The Xavier Musketeers hit the road to take on the fifth-ranked Villanova Wildcats tonight in Big East College Basketball action. The game is scheduled for a 9:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1. Currently the odds for the game have Villanova as a comfortable margin in this contest.
Villanova has looked like the best team in the Big East this season, ranking fifth nationally with a 15-1 record. The Wildcats come in averaging 77.1 points per game and just beat up on both St. John's and DePaul last week in conference action.
The only loss for Villanova on the season came at Seton Hall in overtime. The Wildcats shot just 31 percent from the floor and missed 15 of their 35 free throw attempts, in addition to shooting just 5-of-24 from downtown. Villanova obviously didn't shoot well and it cost them. Since then, though, the Wildcats have come back to their standards and they've moved up a spot in the rankings.
Xavier has dropped two of their last three games overall, both coming on the road in conference play. The Musketeers lost to DePaul and Butler in those games, which makes this game tough for them tonight. Xavier averages 79 points a game and has shot the ball nearly 50 percent for the season with Trevon Bluiett and Matt Stainbrook both averaging better than 12 points a game. Both will have to play well tonight for Xavier to have a chance against the Wildcats.
The best thing about Villanova is their ability to share the basketball and have comfort in allowing more than one player to score. The Wildcats have five players averaging double figures this season, led by Darrun Hilliard II and his 13.5 points. Dylan Ennis, JayVaughn Pinkston, Josh Hart and Daniel Ochefu all pour in 10 points per game on average.
Villanova has too many options for Xavier to slow down tonight. The Wildcats have been very steady all season and if they shoot the ball to their standards they win easy.
Free Pick: Villanova 75, Xavier 64
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