In a Top 5 clash earlier this week, fifth-ranked Xavier took down top-ranked Villanova in Cincinnati 90-83. It was a fantastic game between the two best teams in the BIG EAST and two of the best in the country, and needless to say, a huge win for Chris Mack and the Musketeers.
The win gives Xavier a 25-3 record and a 13-3 mark in conference play, putting them one game behind the Wildcats with one week to go. Riding a four-game winning streak and a mark of 9-1 in their last 10 games into Sunday's matchup, they are surely a lock for an at-large bid in this year's NCAA Tournament and have a real shot at obtaining a No. 1 seed.
Meanwhile, the Seton Hall Pirates also grabbed a vital win earlier this week as well. The Pirates defeated the Providence Friars 70-52, their third victory in a row and seventh in their last eight contests. The win helped their cause to make their first NCAA Tournament in 10 years and after two games where they escaped by the skin of their teeth, Seton Hall played a great game against the Friars.
To this point, Seton Hall is 20-7 and 10-5 in conference play, with the slimmest of shots to possibly take home at least a share of the BIG EAST Conference regular season title. They'd need quite a lot of help though, but that starts on Sunday when they collide with Xavier in New Jersey.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: AM 970 The Answer (Seton Hall) || 700 WLW (Xavier)
Stream: Streaming is available via FOX Sports GO where available.
Odds: Xavier enters this game as a 1.5-point favorite (via OddsShark.com).
Record ATS: Xavier (18-10) || Seton Hall (11-8)
O/U: The O/U opened at 148.5.
3 things to watch
1. Balanced scoring attack for Xavier: A balanced scoring attack powered Xavier to a win earlier this week, as they got help from their starters and their bench. Six Musketeers were in double figures in their win over 'Nova with Edmond Sumner leading the way with 19 points. For a team that averages 80 points per game, it was nice to see Xavier get some scoring from guys you usually wouldn't see. We'll see if that continues on Sunday against the Pirates.
2. Another big game from Isaiah Whitehead: Isaiah Whitehead has been showing why he's Seton Hall best player in their last few games. He stepped up with 25 points in their win over Providence on a eight-of-12 shooting night. Whitehead has been averaging 16.9 points per game and will look to crack a tough Xavier defense, one of the best in the country.
3. Battle on the boards: Both Seton Hall and Xavier are great on the boards and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. Although Xavier averages more rebounds (41.1) than Seton Hall (40.2) things change from game to game, and anything can happen.