NCAA Basketball Picks: Take Xavier & 'Over' When Musketeers Visit Creighton

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 2:18 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 2:18 PM GMT

No. 5 Xavier visits Creighton Tuesday in Big East play with the Musketeers looking to stay on first-place Villanova's heels. Don't miss our NCAA basketball picks for this game tonight.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Xavier -1; Over 158
Best Line Offered: at Bet365

 

Best Xavier Team Ever? Maybe
There's obviously no question that Xavier (21-2, 9-2 Big East) will be an at-large NCAA Tournament team at worst as it is a game behind new No. 1 team Villanova in the Big East standings. The Wildcats handed the Musketeers one of their losses, a 95-64 rout in Philadelphia on New Year's Eve. Unranked Georgetown is the other team to beat Xavier. Most projections have Xavier as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament currently. XU has two regular-season games left vs. teams ranked right now: Feb. 17 vs. No. 20 Providence and Feb. 24 vs. No. 1 Villanova. The best seed Xavier has ever had in the Big Dance is a No. 3. The school has never gotten past a regional final. Xavier is actually ranked No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, its highest mark ever in that one. The Musketeers have been in the Top 10 of the AP Poll for nine straight weeks.

Xavier has won five straight since that loss to the Hoyas. The Musketeers beat visiting Marquette 90-82 on Saturday. Trevon Bluiett, Edmond Sumner and J.P. Macura all scored at least 20, with Bluiett leading the way with 23. He's eighth in the Big East in scoring at 15.7 ppg. It was the first time since November 2010 that XU had three 20-point scorers in a game. Xavier, which trailed by four at halftime, shot 65 percent (13-for-20) from 3-point range. But it was handily outrebounded (XU is first in the Big East in rebounding margin so that was unusual), missed nine of 24 free throws and allowed those 82 points. Xavier's allowing just 68.6 points per game on the season. So there's work to be done.

The Musketeers are 14-9 against the spread on NCAA basketball odds this season and 5-2 ATS on the road.

 

Bluejays Lacking Signature Win So Far
Creighton (15-9, 6-5 Big East) is not an NCAA Tournament team yet. The Bluejays missed out last season as well. They ended a three-game losing streak with an 88-66 home win over DePaul on Saturday. Creighton's Cole Huff, a Nevada transfer, scored a season-high 28 points on 9-for-11 shooting in just 22 minutes of action. It was the most points by a Creighton bench player in eight years. Creighton's bench is contributing 29 points per game, the most for the school in eight seasons.

Geoffrey Grosselle added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Creighton shot 51.7 percent from the field (30-for-58) and dominated the boards to the tune of a 43-25 advantage. The Bluejays had their 100th straight game attempting at least 15 3-pointers, the nation's second-longest active streak (Coppin State at 155).

The Bluejays already have exceeded last year's win total. They have scored at least 79 points in 14 of their wins and won 14 of those 15 games by double figures. But they are 0-4 in games decided by five points or fewer. Creighton averages 81.0 ppg on the season, first in the Big East and 29th nationally. It is 1-5 vs. ranked teams this season. The school is 14-37 at home all-time vs. ranked teams. It is 3-28 all-time against Top 5 teams regardless of location. Creighton ended an 11-game losing streak against ranked teams with a win over No. 18 Butler on Jan. 23. Butler is no longer ranked.

Creighton is 14-9 ATS on NCAA basketball picks this season and 8-5 ATS at home.

 

Series
Xavier leads all-time 11-9 but the schools have split six games in Omaha. All six were decided by seven points or fewer. Last year there, the Musketeers won 74-73 on two free throws with four seconds left. Creighton won in Xavier 79-72 in overtime. Creighton has averaged 78.4 points in five meetings with the Musketeers as Big East foes, going 3-2 in those games. All five meetings have been decided by eight points or fewer.

 

NCAAB Free Pick
Xavier and 'over' will be our plays for Tuesday night. XU has covered seven of its past nine on the road. The Musketeers are an excellent 18-7-1 ATS in their past 26 vs. teams with a winning record. The 'over' is 8-0 in the past eight meetings. 

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