Xavier vs. Connecticut Prediction: Can the Musketeers End Their Losing Streak?

College basketball expert Mike Spector offers his best bet for the Big East battle between UConn and Xavier.
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Xavier vs. Connecticut Prediction: Can the Musketeers End Their Losing Streak?

Over the last two weeks, Providence and Villanova have separated themselves from the rest of the Big East. While Connecticut and Xavier’s regular season championship chances appear slim at best, they are each top 25 teams who are looking to build momentum after losing two of their last three games.

After tonight’s conference battle, which team’s outlook will look more optimistic, and whose fan base will be on edge after suffering three losses in the last four games? Here are our picks and predictions for the pivotal Big East battle between Connecticut and Xavier.

Xavier vs. UConn Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Friday, February 11

Game Time: 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: FS1

Click Here for Xavier vs. UConn Odds

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Xavier vs. UConn Line Movement

Xavier vs. Connecticut Prediction

UConn (16-6, 7-4) enters the day ranked 17th in the NET, making them the second-highest ranked Big East team by that metric. The Huskies’ NET ranking is heavily swayed by a non-conference win over Auburn, as they are one of just two teams that have beaten the current No. 1 team in the country. 

However, UConn’s 7-4 Big East record appears inflated. Outside of two wins against Marquette, Connecticut’s five other conference wins are against teams in eight place or lower in the conference standings. Meanwhile, the Huskies have struggled to consistently beat the Big East’s top competition, as their four losses are all against teams in sixth or higher in the league.

Xavier (16-7, 6-6) enters this game on a two-game losing streak and losers of four of their last six. In that stretch, their only “bad” loss was a 69-65 home loss to DePaul, which was their second loss in the previous three home games. Their recent struggles at the Cintas Center are surprising, considering they got off to a 9-0 start at home and beat the likes of Ohio State, Cincinnati, and Marquette in that span.

The Musketeers had a great chance to beat Seton Hall on the road in their last game, but ultimately foul trouble did them in. The game featured 42 foul calls, and Xavier had two of its best players (Colby Jones and Zach Freemantle) foul out. Connecticut is going to do everything in its power to turn this game into another rock fight, so Xavier will have to play better defense without fouling if they want their starters to play as many minutes as possible.

UConn typically has a distinct advantage on the glass over most of their conference opponents, as they are the Big East’s best offensive rebounding team, securing 37.5% of their misses in league play. However, that strength will be negated by a Xavier team that allows offensive rebounds on just 25.2% of their possessions (best in the Big East). In addition, Xavier figures to have many clean looks in this game. Their 14.1% turnover percentage is the best in the league, while UConn forces turnovers at the eight-lowest clip in the conference.

We look for a raucous Friday night crowd at the Cintas Center to prove the difference in leading Xavier to a much-needed win against an over-valued Connecticut team. This is the Huskies’ fourth game in the last ten days, and we expect fatigue to play a significant role tonight as well.

Xavier vs. UConn Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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