The No. 17 Providence Friars and the No. 16 Xavier Musketeers – two teams with contrasting styles – will meet Wednesday to decide early supremacy in the Big East.
The Friars, who are 13-0 when holding their opponent to fewer than 73 points, want a slower-paced, defensive battle, while the Musketeers, who are in the top seven in the nation in scoring and in 3-point shooting, want to score as many points as possible.
Providence, one of the top rebounding teams in the nation thanks to the play of Bryce Hopkins and Ed Croswell, may have the edge in this one as host Xavier will be without its top rebounder Zach Freemantle for a month due to a foot injury.
“I would say my biggest concern with Zach is defensive rebounding,” Xavier head coach Sean Miller told the media. “He has virtually double the defensive rebounds as anybody on our team in Big East play. Without him, it’s not like next-man up and we’re good.”
Senior forward Jack Nunge, who has five double-digit rebound games in Big East play, will have to step up for the Musketeers, who are 3-4 when they are outrebounded.
The Friars recently got senior guard Jared Bynum back from injury, and after playing sparingly for two games, he posted 19 points in Sunday’s win over Villanova.
Let’s check the latest college basketball news, stats, injury reports and college basketball lines for Providence vs Xavier. We’ve got plenty of NCAA basketball picks for you to consider.
Hopkins Among Top Transfers
The Kentucky Wildcats let a good one get away when Bryce Hopkins, a 6-7 forward who has recorded eight double-doubles this season, elected to transfer to Providence.
The sophomore was recruited by Xavier out of Oak Park, IL., where he was the No. 2 rated player in the state and No. 44 nationally. He has helped the Friars make up for the roughly 75% of lost scoring from last season’s team, the one that reached the Sweet 16.
Hopkins, who was named to the Athletic’s midseason all-transfer team along with Xavier’s Souley Boum, really took off when Big East play started, averaging 17.8 points and 9.81 rebounds while shooting 49% from the field in 11 conference games.
Hopkins had 29 points and 23 rebounds in a double overtime win over Marquette on Dec. 20, the first 20-20 game for Providence since 2010 and just the third in 50 years.
Boum, Jones Drive Xavier Offense
With Souley Boum and Colby Jones combining for close to 10 assists per game, the Musketeers lead the nation with 20.1 per game, which is the top mark in school history.
With Freemantle having to miss time, the duo may have to shoot more and pass less for the time being, which shouldn’t be a problem as both are strong shooters.
Jones hits at 54% from inside the arc and 49.8% overall, which is 15th in the Big East, while Soum is deadly from both the 3-point line (44.2%) and the foul line (88.3%).
The Musketeers are a bit too dependent on the 3-pointer, which can lead to losses like the recent ones to DePaul and Creighton when the shots aren’t falling.
Providence vs Xavier Game Injuries
Providence vs Xavier Head-to-Head
The Friars have taken three straight games from the Musketeers, including their second-ever win at Cintas Center, to forge an 11-11 tie in the series.
Bynum had 27 points, six rebounds and four assists in 43 minutes off the bench as Providence won a 99-92 triple-overtime game against Xavier last February at home.
Providence vs Xavier Game Information
- Game: Providence (17-5, 9-2 Big East) vs Xavier (17-5, 9-2)
- Location: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, OH
- Day/Time: Wednesday, Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m. ET
- Providence vs Xavier Live Stream: TBS.com
Providence vs Xavier Betting Lines
Providence vs Xavier Picks and Prediction
The Musketeers, who are 11-1 at home and 14-1 as the favorite, are giving 3½ points to the Friars on the NCAAB lines. Providence has covered the spread in 12 of their last 14 games overall and in each of the last five meetings against Xavier.
Xavier is listed at -175 in our Las Vegas college basketball lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Musketeers, you have a chance to win $57. Providence is +150, offering a chance to win $150 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Xavier a 63.64% chance to win, with the Friars 40.00%.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.