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Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Xavier Musketeers Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/14/13

Xavier Musketeers (7-3) at Cincinnati Bearcats (7-1)

College Basketball: Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm (U.S. Bank Arena)

The Line: Cincinnati Bearcats -4.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: Fox Sports 1

The 7-1 Cincinnati Bearcats and the 7-3 Xavier Musketeers ride strong early season starts into Saturday’s rivalry game at 8PM on Fox Sports 1.

Cincinnati enters this one sitting at 7-1 with their lone loss coming in their previous contest -- a 9 point defeat at the hands of a solid New Mexico team.  The Bearcats got to 7-0 before a tough road loss from the Pit.  The Bearcats were doomed by terrible shooting in this one as Cinnci shot just 29.5% from the field and 25% from deep.  The Bearcats kept things close via 93% shooting at the line but never really challenged in a hostile environment.  Sean Kilpatrick led the way with 19 points, but needed 5-18 shooting to get there.  The Bearcats lost the rebounding battle and committed 23 turnovers -- a recipe for disaster on the road.  Lobo big man Cameron Bairstow dominated the Bearcats down low, racking up 24 points and 13 rebounds against the Bearcats athletic, but thin frontcourt.  

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Xavier Musketeers Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/14/13

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier sits at 7-3 and has had an up and down season thus far.  After winning their first 5 contests, the Musketeers lost three in a row before bouncing back to win their last two games narrowly over lesser competition.  In their most recent win, the Musketeers rode the hot shooting of Semaj Christon to overcome a 13 point deficit and get the win over Evansville 63-60.  Xavier struggled all game long in this one and needed a late 23-8 run to steal the game.  Christon was able to score most of his points at the line where he was 13-17 and was able to offset an otherwise horrible shooting night (3-14).  Xavier was able to rally behind some very strong half court D in the second half.  The Musketeers forced 12 steals and imposed their will in the paint late with a key Justin Martin block that sealed the win and win #7 for Xavier.

Some trends to consider -- Cincinnati is 3-9 against the spread in their last 12 non-conference games and Xavier is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.

This rivalry is known nationally for close games and hard nosed, quality basketball.  I expect no different this Saturday.  With their poor showing at New Mexico behind them, I like the Bearcats roster and veteran guard play to be the difference here.  Sean Kilpatrick should get to 20+ points for Cinnci in this one as the Bearcats hang on for the neutral site win and cover over their inner city rival.

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Cincinnati -4.5

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