College Basketball Odds & Pick for Xavier vs. Providence: Back the Musketeers as Road Favorites in Big East
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Freemantle.
- Xavier looks to continue its push for an NCAA Tournament spot in a road matchup with Providence.
- The Friars got a huge game in these teams' first matchup from star David Duke, but they still came up short.
- Kyle Remillard explains why he is backing the Musketeers to seal the seal sweep over Providence.
Xavier vs. Providence Odds
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | FS1|
|Odds as of Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET and via PointsBet.|
Xavier travels to Providence to face off against the Friars on Wednesday night in what will be the Friars first game since Feb. 16, which was a loss to UConn.
On the other side, Xavier is coming off an ugly 63-51 win over the Butler Bulldogs. The Musketeers were ice cold from the 3-point range making just 2-of-19 attempts and making just 65.0% of their 20 free throws.
Xavier is 12-4 on the year and sits squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Musketeers will need to finish the season strong and play well early in the conference tournament to work to secure an at-large bid. Providence, meanwhile, is 11-11 on the year and will need late-season magic to sneak into the big dance.
In the first matchup Xavier was able to sneak by Providence, 74-73, thanks to a game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer by Colby Jones. The Friars led that game, 73-66, before Xavier ended the game on an 8-0 run.
That loss started a stretch for Providence that saw it lose six of its 10 games since.
When Xavier Has the Ball
Xavier is a senior-laden team that has played just 16 games in the last 90 days, which resembles a football schedule more than basketball.
The Musketeers have had three separate pauses this season, all of which vary in length, most recently a 13-day layoff to begin February. Since that layoff, Xavier has lost to UConn and St. Johns and barely snuck by struggling Butler.
Zach Freemantle is the Musketeers’ leading scorer, averaging 16.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He is a dominant big man who is tough to stop inside the paint, shooting 60.0% on 2-point attempts while converting just 58.8% of his free throw attempts.
Freemantle had a strong game in the first matchup against Providence, hitting 7-of-15 shots from the field for 17 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
Paul Scruggs and Nate Johnson both average more than 12 points per game. Johnson is the only player who shoots above 40% from 3-point range for Xavier, but he has been in a bit of a slump, having made just 2-of-17 3-pointers in the Musketeers’ last two games. Scruggs is the jack of all trades, averaging 13.4 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game.
When Providence Has the Ball
The Friars will need Duke and Nate Watson to repeat their efforts from the first matchup with Xavier if they want to win the rematch.
Duke was astounding, scoring 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including going 7-of-9 from behind the arc, while Watson scored 17 points and secured 14 rebounds. The duo has scored 46.6% of Providence’s points this season. A.J. Reeves has also been a strong contributor as the main 3-point threat for this team.
The biggest issue for Providence this year has been the production behind those three players. No one else averages more than six points per game.
Providence owns the No. 1 defense in 3-point percentage in Big East play, holding opponents to just 29.9% from outside the arc, according to KenPom. Xavier shoots near the bottom of the Big East from 3-point land at just 30.1%, ahead of only DePaul, but it does most of its scoring from inside the paint.
The Friars typically change defenses often, shuffling between man-to-man to zone to full-court pressure in an attempt to keep offenses from getting in a rhythm.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Providence played one of its best games of the season in the first matchup and could not secure the victory.
Duke and Watson each had monster games, and the Friars still lost.
It will be extremely difficult to replicate those efforts against a Xavier defense that is going to be focused on slowing down Duke and throwing multiple bodies at Watson.
Xavier can’t afford to lose this matchup if they want that to make the NCAA Tournament, and the Musketeers are led by upperclassmen who understand how important these final four games are.
This may be the game that Xavier puts it together on both the offensive and defensive end against a defeated Providence team. I’m backing the Musketeers, who I see winning handily.
Pick: Xavier -1 (up to -3).