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Providence vs. Xavier: Preview, how to watch, odds

The Friars hit the road for the first time since getting hit hard by Marquette.

Kareem Elgazzar

How to watch Providence vs. Xavier

Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Watch Online: CBSSports.com

Betting Odds

(via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Spread: Xavier -8 | Providence +8
Total: 137
Moneyline: Xavier -365 | Providence +280

The Providence Friars have won their last two games since returning from the program’s COVID stoppage with their first real test coming Wednesday evening at Xavier. This will be the first ranked matchup between these conference foes since February 2016 where the Musketeers completed the season sweep that year. Since then, there has been no separation in favor of either team as they have split each of their last ten meetings.

Coming off their COVID pause the Friars are still awaiting the return of A.J. Reeves, who has only played nine minutes since the new year. Prior to injuring his pinkie, the New England native was playing the best basketball of his career averaging 15 PPG in December. Despite key injuries and the COVID pause, not all has been bad since the new year for the Friars. In fact, they chose a perfect time to return with consecutive home games allowing them to regain momentum. Friar fans have also witnessed a strong spark off the bench from Ed Croswell. The LaSalle transfer is 12-12 from the field in his last two games, averaging 12.5 points and 2 blocks per contest in that span.

Iowa transfer Jack Nunge has been the source of much of Xavier’s offense this season. Although he has only started one game, at 7-feet Nunge has no shortage of size and his confidence shooting the ball opens up the floor for the talented backcourt of the Musketeers. Nunge has also dominated on the glass all season along with the rest of his squad. Xavier has also been able to dominate their opponents in the rebounding margin; where they rank 38th nationally. Whereas, Providence ranks 96th.

The only Big East team better defensively than these schools is Villanova and neither team is ranked in the top 100 nationally in offense. As history has shown, Wednesday night should show much of the same and we should expect an absolute battle in Cincinnati.