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Xavier vs. Villanova - 2/17/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Villanova Wildcats (23-3) at Xavier Musketeers (24-3)

College Basketball: Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm (Cintas Center)

The Line: Xavier Musketeers +1 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: FOX

The 3rd ranked Villanova Wildcats will travel to the Cintas Center to take on the 4th ranked Xavier Musketeers this Saturday afternoon in College Basketball action.

The 3rd ranked Villanova Wildcats dropped to 23-3 (10-3 Big East) on the season after being upset by the Providence Friars, 76-71, this past Wednesday. Villanova struggled from beyond the arc and trailed throughout the 2nd half after Providence went into halftime with a 27-23 lead. Villanova shot just 15.0% (3-20) from beyond the arc and committed 19 turnovers in the loss. Leading the way for the Wildcats was Jalen Brunson who had 14 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal. On the season, Villanova is averaging 87.2 ppg on 50.6% shooting from the field. The Wildcats are averaging 11.2 three-pointers per game on 40.1% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Villanova has been led by Jalen Brunson (19.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg), Mikal Bridges (16.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.2 bpg), Donte DiVincenzo (14.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.3 spg), and Omari Spellman (10.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg). Defensively, Villanova is allowing their opponents to average 70.6 ppg on 43.4% shooting from the field. The Wildcats have a rebound margin of 2.6 and a turnover margin of 3.0. Villanova will be without Phil Booth who will miss the remainder of the season due to a hand injury.

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Xavier vs. Villanova - 2/17/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The 4th ranked Xavier Wildcats won their 9th straight game and improved to 24-3 (12-2 Big East) on the season after defeating the Seton Hall Pirates, 102-90, this past Wednesday. Xavier was outstanding from the offensive end throughout the night against the Pirates and was able to hold off a late charge by Seton Hall after taking a 94-84 lead with just 1:41 left in regulation. Xavier shot 53.6% from the field and 48.3% (14-29) from beyond the arc in the win. Leading the way for the Musketeers was Trevon Bluiett who had 37 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, and 2 steals. On the season, Xavier is averaging 85.3 ppg on 49.9% shooting from the field. The Musketeers are averaging 8.0 three-pointers per game on 37.6% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Xavier has been led by Trevon Bluiett (19.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.7 apg), J.P. Macura (12.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.4 spg), Kerem Kanter (10.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg), and Quentin Goodin (8.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.0 apg). Defensively, Xavier is allowing their opponents to average 74.6 ppg on 42.4% shooting from the field. The Musketeers have a rebound margin of 6.9 and a turnover margin of -1.0.

The Wildcats are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up loss and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games. The Musketeers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. Big East opponents and 26-9 ATS in their last 35 games overall.

Villanova has struggled lately, losing 2 of their last 3 games, however, the Wildcats are still one of the best teams in the country and come into this matchup ranked 3rd in scoring offense, 8th in FG%, and 3rd in three-pointers made per game. Xavier continues to pile up wins and similar to Villanova, have one of the more explosive offenses in the country as the Musketeers currently rank 9th in scoring offense, 15th in FG%, and 66 in 3P-FG%. Xavier has yet to lose at home this season, posting a perfect 16-0 record, however, Villanova has won 9 of their last 10 matchups against the Musketeers and as I just don’t think the Xavier defense will be able to contain the Wildcats offense, I’m taking Villanova to cover this small road spread. 

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