Big East heavyweights are set to collide on Monday night to kickoff the conference portion of the season. The Xavier Musketeers will travel to Villanova to take on the Wildcats in what should be a great conference opener.
Both teams have an NCAA Tournament resume up to this point, but a win in this game would go a long way.
Villanova is playing their best basketball of the season, and come into this game with a record of 9-2. The Wildcats should have plenty of momentum after stunning top-ranked Kansas in their previous game.
Xavier is 11-2 on the young season, and they are still looking for their first win over a ranked opponent in 2019-20. The Musketeers should factor into the Big East title conversation this season, but this is a tough start.
Villanova Solid on Both Ends
The Villanova Wildcats are looking to bounce back this season after struggling a bit a season ago. Villanova has been solid on both ends of the floor, but their defense really stood out in the win over Kansas.
The Wildcats were able to hold the Jayhawks to just 52 points in that game, and another effort like that would earn them a win in this game. Villanova is led on offense by forward Saddiq Bey who is averaging 15.5 points per game.
Guard Collin Gillespie is averaging close to five assists per game, and he really sets things up for his teammates. The Wildcats are a terrific shooting team, and they could light it up at home in this game.
Xavier Needs to Shoot it Better
If Xavier is going to pull off this Big East upset on the road then they are going to have to shoot the ball better. The Musketeers have made just 84 three-point shots this season, and they no one has made more than 20 of them.
Xavier is averaging less than 74 points per game, and their offense will need to show up in this game. Forward Naji Marshall is averaging 16.2 points per game this season, and he will need to have a big game in this one.
The Musketeers are allowing just 63.7 points per game, but that number has been higher against the better opponents on their schedule.
Xavier Musketeers at Villanova Wildcats Betting Lines
BetOnline has the Villanova Wildcats at -5.0 point favorites over the Xavier Musketeers in this game. BetOnline has also set the betting total at 139.0 points.
Free Betting Pick
Both Xavier and Villanova should play a factor in March, but both teams have been wildly inconsistent to start the season. Neither team has a high-powered offense, but the Wildcats do a much better job of sharing the ball, and making shots.
Xavier has some interesting losses on their resume already this season, and it’s hard to see them winning this game on the road. Look for Villanova to make enough plays late in the game to sneak out a win.