NCAA Basketball Picks: Grab Providence +9 vs. Xavier In Huge Big East Clash

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 1:14 PM GMT

Ben Bentil and #23 Providence head to the Cintas Center in Cincinnati on Wednesday night to lock horns with Trevon Bluiett and #8 Xavier. Who will be our NCAA basketball pick tonight?

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Final Score Prediction: Xavier 83  Providence 77
NCAA Basketball Pick: Providence +9
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

#23 Providence vs. #8 Xavier
Xavier Musketeers (22-3, 10-3 Big East) welcome #23 Providence (19-7, 7-6 Big East) to the Cintas Center in this Big East showdown and huge game for both sides in Cincinnati on Wednesday night. NCAA basketball odds makers have opened up this game with host Xavier as rather large 8-point favorites (Bookmaker) over Ben Bentil and Providence with the Total (Points) for this game set at 147 (at Bookmaker).

 

Providence Friars
The Providence Friars (13-12-0 ATS, 6-3 ATS Road) and 5th-year Head Coach Ed Cooley were rolling right along and then Reality decided to step in and the Friars went from having a pretty-looking 15-2 (SU) Record to their current 19-7 one in the blink of an eye. Life comes at you fast these days. In their last game, the Friars ended a 3-game Losing Streak by beating Georgetown, 75-72 at Home in Rhode Island—a state so small you can put it in your pocket—as F Rodney Bullock (23 points, 10 rebounds), G Kris Dunn (20 Points) and F Ben Bentil (16 points, 9 rebounds) all came up big and the hosts held off the Hoyas for a much-needed victory. And it was good thing the talented trio did as the rest of the Friars Starting 5 only scored 12 points and the Providence Bench only contributed 4 points in 40 combined minutes of Playing Time from four different substitutes. Providence (66/1 to win National Championship, Paddy Power) has L3 of last 4 SU including a 77-70 setback to lowly DePaul in Chicago as heavy 8-point favorites, may be a good barometer of this Friars team. Providence is #57 in the latest Ken Pomeroy Rankings (Tuesday) and with 6-9, 235-pound sophomore Bentil (20.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg), Bullock and Dunn (6.6 apg), can all get it done (no pun intended), and this Friars squad can definitely go into the Queen City and beat the Musketeers if everything clicks, but this recent swoon has to be somewhat worrisome for Head Coach Cooley. Providence (74.1 AF-69.3 AF) comes into this game reporting no significant Injuries.

 

Xavier Musketeers
Xavier (13-9-0 ATS, 6-3 ATS Home) and 5th-year Head Coach Chris Mack have really got it going on with just 3 Losses in 3 months (at then #16 Villanova, vs Georgetown, at Creighton), but expect the 8th-ranked Musketeers to really be tested by Providence here in this Big East Showdown on their Home-court. In their last game, the Musketeers (25/1 to win National Championship, Paddy Power) defeated a down Butler side, 74-57, on Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as G Remy Abell (12 points), star G Trevon Bluiett (10 points) and reserve G’s JP Macura (13 points, 3-5 3’s) and Edmond Summer (10 points) were all in double-digit scoring. Xavier (Ken Pomeroy Ranking #17) shot a blistering 56.9% (29-51) from the Field and 50% (9-18) from behind the arc and played a complete team game against the Bulldogs, thus really pleasing Head Coach Mack after a poor performance in a Loss to Creighton in Omaha the previous outing. On the Injury front, Xavier (79.5 AF-68.2 AF) Senior C Tim Stainbrook (Back) is listed as Questionable for this game.

 

Recent Relevant Series Trends and Best Betting Approaches
The last time these two teams played, Xavier won 75-68 at Providence in January (XAV -1½, 148½, Under) and the Musketeers have covered 2 straight against Providence after the Friars covered in the first 3 meetings. The Home team is 4-1 SU in this series with that last meeting being the only time the visitors have prevailed. Providence is 10-2 ATS in its L12 Road games and the Over is a powerful 39-19 ATS (67.2%) and there are several distinct Over Trends for this game including Xavier being 15-10 O/U and Providence being 14-11 O/U so far this season, while the Friars have seen 4 of their L5 games go Over the posted Total. Also, 5 of the L8 Xavier games have gone Over (although the L2 have gone Under) and the Friars should be able to get enough points from Bentil, Bullock and Dunn, but can the Providence Bench contribute enough to give them a shot for the upset as well as keep an Over-ish pace on Wednesday?

With Xavier concentrating on playing better Defense, the L2 Musketeers games going Under and the Total 2-3 (O/U) lifetime in meetings between these two relatively new conference-mates, laying off the Total here and focusing on the Side seems like the safest route. Xavier, which is an impressive 12-1 SU at Home (Providence 6-2 SU on Road) at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati (where they have Skyline Chili-flavored lipstick), will look to Bluiett (15.0 ppg), Farr (8.4 rpg) and Davis (3.6 apg) as well as Abell, Summer, Macura and others for scoring. And despite the remarkable talent on Providence, Xavier should be able to get more scoring and loose balls from more places and with the Home site and lust 3 Losses to date, but with the Point Spread initially coming out so darn high (Xavier -9½, Heritage), taking the Friars and the points is the NCAA basketball pick here as this should be tight throughout.