It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Xavier Musketeers. They are currently on a five-game losing streak and things haven’t looked pretty. Xavier has dropped games against Marquette, Villanova, Providence, Georgetown, and most recently Creighton. After numerous close losses it appeared that the wheels fell off against the Bluejays as the Musketeers were blown out 76-54 on the road. Xavier were on their heels from the beginning and just couldn’t seem to climb out of the 41-26 hole they dug themselves into by halftime. They only had two players in double figures in Quentin Goodin and Tyrique Jones. The loss dropped Xavier’s record to 11-12 and 3-7 in conference play. They now sit second to last in the Big East standings. With things going south, Xavier desperately needs a positive.
Things have been up and down for the DePaul Blue Demons. Obviously, compared to years prior, this current season is a positive one but this team has had its moments, both good and bad. This isn’t the same DePaul we have seen before. They most recently snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday with a big win against the Providence Friars 67-55. Behind the 18 points of Paul Reed and 13 points of Max Strus, the Blue Demons raced out to a double digit halftime lead and didn’t let up in the second half. The win at Wintrust Arena now has DePaul at a 12-9 record and they are 4-6 in conference play. In the logjam which is the middle of the Big East standings, DePaul is right in the thick of things. They are 6th right now and are tied with three other teams in their conference record. Given how the standings are right now, a win for either team will see a shuffle in the order.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game time: 8 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: WSCR 670 AM (DePaul) || 700 WLW-AM (Xavier)
Stream: Fox Sports Go (where streaming is available)
Odds: Xavier enters this game as a 4.5 point favorite (via Oddsshark.com)
Record ATS: DePaul (11-9-1) || Xavier (7-15-1)
O/U: The over/under opened at 146
Last Time They Met
Xavier currently leads the series between the two schools 14-9. DePaul will look for a victory for the first time in nearly 4 years in what will be the 24th meeting. Xavier swept the season series last year and won 74-65 earlier in this current season.
Matchup by the Numbers
These are the numbers for each team in terms of KenPom’s Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Efficiency.
DePaul have an AdjOE ranking of 107.5 (97th in the country) and an AdjDE ranking of 102.0 (140th in the country).
Xavier have an AdjOE ranking of 110.9 (49th in the country) and an AdjDE ranking of 104.4 (194th in the country).
3 Things to Watch
Paul Reed scoring double digits
What a season it has been for Paul Reed. The sophomore has fully inserted himself into the DePaul rotation and in the scoring hierarchy. He’s been superb and has been on a scoring tear, especially in his last five games. Reed has scored 18 points or more in four of his last five and will be facing an Xavier team which has struggled defensively all season. His length and ability to be in the right places for offensive rebounds will be key for the Blue Demons in this one. He could be a problem on the boards.
Better shooting night from Eli Cain
It was a rough game for Eli Cain against Providence, with the senior only scoring 5 points. The rise of Femi Olujobi and Reed have seemed to knock Cain down a notch when it comes to the scoring totem pole. He’s struggled a bit when it comes to point production although he has still been active in other aspects offensively. Still, DePaul need for him to continue to be aggressive in terms of getting his own shot. He needs to improve on the 2-of-9 shooting from the field night which took place against Providence.
Bounce back for Paul Scruggs
Xavier will be looking for a bounce back from their productive sophomore in Paul Scruggs. Like Cain, he too had a five point performance and for a guy who has been averaging 13.0 points per game, it was a bit of a disappointing performance. He’s scored 14, 21, and 15 in his last three games respectively. He doesn’t have to play hero-ball for the X, he just needs to make sure he’s hitting his shots when the opportunity arises while also helping out a bit on the glass.