Xavier vs Villanova Odds & Prediction: Musketeers to Extend Win Streak
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Miller (Xavier)
Xavier vs Villanova Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Xavier is riding an eight-game win streak and has yet to drop a game to a Big East opponent.
Last time out, the Musketeers finally got a win over a top-ranked team, as they took down UConn, 83-73. Xavier had previously lost some close battles against some of the top teams in the country, including Indiana, Duke and Gonzaga.
There’s some serious history between Xavier and Villanova. Since joining the Big East in 2013, Xavier has never beaten Villanova at home. The Musketeers have also lost 10 of the last 11 vs. Villanova.
Will the return of Sean Miller result in the end of Xavier’s losing streak at Villanova?
The Musketeers are the sixth-highest scoring team in the country, averaging 83.8 points per game.
Xavier’s offense has been spearheaded by Souley Boum, who leads the team by averaging 16.9 points per game.
But this is far from a one man show — five different players average nine or more points for X. The Musketeers move the ball well and always seem to find an open man, proven by their first place ranking nationally in assists.
Adam Kunkel and Boum have been the biggest threats on the perimeter, with both averaging four-plus 3-point attempts per game while hitting better than 37%.
Meanwhile, the interior has been dominated by Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle.
Nunge is averaging 8.5 points per game in the paint. He also ranks in the 75th percentile when it comes to block percentage and is drawing 3.5 fouls per game on average.
Fremantle has put up 9.6 points in the paint per game and is almost as good at drawing fouls, getting 3.1 per contest.
Together, they have combined to average 15+ rebounds per game.
On the defensive side of the ball is where Xavier can be truly tested by Villanova. The Musketeers have struggled, specifically when it comes to the perimeter. They have allowed teams to hit 37.1% from 3-point range this season.
Villanova, meanwhile, is top 25 in 3-point attempts and 30th in made 3s per game. The Wildcats hit 33.7% from deep.
The Wildcats have been solid at both ends of the floor under first-year head coach Kyle Neptune.
One of their biggest assets against Xavier will be their ball security. Villanova rarely turns the ball over, giving it up on just 18% of possessions per contest.
And while the Cats may be 7-8 on the season, I don’t think they can be overlooked due to the fact that they have faced some injury struggles. They have also faced one of the top-30 toughest schedules in the nation.
With that said, though, there are some issues for the Wildcats that could lead to their first-ever loss at home to the Musketeers.
First and foremost, those injury problems may not be quite over yet. Jordan Longino injured his knee in the first half against Georgetown and didn’t return to the game.
He hasn’t been a starter as of late, but Longino has been a key piece off the bench for a Wildcats team that gets just 15 points per game from the reserves.
Others stepped in the second half against Georgetown, but this will be a much tougher test against Xavier.
Villanova has also relied more heavily on the 3-point shot — 38.3% of the Wildcats’ total points come from the perimeter.
Even more concerning is that while they’ve been almost automatic from the charity stripe, 20.7% of their points come from the line.
Xavier has struggled with fouls, but it has improved over its last five, posting just 15.8 per game.
If Villanova can’t hit from 3 for any reason, or can’t find its way to the line as often, it could be in serious trouble when it comes to scoring.
Xavier vs. Villanova Betting Pick
The problems that Villanova has given Xavier year in and year out for what has now been a decade is no small thing and it can’t be overlooked.
But Miller was not there for any of those losses.
Xavier has had good teams in a lot of those losses to Villanova — teams that could’ve and should’ve beaten Villanova.
There’s no Jay Wright in this game, either. This is a first-year head coach and a Villanova team that — even if it’s healthy — has struggled to defend even against bad teams.
Xavier should be able to win around the rim enough to overcome this Villanova team.
Back Miller to lift the curse, and Xavier to get its first-ever win at Villanova on Saturday.