NCAAB Pick: Under 154 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)
- Under 154 (-110)
- Providence -3 (-115)
It seems like there has been an important Big East game every Wednesday for at least a month and that continues this Wednesday – the first day of March Madness – as No. 19 Xavier visits No. 20 Providence in a matchup of second-place teams.
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Xavier Musketeers vs. Providence Friars
Wednesday, March 1, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at Amica Mutual Pavilion
The one great thing about Big East basketball is it usually has tip-offs at 6:30 p.m. ET ahead of the overloaded 7 p.m. ET window. That’s the case on Wednesday as No. 19 Xavier visits No. 20 Providence with both tied for second in the league.
Xavier looks for the regular-season sweep as it was a 4-point favorite at the top-rated online sportsbooks on Feb. 1 in Cincinnati and won 85-83 in overtime.
Up by a point in the final seconds of OT, Souley Boum hit one of two free throws for a two-point lead, and Jared Bynum’s three-point attempt from the left corner rimmed out at the buzzer. Boum and Colby Jones each had 20 points and Jack Nunge had 23 points and 14 rebounds in the win. Noah Locke had 22 points and Ed Croswell added 21 for Providence, which had beaten Xavier three straight times. There were a whopping 18 lead changes.
Xavier leads the all-time series 12-11. The underdog is 4-1 ATS according to NCAAB odds in the past five.
Xavier Still Without Freemantle
The Musketeers have played without star big man Zach Freemantle (15.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg) since Jan. 28 – thus he missed the first meeting with Providence due to foot surgery, and he’s not expected back before the Big East Tournament.
Xavier (21-8, 13-5 Big East) is a potential Final Four team with him but has gone 4-3 without him following a shockingly easy 82-60 win at Seton Hall on Friday. XU got a break when the Pirates ruled out third-leading scorer Kadary Richmond due to injury, but it likely wouldn’t have mattered as Xavier led by as many as 29.
Souley Boum led Xavier with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting, his 12th game of the season with 20 or more points and Colby Jones had 19. The Musketeers were 10-for-23 from deep and 14-for-16 from the foul line and dominated on the boards 42-27.
Boum Leads the Way
Boum, XU’s leading scorer at 16.5 ppg (fourth in the Big East), is sixth among active career scorers in NCAA Division I with 2,330 points. He is also second on the team and sixth in the conference in assists at 4.6 apg. and leads XU and is fourth in the Big East in the assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.30-to-1.0.
He is an amazing 23-for-24 from the free-throw line in the final minute of action of the last 14 games. Jerome Hunter is averaging 10.9 ppg, 6.9 RPG, and 2.0 apg in the past seven while starting for Freemantle.
Xavier is first in the nation in assists per game at 20.2, fourth in field goal percentage (.497), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.396), and 12th in scoring offense at 81.9 ppg. XU’s five Big East losses include three one-point losses and a two-point setback. Only one loss this season overall has been by more than seven points. Defensively, Sean Miller’s club has held the last six opponents to 66.8 ppg, compared with 76.2 ppg for the first 23 games.
ESPN has Xavier as a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region and opening against No. 13 Utah Valley.
- The Musketeers are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games following a straight-up win of more than 20 points.
- The Musketeers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
- The Under is 4-1 in the Musketeers’ last 5 overall.
PC is One Of Few Home Unbeatens Nationally
Providence (21-8, 13-5 Big East) has clinched a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament – the top five seeds do. With two wins in their final two games, the Friars will not finish lower than second place. With one win, they will not finish lower than third. With two losses, the Friars could finish fourth or fifth in the league standings.
PC comes off an 88-68 win at Georgetown on Sunday in its final true road game of the season. The Friars had a Big East season-high 23 assists on 35 field goals. They forced 14 Hoya turnovers and turned those into a 23-12 edge in points off turnovers.
Ed Croswell led Providence with a double-double, recording a career-high 25 points, a game-high 13 rebounds, and a career-high six assists. Jared Bynum added 18 points with a season-high six three-pointers.
The team’s best player is Kentucky transfer forward Bryce Hopkins, who leads the Friars in scoring (16.4) and rebounding (8.8), but he was rather quiet with six points and four rebounds. Xavier did a stellar job against Hopkins in the first meeting, holding him to 3-of-14 from the field for 10 points. Hopkins is one of eight newcomers on this year’s PC roster.
This year’s Providence team is more well-rounded than last year’s club that won the Big East regular-season title and lost to national champion Kansas 66-61 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Friars get to the foul line often and are one of the best offensive-rebounding teams in the country (12.1 per game). They are also 15-0 at home this season – including wins over ranked Marquette (Big East leader), UConn, and Creighton — and 36-1 in their last 37 games at the AMP. PC has 13 Big East wins for the second consecutive season and the second time in team history.
ESPN currently has Providence as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region and opening vs. No. 10 Memphis.
- The Friars are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games.
- The Friars are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
- The Friars are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 games following an ATS win.
- The under is 21-8 in the Friars’ last 29 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
NCAAB Pick: Providence -3 (-115) at BookMaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)
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