Following a tough loss to Baylor and a drop in the AP Poll, the Xavier Musketeers will be back in action Tuesday night as they face the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV: Pac-12 Network (Ted Robinson, Bill Walton)
Radio: 700 WLW Cincinnati
Stream: Pac-12 Network Live (Where Available)
The Musketeers are two-point favorites, per OddsShark. The over/under opened at 145.5, but is as low as 144 in some places.
The Musketeers are 5-2 ATS this year, while Colorado is 3-5.
Xavier is 1-0 all-time against Colorado, with the victory coming in the 1998 Puerto Rico Shootout. Chris Mack is 1-1 all-time against the Pac-12 in the regular season, with both games coming against USC.
If you looked around college basketball, you wouldn’t find too many “power conference” teams playing back-to-back nonconference road games against other “power conference” teams. Xavier deserves a ton of credit for traveling to Baylor and to Colorado for that very reason.
As it stands, though, since they lost in Waco, this game becomes a bit of a must-win for the Musketeers. The biggest thing Xavier needs is a bounce back performance from JP Macura, who went 2-16 in the loss to Baylor. Xavier actually did a lot of things well in that game (Trevon Bluiett’s three point shooting, the team’s rebounding, etc), but Macura’s performance was dreadful.
Colorado’s leading scorer is a fella named Xavier Johnson. We could get into a lengthy “Who’s On First” routine with Xavier (Johnson) facing Xavier (Musketeers), but that doesn’t have the same impact via text.
Regardless, the Musketeers have to keep Mr. Johnson off the scoreboard. He’s one of the best players in the nation at getting to the free throw line, and 31% of his total points this season have come from the stripe. What’s the best way to combat that? Don’t foul him.
It’s not that simple, though. Basically, the Musketeers need to just play their usual hard-nosed defense. If Johnson gets to the line, so be it. A guy hitting a bunch of free throws shouldn’t be the thing that beats you.
At the end of the day, Xavier is a road team favored against a power conference team. That doesn’t happen too often. If the Musketeers do their thing and take care of the basketball, they’ll head back to Cincy victorious.