Providence Friars at Xavier Musketeers
The battle for the top of the Big East is taking place Wednesday night when the Providnece Friars head to Ohip to take on the Xavier Musketeers.
Providence has won three straight taking down Depaul, Butler and most recently a fully healthy Villanova squad. Kentucky transfer Bryce Hopkins has led the way averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds per game. The Friars rely on controlling the glass to generate a lot of their offense, they rank 7th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage and top 15 in the nation in rebounds per game. Their guards crash the glass as well as any big men in the country, Devin Carter especially is a problem for opposing defenses with his ability and athleticism on the offensive glass. Look for Jared Bynum to punish the poor 3pt defense of the Muskteers, they rank 297th in the country in 3pt defense.
Xavier suffered its first loss in over a month being dominated on the road against Creighton. The game was not the biggest loss for the Musketeers, Senior forward Zach Freemantle will miss four weeks with a foot injury. The loss of Freemantle will be a big problem for the Muskateers who will have to deal with a very good rebounding Friars team. Xavier will look to push the pace with Colby Jones and Souley Boum. They will push the pace and look to jump on the Friars early to take advantage of one of the best home courts in all of college basketball.
This game is going to be a shootout between two very efficient offenses. Xavier will have the home court advantage which should help them in dictating the pace. I think the loss of Freemantle is a big deal, losing your leading rebounder against a team like Providence that crashes the glass as well as anyone in the country is going to make it hard for the Muskateers to execute their game plan. Providence has a huge advantage in this one without Freemantle, I think that allows them to take this game. I’m taking Friars to cover and this goes over the total because of both teams’ great offensive skill sets.
Pick: Over 152, Xavier +3.5