Providence a Stellar 14-1 at Home
Providence received a favor from one of its rivals when UConn won a thriller against visiting Villanova, which has been running neck and neck with the Friars at the top of the Big East Conference standings.
It hasn’t looked pretty in recent games but Providence is 14-1 at home and will be facing a Xavier team that has split its eight true road games.
Providence (+7500) has the third-best odds among Big East teams to win the national championship according to the March Madness odds. Xavier (+10000) is sixth.
Xavier’s Nunge Making the Grade
The team student-athlete has never fit a player any better than it does in describing Xavier’s Jack Nunge.
The Musketeers’ leading scorer has certainly been contributing on the court as well as off it.
Nunge, who started his collegiate career at Iowa, is in graduate school pursuing his MBA and he is carrying a 3.94 grade-point average to earn a spot on the 2021-22 Academic All-District first team.
Nunge has averaged 17.8 points on 55 percent shooting over his last five games. He had three straight games with 22 points before finishing with 11 in a loss to UConn last time out. He has also been pulling down seven rebounds per game.
Xavier has lost four of its last five games and is in a three-way tie for sixth in the Big East standings.
One of the biggest questions for Xavier is the status of senior guard Nate Johnson, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury.
Xavier was nationally ranked earlier in the season and in a position to build an NCAA Tournament-worthy resume, but now it is looking like unless the Musketeers win the Big East tournament, they will not be part of the March Madness bracket.
Xavier is 3-9 against the college basketball spreads in its last 12 games.
Providence Living Dangerously
Providence hasn’t lacked for exciting finishes since returning from an unplanned 12-day break last month. The Friars have won five games by five points or less and the contests have been against some of the teams languishing near the bottom of the Big East standings.
There was a three-point win at Xavier followed by a two-point home win against a Marquette team ranked 22nd in the Associated Press poll at the time of the matchup. Both of those games were expected to be battles and they did not disappoint. When February hit, the schedule featured the much-anticipated showdown with Villanova along with some games that weren’t expected to test Providence too much.
The Friars won by four at St. John’s, needed overtime to win by three at home against DePaul and overtime was required again in a one-point win at Butler.
Although Providence has won nine of its last 10 games, the Friars have failed to cover in six of those contests, including the last three. Providence hasn’t covered in the last five home games so there is some work to be done beginning with the rematch against Xavier.
When the NCAA selection committee recently revealed the current top 16 seeds, Providence was slated as a No. 4 seed. The Friars will need to keep on winning for those March Madness predictions to become a reality.
The Las Vegas odds total has gone over in four of Providence’s last five home games against Xavier.
Xavier vs Providence Head-to-Head
Providence has won six of the eight meetings with Xavier, including the last two in which the Friars covering in each.
The 15-point margin in the most recent matchup is the largest in the short series history, while each of the last three games has gone over the total.
The magic number is 75 as Xavier is 2-0 against Providence when scoring at least 75 points.
This will be the fourth time in nine meetings that the line is 1½ points with, Providence winning two of the previous three.
Xavier at Providence Game Information
- Game: Xavier (17-9) at Providence (22-3)
- Location: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, RI
- Day/Time: Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET
- Television: CBS Sports Network
Xavier at Providence Betting Lines
Xavier vs Providence Prediction
Al Durham, Providence’s second-leading scorer, missed the last game with a sports hernia and his absence from the lineup was rather noticeable as the Friars needed to rally from 19 points down for the 71-70 win in overtime. He is questionable so it would be a good idea to monitor his status as the opening tip approaches.
FINAL – Providence 71, Butler 70
The Friars overcome a 19-point second half deficit at Hinkle Fieldhouse to pull out the win over the Dawgs. Providence stays in first place in the Big East, and goes to 12-2 in the league. Quite a rally by Ed Cooley’s group without Al Durham.
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) February 20, 2022
When Xavier and Providence met in Cincinnati last month, the teams combined to make twice as many foul shots as 3-pointers. It won’t be surprising to see something similar happen in the rematch.
Xavier and Providence rank third and fourth in the Big East in rebounding margin and the battle on the boards could go a long way in determining how this game plays out.
The total has gone over in four of Providence’s last five games and in four of Xavier’s last six contests. With a total of 139½, those who bet online should be comfortable taking the over.
Pick: Over 137
Pick: Providence Friars – 1½