Providence Friars vs. Xavier Musketeers February 1 Betting Preview

Providence Friars vs. Xavier Musketeers February 1 Betting Preview

Ayden Fahlstrom
1 year ago
2 min read
Xavier Musketeers head coach Sean Miller and Xavier Musketeers guard Colby Jones look on during game

The only matchup between ranked teams in college basketball on Wednesday night takes place at Cintas Center. There, the Xavier Musketeers will host the Providence Friars in a Top 20 matchup in the Big East. 

Xavier enters the game as a slight favorite, in a contest that will decide which team is at the top of the conference standings coming out of Wednesday night’s action in college hoops.

Providence Friars

The Providence Friars come into Wednesday night at 17-5 overall and 9-3 in Big East play. They have won three games in a row, defeating DePaul, Butler, and Villanova to get themselves into a tie for the top spot in the Big East along with Xavier and Marquette. However, Providence is in for a much tougher test in this contest against a Xavier team that is equal to them in virtually every way.

For Providence, Bryce Hopkins is the engine that makes their team go. Hopkins is averaging 16.4 points per game on the season, and has been cleaning the glass with 9.1 boards per game as well. Against a Xavier team with the scoring depth to overcome most challenges, Hopkins is going to have to have a standout individual performance to give his team a chance to win this one on the road.

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Xavier Musketeers

The Xavier Musketeers have the same record as Providence, both overall and in conference play this season. However, they are entering this contest off of a loss, having been beaten by 17 points at Creighton in their last outing. 

They will need to bounce back from that defeat in a hurry to avoid falling out of the group at the top of the Big East standings heading into the final full month of the regular season in college basketball.

Xavier is the more gifted offensive team between these two squads, whereas Providence tends to lean on its defense a little more to win games. Per Kenpom, the pace of these teams is a real point of differentiation, as Xavier’s adjusted tempo ranks 18th quickest in the country, while Providence is ranked in the 160s in Division I. Look for Xavier to try and speed up the Friars in this game to keep the game played in the style they prefer.

Keys To The Game

For Providence, the top key to this game is going to be controlling the glass. The Friars average 1.9 rebounds per game more than Xavier on the season, but any sort of lapses on the defensive glass could give the Musketeers the second chances they need to bury Providence on this night.

The number one key for Xavier is going to be keeping the crowd involved early and often in this contest. If they get out to a slow start and allow Providence to get into a rhythm in front of a muted home crowd, Xavier could very well lose this game at home. But if they can hit shots early and keep the energy in the building, Xavier could create a pressure cooker of an atmosphere for their opponents.

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