The Xavier Musketeers take on the Villanova Wildcats tonight in the Big East Tournament Championship Game. The contest is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1. Currently the College Basketball Betting Odds for the game have the Wildcats favored by a couple of buckets to get the job done.
Villanova is looking to run down a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and only Xavier sits in their way at this point. The Musketeers entered the Big East Tournament with a 9-9 record, sitting on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but they then beat ranked Butler and Georgetown teams to reach the finals of the conference tournament. If there was any doubt before about Xavier, there is certainly little now. This is a tournament team and they certainly can improve their seeding with a shocking win here over the Wildcats.
Villanova, though, has been the second most consistent team in the country outside of Kentucky. Jay Wright’s club hasn’t lost since getting blown out by Georgetown back on Jan. 19 and the team’s only other loss on the season was in overtime at Seton Hall on Jan. 3 when the Pirates were red hot. Outside of those two losses nobody has been able to tough the Wildcats, who come in having drilled Marquette to start the tournament before narrowly defeating Providence last night.
The Wildcats have not won a Big East Tournament title since the 1995 season and although most of the good Big East teams are now playing in the ACC, a tournament title would still be a big deal for this team. They can’t go into the NCAAs with the top overall seed as Kentucky obviously has that locked up, but finishing as the second seed would benefit them greatly.
The defense for Villanova will be the difference here tonight. The Wildcats swept Xavier this season and both games had some points scored in them. Villanova put up 88 and 78 points against the Musketeers, a team that allows just 67.6 points per game to their opponents.
Villanova is a team that allows just 61.2 points to opponents and tonight they get out in transition, force Xavier into turnovers and win the conference crown.
Free Pick: Villanova 75, Xavier 65
NCAA Basketball: Who Can Win it All?
Teddy Covers and Steve Fezzik from Pregame.com discuss who they feel will win it all in the NCAA Tournament, while throwing in some teams that have a chance to make a deep run in the tournament.
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