Washington vs Xavier Odds, Pick for Friday
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Image. Pictured: Desmond Claude (Xavier)
Washington vs Xavier Odds, Pick
You never want to head into Thanksgiving on a negative note. The Xavier Musketeers and Washington Huskies will aim to get back on track after dropping their last games.
This game is the second matchup of the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas.
Here are Washington vs. Xavier odds and a pick, including an NCAAB betting guide on Friday, Nov. 17.
The Washington Huskies struggled to find their footing against Nevada last weekend, dropping the game in Seattle by double digits.
The Huskies don't lack in the talent department, though. Keion Brooks Jr, an extremely versatile forward, leads the team with 24 points and eight boards per contest. That's a significant plus against the flimsy Xavier front line, which is missing Zach Freemantle and Jerome Hunter.
Washington's perimeter shooting is an area of question, though. The starting guards — Sahvir Wheeler and Paul Mulcahy — offer very little in the shooting department, and Brooks is more focused on scoring in the mid-range.
The lack of shooting creates floor-spacing issues for Brooks and limits the guards on dribble drives. If the Huskies can prove themselves as competent shooting threats, it opens up the offense.
Koren Johnson scored 20 in the opener against Bellarmine and is slowly getting fewer minutes. That's something I would like to see change against the sturdy Xavier backcourt — Johnson's ability to string together 15+ points is an asset.
Additionally, UW's free-throw shooting was an eye sour against Nevada. It went 9-of-21 from the charity stripe, while Nevada made 21-of-26 foul shots. That's why Washington has one loss instead of zero.
The foul shooting has to improve in this one. Otherwise, a similar result may loom.
Xavier lost at Purdue's hands in the Gavitt Games, 81-73. The Musketeers got 17.5 points and easily covered the spread against Zach Edey & Co.
A trio of young guards paved the way for Xavier to compete. It started with Desmond Claude, who's quickly emerging as the No. 1 option for the veteran coach Sean Miller in his sophomore season. Claude is averaging over 17 points and is pound-for-pound the best guard in this game.
With Freemantle and Hunter missing for the foreseeable future, Xavier will rely on Abou Ousame (transfer from North Texas) and Lithuanian forward Gytis Nemeiksa to rebound and patrol the paint.
The depth is lacking in Xavier's frontcourt, whereas Washington's roster offers numerous options at five. Xavier must avoid foul trouble so it doesn't dip into its bench depth.
In tight situations a year ago, Coach Miller knew the plan: Put the ball in point guard Souley Boum's hands and let the positive results follow.
None of the Musketeer guards have taken on the "Boum" role from last season. So, who's the guy? Possibly, Quincy Olivari, a transfer from Rice, who rattled in 30 points numerous times. Olivari is just 4-of-16 from deep at Xavier, but he can achieve major feats in Cincy.
Washington vs. Xavier
Betting Pick & Prediction
The most underrated edge is the coaching advantage. Miller is a proven winner, both at Xavier (in his first stint) and Arizona. Mike Hopkins has yet to prove anything of substance in Seattle and continually makes strange choices with defenses and lineup rotations.
Roster-wise, it feels pretty close to even, but I would lay the three based on Miller's ability to craft a plan to throw Hopkins off.
Pick: Xavier -3
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