Marquette vs. Xavier Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide (Sunday, Jan. 15)

Marquette vs. Xavier Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide (Sunday, Jan. 15) article feature image

Via Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured; Tyler Kolek #11 of the Marquette Golden Eagles looks on against the Connecticut Huskies during the second half at Fiserv Forum on January 11, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Marquette Golden Eagles defeated the Connecticut Huskies 82-76.

Marquette vs. Xavier Odds

Sunday, Jan. 15
12 p.m. ET
Marquette Odds
-110o / -110u
Xavier Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Something's gotta give.

Two runaway freight trains are set to collide when Xavier and Marquette square off at Cintas Center in Cincinnati on Sunday. Marquette hasn't lost a game since December 20th while the X-Men are unbeaten since November 27th. Unless Providence knocks off Creighton on Saturday, this showdown will be for first place in the Big East standings.

A surging current of anticipation may blow the lid off Cintas for this one. It's an early start (12 p.m. ET), but that shouldn't quell these high-octane offenses, two of the fastest and more efficient in college basketball. Xavier and Marquette hold claim to the league's top two offenses on an adjusted efficiency basis, per KenPom, both of which rank inside the top 10 nationally.

The victor will likely distinguish itself with a few key defensive stops in high leverage situations. Find a college basketball betting guide for Marquette vs. Xavier below.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Marquette's reengineered offense is unique, a function of the many unorthodox pieces throughout the rotation. Position-less basketball is overused by coaches across America, but Shaka Smart truly brings it to life.

Against Xavier's towering frontline, Marquette's inverted forward tandem, Oso Ighodaro and Olivier-Maxence Prosper, must rise to the occasion, just as they did on Wednesday against Connecticut. Oso and "OMP" combined for 36 points against the Huskies' jumbo frontline in that marquee win. Using their speed, skill and feathery shooting touch, Marquette softened up UConn's perimeter defense and then pounded the paint relentlessly.

The Golden Eagles hold a similar edge tonight against Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle, two mobile but not overly athletic bigs. Marquette's interior defense will always be it's weakness, but if Oso and OMP can counter with their own mismatches advantages, it remains a net positive for Marquette.

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Xavier Musketeers

Xavier must impose its physical size on offense without being torched on the other end. This starts with the guards, notably Souley Boum, Colby Jones, Adam Kunkel and Des Claude. Collectively, this quartet has struggled to corral dribble penetration this season, which could be worrisome against the Golden Eagles.

Slowing down Marquette's offense is predicated on keeping their primary perimeter initiators, Tyler Kolek and Kam Jones, out of the lane. Claude is the potential X-factor, a spry sparkplug off the bench with the agility and length to check either Kolek or Jones.

Claude and his backcourt brethren will need to strike the balance of challenging shooters without over contesting and thus, surrendering straight-line drives – this is where Marquette's offense is downright lethal and why they boast the best offensive 2-point field goal percentage in college basketball.

Marquette vs. Xavier Betting Pick

Here's the stat of the day in this handicap: Shaka Smart as an underdog is 92-58-4 against the number lifetime according to BetLabs. That's an astounding clip, which perfectly encapsulates Shaka's 'us against the world' coaching mentality.

Marquette's coming off a monumental win against Connecticut, which could entice bettors to come in on Xavier. Given how highly rated Marquette is in all the analytic metrics, this line should stay under 4-5 points. Still, try to wait for +5 if you want to ride with Shaka and company – if +5 never shows, pass.

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