The #16 Xavier Musketeers (17-5, 9-2 Big East) welcome the #17 Providence Friars (17-5, 9-2 Big East) in midweek top 25 conference showdown. The winner of the contest will stay atop the Big East standings while the loser will take a step back in the conference race.
Wednesday’s battle tips off at 6:30 p.m. EST inside the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Xavier is a 3.5-point favorite, and the over/under total is pegged at 153.5 points.
What to Know – #17 Providence Friars
The Friars roll into February with three-straight conference wins, including a five-point road win over the Villanova Wildcats on Sunday. Villanova is locked in a three-way tie atop the Big East standings along with Xavier and the Marquette Golden Eagles.
Offensively, Providence pours in 78.4 points per game, hitting 47.2% of its shots from the field and 33.9% from the 3-point line. The Friars surrender 68.2 ppg, limiting opponents to 42.7% from the floor and 32.2% from beyond the arc.
The leading scorer for the visitors is forward Bryce Hopkins. The sophomore is tallying 16.4 ppg and also leads the team in rebounding grabbing 9.1 rebounds per game. Jared Bynum came off the bench in Sunday’s victory to lead the team in scoring with 19 points thanks to a 7-of-8 shooting effort.
Providence owns a 14-8 record against the spread and a 6-2 showing ATS on the road. Recent trends have the Friars 5-0 ATS in the previous five matchups against the Musketeers.
What to Know – #16 Xavier Musketeers
Xavier hopes to rebound at home after suffering a blowout loss at the hands of the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday. The 17-point, 84-67 loss, was the worst defeat of the season for the Musketeers.
The Musketeers lead the conference in scoring, averaging 83.2 points per game thanks to 50.2% shooting from the floor and 39.8% shooting from three. Xavier’s defense allows opposing teams to score 75.9 ppg, shoot 44.9% from the field and 36.3% from deep.
Five players on the Xavier roster are averaging in double-figures as the season turns to the final full month of the regular season. Guard Souley Boum leads the pack, scoring 16.1 ppg behind a 44.2% shooting mark from three. Zach Freemantle has paced the team in three of the last four games, averaging 18.9 ppg over the last two weeks of action.
The Musketeers are 12-9-1 ATS this year with a 6-5-1 record ATS on the home floor. Xavier is 6-3 ATS over its last nine contests.
The Pick is In
The Big East is a tough basketball conference, and any game away from home is a challenge. Providence has had a lot of luck ATS in recent outings against Xavier and expect that trend to continue Wednesday night in Cincinnati. The Friars go wire-to-wire with the Musketeers and beat the books again.
The Pick: #17 Providence Friars +3.5