After losing just their second game of the season to Georgetown, the Xavier Musketeers have bounced back and won two straight games against Seton Hall and a very good Providence team on the road. The Musketeers' back-to-back wins put them at 18-2 with a 6-2 record in the BIG EAST.
The record has also helped Xavier to jump up to No. 7 in the college basketball polls and they are a legit contender for a No. 1 seed. Chris Mack has X back on track just as they are heading into a stretch of some easy games in the BIG EAST. This provides Xavier with an opportunity that could result in them not only catching up to Villanova in the BIG EAST standings, but also overtake them.
The DePaul Blue Demons picked up their first win in BIG EAST play last weekend when they beat Marquette 57-56 in what was a stunning victory. The win helped DePaul get a game ahead of St.John's as they both battle who can finish last in the BIG EAST.
The win helped snap a losing streak that started in conference play, but it couldn't help DePaul in their next game midweek as they lost to Butler 67-53.
Sitting 7-13 overall and second-to-last in the conference standings, it will take a miracle for DePaul to jump up in the standings and facing a top team like Xavier won't help their chances.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network || Channel Finder
Radio: 700 WLW (Xavier) || WSCR 670 AM (DePaul)
Odds: Xavier opened as a 10.5-point favorite (via OddsShark). The line has dipped down to 10 and 9.5 points in some locations.
Record ATS: Xavier (13-7) || DePaul (7-11-1)
O/U: The O/U opened at 146. The nonconformists at BetDSI have some friends now as sports interaction has the line at 147.5 along with those dang BetDSI-ers.
3 things to watch
1. Will Trevon Bluiett take over again?: The last time these two teams played Trevon Bluiett scored 24 points, including 19 in the first half, in an 84-64 win for Xavier. The sophomore guard has had a great year as he leads the team in scoring with 15.4 points per game and is second on the team in 3-point percentage. He will be the man to watch for Xavier in this game after coming off a solid outing against Providence as well.
2. Can Myke Henry keep up his good run?: Billy Garrett Jr. led DePaul for most of the season in scoring but his fellow senior has taken over that title thanks to some big games as of late. Henry leads the team with an average of 14.3 points per game and is second on the team in field goal percentage. He played ok against Butler as he scored 12 points on five-of-11 shooting. It's a positive that Garrett Jr. finally got some help thanks to Henry and DePaul can make it competitive if both of them are really on their game. But we aren't promising anything.
3. Can DePaul make this a game?: On paper this game looks to be all Xavier. The Musketeers are better in every category compared to DePaul and considering the inconsistency of DePaul's offense and the strength in the Xavier defense this doesn't look like a good game for the Blue Demons. But they showed that they can win ugly as they did against Marquette. If they can make this ugly then DePaul has a chance. It will take really special performances from DePaul to make this a game.