3 and 51.1% from 2 — but they don’t commit many turnovers, either.
The Musketeers do pass well — they assist on 57% of field goals — and are at their best when drawing fouls.
Jack Nunge is the star of the offense. The Iowa transfer can stretch the floor, is a strong rebounder and rarely turns the ball over. He is 54th among all Division I players in offensive rating.
For the first time in nearly a month, Seton Hall finally looked like the top-25 team everyone expected it to be against Creighton.
The Pirates have struggled since their overtime win over Connecticut. Much of that has stemmed from the absence of Bryce Aiken, the team’s primary ball handler and best offensive playmaker.
Aiken has missed the previous five games with a concussion, and is questionable for Wednesday’s matchup with Xavier.
Seton Hall likes to push the tempo and attack the rim. This is an offense that plays in isolation — just 40% of its field goals are assisted — and can at times struggle.
The Pirates are just 275th in eFG%, but they use their length and athleticism inside to create second-chance opportunities and get to the free-throw line.
The Pirates get 22.1% of their total points from the charity stripe, 15th in the entire country. They shoot 76.6% as a team, too.
As has been the trend all season long, however, defense has been the money maker for Kevin Willard’s squad.
Seton Hall often controls the paint with its size, topped off by 7-foot-2 shot-blocking menace Ike Obiagu. The Pirates rank 18th in 2-point defense.
Xavier vs. Seton Hall Betting Pick
To me, Xavier is slightly overrated, and it’s beginning to show in recent games. The Musketeers have to consistently claw their way back into games, which will be much tougher against an elite defense like Seton Hall.
A lot comes down to the matchup between Nunge and Obiagu in the paint. Xavier’s offense normally goes as Nunge does, and he’ll draw the 7-foot-2 Obiagu, who averages nearly 3.5 blocks a contest.
I think Seton Hall’s size in the paint will be the difference maker on Wednesday. Even without Obiagu, the Pirates have a pair of 6-foot-10 bigs in Tray Jackson and Tyrese Samuel. Alexis Yetna has also been one of the team’s best rebounders, too.
While Aiken’s status remains unknown, I’d assume he doesn’t play, and the opening line of (-3) built that in.
But it seems like Kadary Richmond has settled into his role as the primary ball handler and facilitator, averaging 12.3 points, six assists and three steals per game over the last three.
Now that Seton Hall seems finally comfortable without Aiken, I think this is the perfect spot for it to take down Xavier. The Pirates are teetering on the bubble, and picking up this home win would be a nice boost to their resume.
Back the Pirates to keep the ball rolling at the Prudential Center.
Pick: Seton Hall (-3)