Providence vs. Xavier prediction and odds for Wednesday, February 1 (No Freemantle, no problem)
Xavier and Providence are set to battle for the top spot in the Big East standings on Wednesday night at the Cintas Center, but the Musketeers will be entering short handed.
Star forward Zach Freemantle has been ruled out for this game, and the next month or so with a foot injury, leaving Xavier down their second leading scorer. Will the Musketeers step up at home, where they haven’t lost since November 18th?
Here are the odds for this massive Big East matchup:
Providence vs. Xavier odds, spread and total
Providence vs. Xavier prediction and pick
Losing Freemantle does hurt the Musketeers frontcourt attack, but his impact may be a bit overstated. Xavier actually scores nearly one point more per 100 possessions when he is off the floor, while the defense allows more than six points per 100, according to Hoop-Explorer. While Freemantle is a key cog to the Musketeers, this loss may not be as crippling as it sounds.
The team has a formidable backup in Jerome Hunter to slide in and check Providence big man Bryce Hopkins and Freemantle’s ability to stretch the floor (he’s hit 14 of his 22 three-point shots this season) isn’t as necessary against a Providence defense that runs teams off the perimeter, allowing shots at the rim at the ninth highest average per Haslametrics.
Providence’s offense is over reliant on getting to the free throw line, they have the highest FT rate in Big East play, but that’s not going to keep them afloat on the road against a Xavier team that is a top 10 offense and plays at a frenetic tempo.
Providence struggled to slow down up-tempo teams like Marquette and St. John’s in league play, each scored over 80 points in three matchups, and I see Xavier pulling away in this one.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.