Xavier vs. Wake Forest: NBA Pick

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 3:42 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 3:42 PM GMT

The Musketeers, losing three in a row, are in desperate need of a victory right now. Find out why we like them to cover tonight against a young Wake Forest team on the road.

Xavier vs. Wake Forest

Odds Overview

Not a lot between the two teams here, at least in terms of the college basketball odds. Xavier are currently 2.5-point favorites over the Demon Deacons.

A total had yet to be released at time of writing, but we shouldn't expect too high of a number. Neither squad has been too efficient on the offensive end.

Xavier Musketeers

December was not the best of months for the Musketeers. They went 2-4 SU (1-5 ATS) in six games, losing to Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Wofford and Tennessee.

Xavier hung around with the Volunteers in that latest defeat, which took place this past Saturday. Up 25-21 at halftime, the Musketeers couldn't survive however and ended up losing by four. At least they covered the spread as six-point pups. 

Despite a woeful shooting performance overall (32.7 percent), there were some individual standouts. Travis Taylor had 12 points and seven boards and could have been even more productive had he not got into foul trouble. Justin Martin had six points but added 12 rebounds and two steals. 

It was more of the same for a Xavier team that's been plagued by offensive woes. Over their last five matchups, the Musketeers are averaging just 54.6 points, and that includes the overtime loss to the Commodores.

That being said, Chris Mack has to be pretty happy with the level of play he's receiving out of Taylor and freshman Semaj Christon. Taylor is averaging 11.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while Christon leads the team in both scoring (13.4 PPG), assists (5.1 APG) and steals (1.5 SPG).

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The Demon Deacons have had a pretty rough start to their season, but what do you expect when your team is littered with freshmen. Not every team can be Kentucky.

Wake Forest has already lost five times, falling to Connecticut, Iona, Nebraska, Richmond and Seton Hall. They've rebounded here over their last couple appearances though, beating both Furman and UNC-Greensboro by double digits.

In the 84-70 win over the Spartans, Travis McKie paced the Demon Deacons with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Devin Thomas had 12 points and six boards and Chase Fischer came up with 13 points (three threes) in 20 minutes off the bench.

McKie and senior C.J. Harris (14.2 PPG, 51.6 FG%, 41.9 3P%) have been doing quite a bit of heavy lifting this season. Those two are going to have to get it done once again if Wake Forest is to have any shot at skating past a Xavier squad that's allowing just 60.9 points per game so far this season.

There's no doubt the future is bright for the Demon Deacons, with a host of freshmen showing some good things early on. However, we feel that youth will hold them back tonight against the gritty Musketeers.

More from North Carolina here~

[gameodds]14/134773/19-169-198-238-93/us[/gameodds]

College Basketball Pick

The Musketeers have lost three straight and that should give them added motivation to take care of business and finally close out a game for a W tonight.

Moreover, they have far more experience on their team than do the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest has Harris and McKie leading the way, but six of their next seven top scorers are freshmen. That's some serious youth right there.

We look for Taylor to have a big game en-route to a win and ATS cover for the visiting Musketeers.

Pick: Xavier Musketeers -2.5 at 5Dimes

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