Xavier Musketeers vs. Providence Friars Pick-Odds-Prediction 2/8/14
Providence Friars (16-7) at Xavier Musketeers (15-7)
College Basketball: Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm (Cintas Center)
The Line: Xavier Musketeers -6.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: Fox Sports 1
The Providence Friars visit the Xavier Musketeers in a key big east matchup Saturday at 7PM on Fox Sports 1.
Providence currently sits alone in 3rd place in conference play with the Musketeers right on their heels. The Friars let an opportunity to move up the conference ranks and create some separation slip away this past week with a lopsided home loss to St. John’s 86-76. The Friars are led by guard Bryce Cotton -- Cotton averages 21.8 points per game and continues to make a strong push for conference player of the year. The Friars rank 98th in the country in rebounding (36.9) and 95th in assists with 14.0 per game. Forward LaDontae Henton continues to put forth a strong season as well averaging 13.8 points per game and 7.8 rebounds.
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Xavier’s hot start to conference play has cooled significantly in recent weeks. Most recently, the Musketeers made it two losses in a row with a crushing defeat at Villanova 81-58. Xavier had the perfect opportunity before them to bounce back and get a marquee win to keep pace in conference play but they were totally outclassed by the WIldcats. Semaj Christon leads the Musketeers with 17.1 points per game, but no other reliable scorers have emerged. Big man Matt Stainbrook is a load up front, but has battled inconsistency all season.
These two teams are fairly evenly matched but have been heading in different directions over the past few weeks. While Providence lost a tough game to St. John’s this past week, the Friars have routinely showed the ability to rebound and get back in the win column after conference losses. Because of that, I like Bryce Cotton and company to invade Cinnci and come out with the win and cover to move to 7-4 in conference play and widen the gap from the pack behind them.