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.
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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.