College Basketball Odds & Picks for Xavier vs. Cincinnati: Balanced Musketeers Will Be Too Much For Bearcats
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Paul Scruggs.
- The Xavier Musketeers battle the Cincinnati Bearcats in a crosstown rivalry matchup on Sunday afternoon.
- While the Bearcats have a solid team, Ace DeCardano doesn't think they can hang with the Musketeers.
- Check out DeCardano's full betting breakdown with updated odds below.
Xavier vs. Cincinnati Odds
|Xavier Odds||+1 [BET NOW]|
|Cincinnati Odds||-1 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-106/-115 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||136 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Sunday, 3 p.m. ET|
This is my kind of basketball game. The timid and those not willing to fight for their teammates (hopefully not literally) need not apply. Despite what your teacher may have told you, there is nothing wrong with some good, old-fashioned disdain. On the contrary, it often makes the strong rise to the occasion.
However, while only the strong survive in the Crosstown Shootout, only the skilled excel. As per usual, both coaches bring quality basketball teams into this year’s contest. But the Xavier Musketeers might just have a little too much skill for the Bearcats on Sunday.
There has been a lot to like about Travis Steele’s team during its 5-0 start to the season. Thus far, according to the KenPom rankings, the Musketeers are 61st in terms of offensive efficiency and 65th in defensive efficiency (out of 357 Division I teams).
The defensive efficiency is buoyed by the Musketeers’ ability to defend the paint without fouling. They rank an extremely impressive fifth in terms of 2-point percentage against and have not been sending opposing players to the line. Cincinnati’s weakness is its inability to consistently knock down 3-pointers. As such, you have to wonder where the Bearcats will find their points against this Musketeer team.
Scoring, however, has not been a major problem for Xavier. You’d like them to get the line more often, but there is nothing wrong with a team that ranks 34th in 2-point percentage and 107th in 3-point percentage.
Unlike Chris Mack’s teams that often preferred to make the whole game a grind, Steele’s three-guard lineup will take the easy buckets when they’re available. Xavier still wants to make the opposition work, but it’s not against taking the easy points when presented with the chance.
What I like most about Xavier’s offense is the way it shares the basketball. Show me a team with solid efficiency numbers that assists on 66% of its field goals, and I’ll show you a sustainable success rate.
Cincinnati head coach John Brannen puts a major emphasis on dictating the terms of a basketball game. This is going to be vitally important on Sunday. Simply put, if they allow the Musketeers the quick, easy points they have been getting all season, the Bearcats are not going to hang around.
Obviously, the plan is for this not to happen. We also understand Cincinnati has been a squad built on defense since the Bob Huggins days. However, with only one game under its belt — a game in which Lipscomb led by nine points and was 17-of-31 from the field with 11:00 remaining — this may be easier said than done.
On that day, Cincinnati’s ability to force turnovers (19) proved to be the difference. It heads into this contest facing a team that has been fairly good at taking care of the basketball; KenPom ranks Xavier 75th out of 357 teams in terms of turnover rate.
Even if the defense plays as Cincinnati would expect, it’s yet to be seen whether or not it has enough offensive firepower to stay with this Xavier team.
The Bearcats ranked 242nd in terms of 3-point percentage a season ago, and those shooting woes continued in their lone game this season. Last season, they made up for their turnover and shooting woes by marching to the free-throw line. However, they’re now facing a Xavier team that has done a great job defending without fouling (29th in the nation in terms of opponent free throw-to-field goal attempt ratio).
Facing its rival in only the second game of the season, it’s tough to see Cincinnati doing enough to make up for the matchup disadvantages.
Betting Analysis & Pick
In the case of Xavier-Cincinnati, the above numbers paint the picture of how the game will be won.
As long as Xavier can keep Chris Vogt and Company off the offensive glass and the Bearcats don’t have an anomalous shooting day from outside the arc, I don’t see how Cincinnati keeps this game within three points.
Pick: Xavier +1.5 (up to -3).