Xavier Musketeers (19-5) at Butler Bulldogs (12-13)
Game Info: Friday, February 10, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. EST (Hinkle Fieldhouse)
Betting Odds: Xavier (-6) / Over/Under (147)
Pick: Butler (+6)
Tonight let's head to the Big East, where we will see the Xavier Musketeers take on the Butler Bulldogs inside of Hinkle Fieldhouse, where both teams will look to build on wins in their last games.
Sean Miller has stepped into the Xavier job and has made it his own. In his first year with the squad, he has them at 19-5, the top seed in the East right now, and #13 in the country... pretty impressive for a Head Coach in his first season in the Big East. They arrive Thursday night off of a drubbing against the St. John's Red Storm, in which they put up an outstanding 96 points. Leading scorer and transfer from UTEP, Souley Boum, has been one of the most valuable transfers over the past season. He is a pure all-around player, averaging 16.3 PTS, 4.0 REB, and 5.0 AST on the season, and shooting 41.% from the three-point line. Moving on to the rest of the starting lineup, they have a few other key contributors that put in 10+ points per game. Jack Nunge, Colby Jones, and Adam Kunkel are the three other men who have been vital to their success in bringing the Musketeers all the way to the top of the Big East. They will need to clean it up on the defensive side for this game though, as they currently sit 213th in defensive efficiency.
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After moving on from LaVall Jordan after last season's disappointing finish, Butler brought in well-polished Thad Matta to fix their problems. Up until now, he has not been able to do so, but with his track record, in a few years the Bulldogs will surely be back to where they once were. Last time out, they were able to also beat the Red Storm to end a 5 game losing streak that began all the way back on the 17th of January. Despite their struggles, they have been able to cover the spread in their last 2 games, which is showing improvement for a team that is trying to find its right recipe towards the end of the year. Although they may be pushed towards the bottom of the Big East standings as the year comes to a close, Matta will know the benefit of prime games like this one. They are a much better defensive team than Xavier, letting up almost 10 less points per game than the Musketeers. Can they use that to their benefit in this game?
A few betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Butler is 2-0 ATS in their last two games
- The Bulldogs are 8-5 ATS as the home team
- The over is 17-6-1 in all of Xavier's games this year
When you pick apart both lineups, Xavier is easily the more talented team. Despite this though, I like how the Bulldogs have played over the past few games. Xavier has struggled at times on the road, and this could certainly continue as they play a lesser opponent and may not come in with the energy needed to win on the road in Hinkle Fieldhouse. I will take the Bulldogs to keep this one close at home, and for Thad Matta to maybe get the statement win that he needs to give his team a boost.
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