#14 Villanova vs. #17 Xavier College Basketball Betting Expert Analysis

#14 Villanova vs. #17 Xavier | College Basketball Betting Expert Analysis

The first Top 25 matchup around college basketball on Wednesday is an important game from the Big East as No. 14 Villanova visits No. 17 Xavier with the Wildcats as short favorites on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Villanova at Xavier NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Wednesday, 6:30 PM ET
  • Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Stream: Fox Sports Go
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: Villanova -2 (total 140.5)

First Meeting

On Dec. 21, Villanova beat visiting Xavier 71-58. Justin Moore scored 12 of his 17 points after halftime and Caleb Daniels added 16 points for the Cats, while Collin Gillespie and Eric Dixon each had 15 points. Dwon Odom scored 13 points and Nate Johnson had 12 for Xavier, which led by eight at halftime. But the Wildcats turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and ran away from Xavier in the final six minutes. Xavier missed its first four shots and committed five turnovers to start the second half.

Villanova is 29-6 all-time vs. Xavier.

Why Bet on Villanova?

Villanova (11-4) won at DePaul 79-64 on Saturday, its fourth straight victory. A superb defensive effort and a season-high 28 points from Collin Gillespie helped Villanova pull away. The Wildcats trailed 37-32 at halftime before delivering a dominant second half defensive performance, limiting the Blue Demons to 6-of-24 shooting from the field. Villanova also forced six DePaul turnovers after intermission. Justin Moore shook off first half foul trouble to contribute 21 points.

Nova closed the contest on a 24-13 run to post its 21st straight victory against the Blue Demons. In his return from a two-game absence due to COVID-19 protocols, Caleb Daniels contributed 11 points and three boards. Senior Brandon Slater played through a left ankle injury on Saturday and Coach Jay Wright reports he has practiced and should be ready to go Wednesday night.

On Monday, Moore was named Big East Player of the Week as he averaged 21.5 points in two wins. He ranks seventh in the Big East in scoring with a 15.7 average. It was is the second straight week a Wildcat has earned the honor. Gillespie was tabbed Player of the Week on Jan. 3.

Defense has been a linchpin of the Wildcats’ success through the years and that remains true in 2021-22. In 11 victories, they have limited their opponents to 56.7 points per games. In the ‘Cats four losses, foes have averaged 75.5 points per contest. The Wildcats are 8-0 this season when holding opponents below 60 points.

This is VU’s seventh matchup against an AP Top 25 foe this season (3-3). Villanova is 5-2 at the Cintas Center since the Big East reconfigured in 2013.

“I think any time you are on the road it’s about playing with confidence and a great mentality,” said Wright of facing Xavier. “This is a really difficult environment to play in. They’ve got a great atmosphere at the Cintas Center and they shoot it really well there. If you look at their 3-point shooting numbers there, it’s significantly better.

Why Bet on Xavier?

Xavier (12-2) won 87-72 at Butler last Friday. Adam Kunkel scored 18 second half points on the way to a 25-point performance to lead the Musketeers. Three other Xavier players hit double figures, with Paul Scruggs scoring 16, Jerome Hunter adding 12 and Zach Freemantle finishing with 10 as the Musketeer built a first half lead to take an 11-point advantage into halftime. The Bulldogs would get within six in the second half before the Musketeers pushed the lead back out to as many as 16 before setting the final score at 87-72.

Xavier shot 55.1 (27-49) percent from the floor overall and 45.5 (10-22) from three. The Musketeers finished with a 28-24 advantage on the boards, led by seven each for Scruggs and Colby Jones. Xavier finished with a season-low six turnovers.

Xavier leads the Big East and is 18th in the nation in rebound margin (+8.5 rpg.). XU is first in the Big East in field goal percentage defense (.394). Nate Johnson, who leads the team in scoring at 12.7 ppg., is third in the Big East and 12th in the nation in 3-point percentage (.464).

Scruggs is in the top 25 on Xavier’s all-time scoring list with 1,397 points and the top 10 on Xavier’s all-time assist leaders chart with 436. Jones is third in the Big East in rebounding (8.1 rpg.). He is fourth in offensive rebounding at 2.8 rpg.

Freemantle, a preseason First Team All-Big East selection who led XU in scoring and rebounding last season, started the last four games and has played in eight. He missed the first six games while recovering from foot surgery.

Xavier has compiled a 290-48 (.858) record in its on-campus home, the 10,224-seat Cintas Center, including 9-0 so far this season. Villanova is the second ranked team to visit Cintas Center this season. Xavier defeated then No. 19 Ohio State 71-65 on Nov. 18.

Game Trends

  • Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
  • Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Wednesday games.
  • Musketeers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games.
  • Musketeers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
  • Musketeers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
  • Favorite is 14-4 ATS in the last 18 meetings.

Expert Prediction

  • Villanova 69, Xavier 67

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