Villanova -1.5 at Xavier O/U 145
The most important Big East game of the season tips tonight in Cincinnati as Villanova will be defending its No. 1 ranking on the road vs No. 5 ranked Xavier with first place on the line for both teams. Xavier has played well of late winning eight of nine games and the Musketeers will be looking to avenge their first loss of the season to the Wildcats, a 31-point blowout. Villanova has been Xavier’s kryptonite. In the past three years spanning six games, the Musketeers are 0-6, losing by an average of 17 ppg a game. The Wildcats destroyed the Musketeers in December as Ryan Arcidiacono went for 27 points including 50% from behind the line.
The Wildcats are No. 1 thanks to 16 wins in the past 17 games after an 8-2 start to the year. Josh Hart has been a huge part of that success, averaging a team-high 15.0 points to go along with 7.6 rebounds per game. Daniel Ochefu has been rock-solid since coming back from injury, averaging 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks in the past four games.
Xavier has played well at home, not losing since a 9-point defeat in the middle of January to Georgetown. However, Nova is the superior squad hence why it hasn't had a game decided by single digits this month. Also note they have not lost a road game in 2016 and that includes three top 50 teams and six top 100 teams. Even with a bounceback effort off the dismal showing in the first meeting it won't be enough as Villanova gets the job done.