Xavier Musketeers (11-7) vs Villanova Wildcats (13-4)Date : 01/18/2019
Time : 8:30 PM
Location : The Pavilion
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Xavier Musketeers vs Villanova Wildcats
The Villanova Wildcats are set to return home to The Pavilion after playing on the road in their latest outing and they will play host to the Xavier Musketeers in a Big East clash, the opening tipoff is slated for 8:30 PM. Villanova once again looks like the favorite to win the Big East as they are a perfect 4-0 while Xavier is playing under a 1st-year coach but have been fairly solid.
Xavier Musketeers's Latest Performance :
Xavier was supposed to experience a down year after losing Chris Mack to Louisville but they have played well through the 1st portion of conference play as they sit at 3-2 under 1st-year coach Travis Steele. Xavier was able to pull out a nailbiter at home in their recent win over the Butler Bulldogs 70-69. Leading the way for the Musketeers in this one was sophomore guard Paul Scruggs who flirted with a triple-double as he recorded 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Scruggs has developed nicely for the Musketeers as the former 29th ranked recruit in the nation is the team leader in PPG with 13.2 PPG. Scruggs classmate in forward Naji Marshall is having just as good as a season as Scruggs, Marshall is averaging just as many PPG with 13.2 but he is also the teams leading rebounder with 7.2 RPG. Marshall was able to contribute 14 points and 4 rebounds in the win over Butler but he wasn’t the only one in the frontcourt to produce for the Musketeers as Tyrique Jones had 9 points and 7 rebounds while Zach Hankins pitched in 9 points and 6 rebounds. The one area of concern for the Musketeers is the lack of bench production and we saw them struggle to find much of anything against the Bulldogs as they received 3 bench points all from Ryan Welage. Xavier is waiting on the return of junior guard Quentin Goodin who is averaging 12.6 PPG and 5.4 APG as this will be a much-needed boost to the scoring output.
Villanova Wildcats's Latest Performance :
The Villanova Wildcats may be the defending national champions but entering this season there were a ton of questions surrounding this team and while they have experienced some lows this season Jay Wright looks to have his team back on track. The Wildcats enter this game on a 5 game win streak with their recent Big East win coming on the road against Creighton 90-78. Senior Phil Booth has been the leader of this team for the last few seasons and he is having a stellar season as he is averaging 18.2 PPG. Booth isn’t the only senior that is playing a pivotal role this season as Eric Paschall is averaging 16.5 PPG and 6.4 RPG. The duo was able to put the team on their back in their recent win as Booth was able to record 28 points and 7 assists while Paschall delivered 21 points and 7 rebounds. Sophomore guard Collin Gillespie has taken over the reins as the head PG and he has played well for Jay Wright and company as he averages 10.9 PPG, and he was able to eclipse that mark against Creighton with 14 points and 5 assists. The bench is a lot thinner than we are used to for Villanova teams but they have one of the top recruits in the nation coming off the bench in Jahvon Quinerly and he was able to show the spark he brings with 7 points against the Blue Jays. Joining Quinerly off the bench is the Albany transfer in Joe Cremo but he has not matched his production from a year ago as his PPG dropped from 17.8 PPG to 5.4.
How Xavier Musketeers & Villanova Wildcats Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Xavier is 6-10-2 ATS, 1-3 ATS on the road.
Villanova is 10-7 ATS, 3-5 ATS at home.
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
Villanova ranks 140th in the nation in team scoring as they score an average of 75.4 PPG while Xavier ranks 185th as they score an average of 73.8 PPG.
Villanova ranks 64th in the nation in team defense as they hold opponents to an average of 66.7 PPG while Xavier ranks 165th as they hold opponents to an average of 70.8 PPG.
Against The Spread Selection: Villanova Wildcats
My reason for the pick :
Villanova has and will always be the favorite to win the Big East as they have continually recruited at a high level and also have one of the best coaches in college basketball. The super seniors of Paschall and Booth are single handily putting this team back into talks of contender status, and I think we see that on display once again against a below average defense in Xavier. The loss of Goodin is pivotal to the Musketeers and it has left them with a thin rotation as they have had to shift guys around. Villanova on the other hand has a strong rotation as they get to bring the former 29th ranked recruit in the nation off the bench as well as a grad transfer from Albany. Villanova has also been really good on defense this season and I think they will give fits to Xavier at home.
Betting trends for Xavier Musketeers:
- The under is 3-0 as a road underdog this season.
Betting trends for Villanova Wildcats:
- Villanova is 49-30 ATS after a win since 2016.